Winners of 16 2010 Youngstown Area Community Theatre Marquee Awards—including best direction and best play—The Victorian Players present plays written in and inspired by the Victorian era. The company is dedicated to presenting family-friendly theater, eschewing stagefare that includes profanity, violence, or graphic onstage depictions of drunken robots. The Madwoman of Chaillot tells the story of the titular character, a quirky aristocrat who gathers an army of café-goers, performers, and fellow madwomen to halt the machinations of an evil coterie of businessmen planning to dig up Paris for its underground stores of oil. Shows take place in a restored 1890s Victorian church, imparting a period-appropriate architectural flavor to the dramatic proceedings.
The movement maestros at Sharon Rae Dance School—named the best dance studio in Beacon four years in a row by Ohio.com—teach the fancy footwork of tap, ballet, and jazz to tots and youthful twirlers. In all the studios, including a colorful room designed for preschoolers, a layer of cushioning supports the shiny hardwood floors, warding off injuries as whippersnappers jive in musical-theater lessons and tumble with pompoms. All kids' classes are monitored through closed-circuit television, which keeps parents in the loop as they weld together first-place trophies in the waiting room. Students as young as 2 can build fine and gross motor skills in toddler sessions, and adults can leave their own cubicle-themed play sets to join fun Zumba workouts that combine aerobics and Latin dance moves.
Arena's Performing Arts Centre offers a variety of classes for inner and outer children alike. Adults can choose fitness ($8 for a drop-in class) and 10-week dance classes (starting at $110 for 45-minute classes) from a summer schedule that includes zumba, tap aerobics, ballet tech, pointe, pre-pointe, and kickboxing. For kids, summer camps such as Camp Rock and Blues ($100) and Arena's Best Dance Crew ($125) teach boogie-ready anklebiters the joy and discipline of dance. Or surprise your mini-me with a themed birthday party at Arena's. Monthly tuition for gymnastics and musical-theater classes starts at $40. The friendly instructors at Arena's are experienced, patient, and willing to work with all age and skill levels.
With more than 60 years of combined rug-cutting experience, La Danse Cleveland's co-owners, Esther Rehm-Cohen and Tim Brown, have helped untold numbers of students twirl, hop, and belly slide across the dance floor. Certified as a ballroom instructor in 1981, Esther has won national awards for her teaching skills and has had the distinct honor of training couples who have gone on to rank in competitions. She garnered the position of head coach of the Case Western Reserve University ballroom team before fate's two-step led her to a partnership with Tim to run La Danse Cleveland's ample 6,000-square-foot studio. Boasting a background that includes competition in professional arenas as well as work as a dancing judge and a choreographer, co-owner Tim delights in crafting group classes and private lessons that excite and challenge students.
Included on the studio's roster of lessons are styles from Viennese waltz to nightclub two-step, along with sessions tailored specifically to children and to adult fitness goals. In classes and dance parties open to the public, students and social dancers alike rendezvous with Esther, Tim, and their impressive stable of instructors, whose resumés include stints with such world-class companies as the Boston Ballet and Gene Kelly's gutter-cleaning company.
Cleveland Ballroom Company's owner and principal instructor Nichy Vegas imparts graceful dance techniques to singles and couples in a variety of ballroom styles. Lessons range from beginner to advanced, allowing tyro twirlers and experienced foot-movers alike to learn new techniques and enjoy the fun of ballroom dance. Classes such as beginning and intermediate rhythm teach the importance of well-timed movements, a critical element of any basic two-step, foxtrot, or bullet-dodging routine. Alternate styles include tango, cha-cha, salsa, and the classic waltz—call ahead for information on future scheduling.