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. 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.
Nestled within the University of Michigan's central campus, Dance Theatre Studio has built an excellent reputation over the 30 years it's been in business. Adults can check out ballet, hip-hop, and dance classes or strengthen their bodies in Zumba or body-sculpting, while kids make the most of their summers in camps that focus on art, tech, video, and acing the obstacle-course portion of college applications. All lessons take place in three large dance rooms that feature mirror-lined walls, a sprung sub-floor, and a marley surface floor, and nearby rooms also contain portable ballet barres. The studio's high level of comfort extends even before and after class, when dancers dress in men's and women's changing rooms.
Since 1993, Cirque Dreams' family-friendly variety extravaganzas have called upon a cast of acrobats, strongmen, and daredevils to wring the oohs and aahs out of audiences with tremendous feats of derring-do. During each themed production, more than 100 performers garbed in dazzling outfits twirl high in the air, contort their bodies into impossible shapes, and solve long division problems to earn uproarious applause from the crowd. At Dream Studios in Pompano Beach, Florida, hundreds of contracted artists from around the world develop their skills and prep for Cirque Dreams performances under the direction of Neil Goldberg and his team of choreographers, contortionists, and designers.
Founded in 1991 by acclaimed actor and playwright Jeff Daniels, The Purple Rose Theatre Company enriches its community with original and classic productions that range from light-hearted comedies to poignant dramas. Resident artists elicit laughs during Escanaba in da Moonlight, a revival of Daniels's deer-camp comedy about a group of hunters competing for the first shot at a buck and the most creative camouflage pattern. Starting January 19, A Stone Carver introduces us to a retired stonemason named Agostino who resists being evicted from his home in the face of planned highway construction, even at the risk of alienating his only son. Converted from a 1900s-era auto garage, The Purple Rose Theatre Company distributes sight lines evenly throughout its 168-seat auditorium and grumbling Model T ghosts throughout its marbled 1930s-style lobby.
Over the course of 132 dizzying seasons, the University Musical Society has delighted the Ann Arbor community with more than 6,000 finely tuned musical maelstroms. The UMS' December rendition of Handel’s celebrated oratorio, Messiah, marks an annual onside kickoff to the holiday season. Each year the performance draws a diverse crowd of music lovers, some of whom have attended the event for decades. Ring in the season with Conductor Jerry Blackstone as he draws angelic notes from the lips of experienced sopranos and baritones, whose dulcet tones reverberate in perfect unison with the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra’s violins, trumpets, and first-chair Nerf Vortex.
In 1928, four musicians from an Ann Arbor church joined together to play at services. Decades later, after several names and a number of music directors, the orchestra continues strong. Current music director Arie Lipsky leads the group through programs tailored for listeners of all ages, from evenings of Tchaikovsky and Dvo??k to family-friendly sing-alongs. That emphasis on accessibility even extends beyond the orchestra?the orchestra reaches out to the community with a number of school programs that engage and transform music for children.?