Orlando boasts an eclectic variety of cultural events, performance troupes and arts centers. Theater groups, museums and local attractions offer something to suit everyone. For those looking to learn for themselves, there are numerous music and dance schools, as well as art and acting studios that can teach students the skills they need to become true artists. Southwest Orlando Bulletin’s eighth annual Cultural Arts Season Preview offers an up-close look at many of the area’s most popular venues, groups and experienced schools.
Blue Man Group at Universal Orlando Resort, 3000 Universal Blvd., Orlando, has taken its indescribable live celebration of art, technology and music to a whole new level. It is science, it is laughter, it is that creative urge one feels inside and wants to explore. Guests should forget what they know — that was then, this is “wow.” For more information, call 407-258-3626 or visit www.universalorlando.com/blueman on the Web.
Innovative ballet productions and educational programs are the cornerstones of Central Florida Ballet, a professional ballet company with national recognition from CNN, USA Today, Wall Street Journal and the U.S. House of Representatives. Central Florida Ballet’s Academy has built an impressive reputation, with a ballet syllabus based on the Russian method, and offers small class sizes and individualized attention. The fall term begins Aug. 20, and enrollment is accepted until classes are full. For more information, call 407-849-9942 or visit www.centralfloridaballet.com on the Web.
Ron Howard and Canon’s Project Imagin8ion’s short film When You Find Me will make its Central Florida premiere at the Central Florida Film Festival on Sept. 1 at 8 p.m. When You Find Me was directed by Howard’s daughter, Bryce Dallas Howard, and is one of 80 films to be screened at the Labor Day festival, which will take place in the newly renovated West Orange 5 Cinema in Ocoee from Aug. 31-Sept. 2. Bob Cook, CENFLO executive director, remarked that his organization is honored to be one of the festivals selected to screen Howard’s film. For more information, visit www.centralfloridafilmfestival.com on the Web.
Located at 445 N. Park Ave. in Winter Park, The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art is home to the world’s most comprehensive collection of works by American artist and designer Louis Comfort Tiffany. New installations in 2012-13 include a focus exhibition on a major painting by Lockwood de Forest; special show on objects in the art nouveau style; and vignette featuring fountain pens from the collection. For more information, call 407-645-5311 or visit www.morsemuseum.org on the Web.
Elizabeth Parsons School of Dance, located at 116 W. Sixth Ave. in Windermere, is now registering for its 32nd dance season. Under the artistic direction of Elizabeth Parsons, the school offers dance instruction for all ages in classical ballet, tap, jazz, modern, acro, lyrical and hip-hop. Classes are limited and begin Aug. 13. In addition, the school presents its annual Evening of Dance at Lake Eola on Oct. 20 at 7 p.m. For more information or to register, call 407-876-4604 or visit www.elizabethparsonsschoolofdance.com on the Web.
Located in the heart of historic downtown Winter Garden at 160 W. Plant St., the Garden Theatre is a not-for-profit community organization committed to enriching, engaging and entertaining through creative experiences. The theater, which reopened in 2008, showcases a theatrical atmosphere in a Mediterranean Revival-style venue. Garden Theatre hosts live plays, concerts, movies and more for the residents and visitors of Winter Garden. For more information, call 407-877-4736 or visit www.gardentheatre.org.
The Sovereign Dance Academy based in Dr. Phillips is a social dance school that specializes in ballroom and Latin American dancing. Those who believe they have two left feet can meet Sovereign’s instructors’ two right feet for a perfect match. The Sovereign Dance Academy offers private lessons, as well as group classes, Monday through Saturday. A free 30-minute private lesson is available for any occasion. For more information, call 407-730-5343 or visit www.thesovereigndanceacademy.com on the Web.
In the Limelight, located in Suites 104 and 105 at 5555 S. Kirkman Road in Orlando, 407-340-0920, www.inthelimelightorlando.com, is a theatrical production company and performing arts studio for young people ages 3-18. In the Limelight is a “triple threat” training facility, offering onstage and on-camera acting, dance, voice and piano classes for beginners to advanced performers. Fall production auditions are Aug. 25. Upcoming performances include Surviving Lunch, a play about bullying for grades seven-12, Nov. 15-18; Disney’s A Little Mermaid for grades kindergarten-12, Nov. 29-Dec. 2; and The Life & Adventures of Santa Claus for grades three-12, Dec. 13-16. Tickets are $10. For more information or to schedule an audition, email
Just Dance Studios is located in Suite 103 at 5911 Turkey Lake Road in Orlando. The state-of-the-art studio boasts professional-grade sprung wood floors with Marley overlay. Classes are offered at all levels for students age 2 through adults and include ballet, jazz, tap, lyrical, musical theater, hip-hop and boy’s hip-hop. Just Dance Studios provides proper dance training by highly qualified staff members who inspire dedication, teamwork and discipline in a positive and rewarding environment. For more information, call 407-730-9845 or visit www.justdancestudios.info on the Web.
