At The Learning Spot Dance Academy, dance classes aren't just for fun—they're also key to educational development. Inside this safe, judgement-free zone, a team of bilingual caretakers and educators work with students from 18 months to 15 years old inside a newly-installed dance studio. Though students are taught in groups, caretakers pledge to give each one plenty of individual attention. Acknowledging that many parents have demanding schedules, the center welcomes drop-in care as well as early drop--offs and late pickups. But adults aren't just relegated to the sidelines, as they can also take salsa and latin dance lessons.
At The Bea Hive Dance Studio, shoes hit 6,000 square feet of floating dance floor in the cadences of swing, ballroom, hip-hop, salsa, and other groovy disciplines. The beats rarely stop inside the venue's three rooms—they host lessons and competitive training in addition to weekend dance parties, where students can both socialize and practice their steps. Just as it embraces a wide variety of styles, the studio teaches dance for all purposes. Private classes steer couples through wedding sashays, and ballet and tap classes for toddlers prompt parents to look forward to future stomping tantrums.
Regardless of the reason behind the rhythm, guests can rest assured that each rug-cutting venture is overseen by a seasoned instructor. Some of the staff's accomplishments include performing for Nelson Mandela and nabbing third place in the team division of the World Latin Dance Cup. Their accolades have not prompted an exclusive attitude, however; they accept pupils of any age and experience level.
Fullerton Dancesport Center owner Stuart Cole has made a career out of dancing with style. His long list of achievements and gigs include Scottish amateur ten-dance champion, US National Team representative to the World Championships, and film dancer in Dance with Me and Heaven’s Gate. So it is with this illustrious background that Stuart works with his team of instructors to bring their personal flair to dance lessons for students of all skill levels.
Whether in social groups or private sessions, students can dance seven days a week with a schedule of classes that range from the Latin-inspired salsa and cha cha to the more homegrown country line dancing and West Coast Swing. