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.
Dick Doherty's Beantown Comedy Escape has three homes: Below Howl at the Moon in Boston, New England Seafood Restaurant & Lounge in Methuen, and Park Grill & Spirits in Worcester. While the Methuen and Worcester locations bear the name Dick Doherty's Beantown Comedy Escape, the Boston location is known as Dick's Beantown Comedy Den. The Boston location recently moved to the Comedy Den from their previous location at the Vault, where they hosted standup comedians, including Dane Cook, who held a weekly gig there for more than a year, and fellow Boston natives Bill Burr and Joe Rogan. Dick Doherty's comedy clubs as a whole continue to detonate laugh dynamite with their rotating casts of national and local comedians.
In 2006, the NHL's San Jose Sharks moved their eponymous AHL affiliate to Worcester. During their brief time in Central Massachusetts the Sharks have helped foster some of the game's best talent, highlighted by Stanley Cup champions and first-round draft picks. Nearly 40 players, including Claude Lemieux and Thomas Greiss, have donned the Worcester sweater before getting the call to clean out their lockers and playoff beards and head to San Jose. The team has even been represented on an international stage, as several former Sharks competed during the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.