L.A. Acting Workshop is geared up and ready for another year of creative and performing arts classes. Kindergartners through adults are welcome, and each new student receives one free guest pass. The youth division offers classes for kindergartners through fifth-graders after school on Wednesdays, and teen classes meet in the early evening Tuesdays and Thursdays. Adult workshops are held Sunday and Tuesday evenings. Registration is now open for the Back to School Program, which begins Sept. 5. For more information, call Director Amy Allen at 407-876-0006, email
www.laacting.com on the Web.
Since 1982, The Maile Image, Modeling & Acting School at 999 S. Orlando Ave. in Winter Park has offered classes in image and confidence development, on-camera acting, and modeling to children, teens and adults. The school offers a free professional industry seminar about breaking into the business, which covers head shots, agents, booking jobs, auditions, contracts, avoiding being taken advantage of, and more. It also offers workshops on etiquette and manners for children and teens. This month, the school presents back-to-school fashion shows Aug. 11 at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. at The Mall at Millenia and Aug. 4 at 1 p.m. at Seminole Towne Center. For more information, call 407-628-5989 or visit www.lisamaile.com on the Web.
N.Y.C. Dance is located at 328 Moore Road in Ocoee. Its professionally trained teachers focus on making the dance-training experience fun and memorable. The facility offers a well-rounded program for all levels, with competitive- and noncompetitive-level classes available in tap, jazz, ballet, acro, hip-hop, baby hip-hop, lyrical, musical theater, street tap, Zumba, Zumbatomic and modern dance for boys and girls age 18 months-adult. For more information, call 407-905-0107 or visit www.nycdancecompany.com on the Web.
Orange County Regional History Center, 65 E. Central Blvd., Orlando, 407-836-8500, invites visitors to explore the “web of life” and learn how choices impact the environment through comic strips and fun interactives at the Peanuts … Naturally exhibition. Onlookers can watch the 501st Legion: Vader’s Fist march through Heritage Square at Galactic Encounter Day. Adults and children can play life-size pick-up sticks, giant Jenga and Rock Band at the college spirit edition of Retro Game Night. People can discover how history can be smart, surprising and fun for the entire family this fall. For a complete schedule, visit www.thehistorycenter.org on the Web.
Under the creative vision of Artistic Director Robert Hill, Orlando Ballet has successfully staged some of the best original ballet productions. Back by popular demand, the company will present Vampire’s Ball from Oct. 19-21, The Nutcracker from Dec. 20-23, Holiday En Pointe from Feb. 15-16, and Carmina Burana from April 12-14 at Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre. Audiences can also attend Family Series performances throughout the season. For tickets and more information, call 407-426-1739 or visit www.orlandoballet.org on the Web.
Located at 4851 S. Apopka-Vineland Road in Orlando, St. Luke’s School of the Arts offers a convenient location for a variety of fine-arts classes for all ages. Classes include quality instruction in art, photography, dance, theater, music and more, in a nurturing, nonjudgemental environment, where students’ creativity and talents can grow. The school employs a professional staff; and Footprints, a dance program of affordable classes, is offered for $48 for a full 16-week session. For more information, call 407-876-5226 or visit www.st.lukes.org/soa on the Web.
Theatre UCF’s 2012-13 season offers musicals, dance and plays that feature many contemporary works, including modern and period settings. The selected productions provide an education, not only for university students, but for audience members, as well. The schedule is filled with plays addressing topics of substance, including Stop Kiss, Good Boys and True, and Eurydice. Zombie Town is a fun frolic, followed by the delightfully sinister Les Liaisons Dangereuses. The musicals for the year are Sideshow and Spring Awakening. Theatre UCF is located at 4000 Central Florida Blvd. in Orlando. For more information, call 407-823-1500 or visit www.theatre.ucf.edu on the Web.
Vocals Illustrated is a nonprofit organization where singing and dancing are taught on a weekly basis at the Garden Chateau, located at 17901 Marsh Road in Winter Garden. Rhythm and performing skills are taught in fun ways so that children learn to feel comfortable in any performing situation. Vocals Illustrated performers go home singing and are excited to return. The performing group for children has community performances once a month and concerts each semester. For more information, call 407-902-8723 or visit www.vocalsillustrated.org on the Web.
Students learn the art of traditional Irish step dance at Watters School of Irish Dancing, located at 415 N. Clarke Road in Ocoee, from Dublin-born Myra Watters. The school offers recreational classes for those who want to have fun or connect with their Celtic heritage, as well as competitive classes. Watters School of Irish Dancing is the only Southern school to have won multiple world and national titles. Students can participate in annual recitals, competitions, international championships, grade exams, St. Patrick’s Day parades, and other performances. Dance drama, a unique event blending Irish dance with musical theater, is also offered. For more information, call 407-929-7570 visit www.wattersschool.com on the Web.
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