Ballroom instructor Jared Vigneault—recipient of the Top Teacher award at the 2012 Massachusetts DanceSport Challenge—draws from multiple dance degrees and eight years of ballroom experience as he works to infect his pupils with dance fever at Poise, Style & Motion. Along with a diverse cast of experienced instructors, he works to help students of all ages and abilities gracefully twirl across the dance floor through private and group lessons, social parties, and performances. They prepare their students to confidently cut a rug at dance clubs, weddings, competitions, and important business meetings with instruction in several styles. Their instruction range from the fast-paced footwork of swing and the merengue to the more stoic arts of the tango and waltz. To whip bodies into dance-athon shape, Poise, Style & Motion's instructors blend their fancy-footwork training with aerobics during their Latin-dance-inspired fitness classes. They also help dancers improve their endurance and pump up core muscles with modified merengue, samba, swing, and paso-doble dance steps.
Arthur Murray has been a leading name in franchise dance since 1912, when the entrepreneur began selling mail-order dance lessons. Expanding his reach, he enlisted teachers to spread his signature dance lessons on first-class steamships and skyrocketed to fame in the '30s after introducing the public to such dances as the Lambeth Walk and The Big Apple. By the 1950s, Arthur and his wife, Kathryn, were hosting their own highly popular TV show on ABC, The Arthur Murray Dance Party, which ran for 12 years. Today, Arthur Murray's team prepares students for rug cutting at special events and weekend nightclub jaunts. Clients who arrive to lessons partnerless will be paired up with other classmates as the instructors assess their current skill level and make recommendations on the most appropriate program. Throughout lessons, instructors teach the foundations of two to four dances from a long list of styles that range from Latin to country-western, helping students to learn basic step patterns, timing, and the ability to lead or follow.
Perhaps as a tribute to the timeless nature of the sword, the Worcester Fencing Club began as a small class held at the Higgins Armory Museum, a collection of arms and armor from medieval Europe and beyond. There, Doug Jacobs—a United States Fencing Association–certified instructor—began imparting his knowledge to a handful of students, giving them a small taste of the age-old sport that, over the years, had become unfairly associated with bullies popping balloons in the streets. Still, many of his students wished to extend their training, and—upon a suggestion of the mother of some of his students—Doug expanded his academy in 1998, forming the Worcester Fencing Club. Today, the school continues to draw fresh blood, introducing students of all ages and experience levels to modern- and Olympic-style fencing in classes still often taught by Doug himself.
The Worcester Historical Museum showcases local history with a library of 7,000 titles and exhibits full of artifacts such as Civil War?era diaries, colonial weapons, and antique textiles. The museum also hosts a number of temporary exhibitions, which have included students' artwork honoring Martin Luther King Jr. and stories from industry innovators, workers, and investors throughout Worcester's history.
Alongside its carefully curated 35,000-piece collection spanning more than 5,000 years, the Worcester Art Museum leads frequent tours and hosts live jazz performances, exhibit openings, and other events. Friends of the museum flex color-sensing muscles with unlimited free admission (up to a $14 value per visit), free gallery and audio tours, and two transferable one-year guest passes, good for bringing along friends and idle house painters. In addition to rotating special exhibits, the museum boasts an array of European works, such as the colorful canvases of Gauguin and Cézanne, as well as paintings by Whistler, Sargent, and Cassatt and pieces by other renowned American artists.
Skylite Roller Skating Center has been sending families spinning round its 10,000-square-foot rink for 30 years. Skaters can don sturdy four-wheeled foot trolleys to cruise the circumference of Skylite’s sleek surface, which is kept smooth daily by the diligent tongues of 100 neighborhood cats, during any of the rink’s 2.5- to 3-hour public skating sessions (up to a $5 to $8 value/person; times and admission price vary each day), including their annual Halloween and New Year’s Eve parties. Glide in time to current and classic dance and pop tunes in a whirl of neon, black lights, and the sequin-like shimmers of an overhead disco ball. A snack bar serves pizza, french fries, and candy—not included in today’s Groupon—to failing gliders to prevent head-on blood-sugar crashes.