After years of developing their own drink-slinging skills as professional bartenders and club owners, 123 Bartending's founders, led by Bryan Caracioli, decided to pass on their knowledge through intensive bartending courses and a proprietary student handbook. The school stands adjacent to a fully functional brewpub, where professional barkeeps coach students to juggle their tools, glassware, and requests for Billy Joel songs behind a granite bar, lowly lit from miniature chandeliers and surrounded by rustic, red-toned interiors. Curriculum involves both hands-on practice and theory, spanning the history behind drinks' monikers, as well as the chemistry of traditional cocktails and modern party shots. 50-inch flat-screen TVs and a 100-inch projector dominate walls with video demonstrations and scotch distillers' home movies. A roster of bars, lounges, and clubs—all owned by or partnered with 123 Bartending's adept captains—provide job placement for the school's alumni.
When discussing his teaching philosophy with reporters from Central Florida Lifestyle, the owner of Salsa Heat quipped, "if you can walk, you can dance." He himself didn't know much about dancing when he took his first salsa class in the early 90's, but he caught on after just a few sessions, falling in love with the dance's energetic spins and rhythmic movements.
Today, a team of professional dance instructors teach salsa spins and footwork to students of all experience levels. Zumba and bachata classes provide tutoring in other Latin dance styles, and salsa classes for kids teach youngsters dance fundamentals that hone coordination and motor skills. Throughout the year, the staff hosts special events on their spacious dance floors, such as salsa socials, salsa Christmas parties, and salsa-infused celebrations of Robert Heinlein's birthday.
Established in 2007, Pulse Performance Studio is a performing arts school offering classes to students of all ages and levels in ballet, jazz, tap, hip hop, drama, voice, flamenco, and contemporary styles. With and award winning company and a professional staff, Pulse has become E. Orlando's best school of performing arts
When varsity football arrived at Central Florida in 1979, it capped off a decade of drastic changes on the university's campus. In 1970, the school unveiled its new nickname for athletics: the Knights. At that time, though, UCF wasn't even UCF yet—it was still Florida Technological University, a title that was shed in 1978 to gain larger statewide appeal and minimalize applications from college-aged robots. With a new mascot and a new identity, the school's athletics program began to develop its own personality. The football team wasn't just the Knights; they were the Fighting Knights. The baseball club became the Diamond Knights, and the tennis team the Smashing Knights. It was an era marked by change and by a collective toughness among the school's teams. When it joined Conference USA in 2005, UCF athletics showed similar resolve almost immediately. The football team won conference championships in 2007 and 2010, and the women's basketball team did the same in 2009 and 2010. The 2013–14 seasons mark yet another chapter in the university's history, as it begins competing as part of the Big East.
The faculty members at the School of Rock believe that immersion is the best way to learn any new skill, which is why they don’t just teach students how to traverse the notes and rhythms of guitar, bass, drums, keyboard, and vocals in isolation. In addition to teaching students the technical skills during one-on-one lessons, the professional music instructors push them to fuse their individual parts into songs during full band practices with fellow beginner rockers. This combination of one-on-one attention and cooperative group learning helps kids of all skill levels hone their craft while overcoming common pitfalls such as stage fright or playing off-tempo. As kids learn to shred riffs, pound out drum solos, and summon Ronnie James Dio by hitting the correct vibrato atop a silver mountain, the classes build their confidence and kick-start a lifetime of loving rock 'n' roll.