Best Dance Troupe 2018 | The Dallas Neo-Classical Ballet | Best of Dallas® 2020 | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Dallas | Dallas Observer

The Dallas Neo-Classical Ballet combines high-caliber dance performance with innovative and original content. Known for fostering creative collaborations, company artistic director Emilie Skinner took things to a whole new level this season. It is not surprising that a ballet company would perform excerpts from classical pieces like La Sylphide and Giselle as they did when they worked with the DMA on a celebration of the paintings of French Impressionist Edgar Degas. But few dance troupes would build a performance around Albert Einstein for a sci-fi show. DNCB has a calendar with a space girls theme and an annual horror-themed series. Skinner created a Black Swan vibe to provide the backdrop for Icelandic indie-rock group Kaleo when they performed at Array as part of DSO's Soluna festival. For their final performance of the season, Blind Tiger, Skinner created a comedic piece with music from the 1920s. Not your typical ballet troupe.

As you hike the soft-surface trails through woods and prairie or bike the paved Trinity Forest Trail, a hidden gem that skirts the property, watch for living things without opposable thumbs. The Audubon Center advertises its birds, and you'll see ducks, herons, woodpeckers and more on guided Saturday morning hikes. But the former illegal landfill that's about 10 miles from downtown is a good place to spot other critters, from dainty butterflies to creepy-crawlies like water snakes and spiny lizards to beavers, hogs and deer — on our last visit, we pulled over along the entrance road to help a jaywalking turtle get safely to the other side.

The museum, located in the West End, cares about people in North Texas. Not only does it house vital history lessons, but its staff have shown a commitment to providing clarity during newsworthy events. When the Conference of Jewish Material Claims Against Germany surveyed young people and found that 20 percent didn't know anything about the Holocaust, the museum held a millennial night to teach about the bigotry that led to genocide and the Holocaust, and how to teach others about it. Almost any time someone in the news has said or done something anti-Semitic, you can count on the museum to weigh in and offer commentary.

Yeah, yeah, you've heard this before: the alternative weekly newspaper cheering for alternative music. In this case, though, we salute the North Texas radio station for deleting its music. The station has begun allowing its listeners to vote away which songs they don't want to hear. So if a song is being played too much, you can text in to express your intolerance. And if it gets enough down-votes, the station won't play it again. In the age of personalized music on Apple Music and Spotify, we appreciate a public radio station trusting its users to control what they want to hear.

Dallas has a tendency of re-inventing itself, and in the process, we forget what this city's people have endured. This podcast is a nagging reminder of Dallas' origins. Criss-crossing through Dallas ISD's struggle to integrate the schools to county officials' fear of taxes, the podcast dives into how people have been educated over the years in Dallas. It takes hard looks at the schools, providing historical commentaries on subjects that are relevant at school board meetings today. This podcast really shows the dangers of public officials misleading parents and students.

James Franco would have never made The Disaster Artist if theaters like the Inwood didn't keep alive cult sensation The Room. Every Friday and Saturday at midnight, the theater shows other cult classics, including "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" and "Donnie Darko." (Check the website for the schedule.) The Inwood screens the latest movies too, so you can catch those as well. Enjoy any of the films in the Inwood's living room-style auditorium, featuring couch seats. It's perfect for dates. There is also a martini lounge; $5 during happy hour. The theater has been around for over 70 years. It's a Dallas staple serving up the classics.

courtesy Ink Master
Deanna Smith

Denton's Deanna Smith has only been a tattoo artist for about four years, but she was one of the top five contestants out of 30 on the latest season of the Paramount Network's Ink Master. Smith, who works at Dark Age Tattoo Studio in Denton's Downtown Square, specializes in portrait tattoos, so it was a disappointment when she was eliminated during a portrait competition with only two episodes remaining. "I don't fully agree that what makes a tattoo perfect is how straight the line work is or how solid the saturation is," Smith told the Dallas Observer after she left the show. "I think it's about when you see a tattoo, does it look dope? If the answer is yes, then it's a good tattoo."

Ah, the smell of fresh crayon wax. There was nothing like opening a new big box of Crayolas, 64 colors untouched by some other kid's grubby little fingers. Enjoy some old-fashioned fun with your children at the Crayola Experience, which opened in March at the Shops at Willow Bend in Plano. Watch how crayons are made, stop at a coloring station that would put your 64-count box to shame, paint with watercolors or melted wax, explore the playground or visit the photo booth to create a coloring page of your family. Don't forget to tell your kids that you didn't get to do any of these activities back in the day.

Your favorite music, food trucks and flowers. Do you need to know anything more about KXT Sun Sets? Before the weather gets unbearably hot (OK, technically this is a late spring concert series), the signature series from KXT 91.7 FM lets you hear national and local musicians chosen by the radio station's staff members in an intimate setting at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden. Guests can bring food and drinks to set up picnics on the Camp Lawn overlooking White Rock Lake. Artists for 2018 included Patty Griffin and Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear.

Sure, you can check out the Perot Museum of Nature and Science during its regular hours, but it's just not socially acceptable to push kids out of the way so you can try the interactive exhibits. That's probably why the museum offers plenty of adult-only programs, or as its website calls them, "scientifically grown-up fun." Social Science events have fun themes and include experiments, performances, discussions and, of course, drinks. Hear from engaging explorers during a lecture from the speaker series National Geographic Live. Or check out Science Cafe at a local pub, where you can hear about scientific trends and research from experts and, of course, drink.

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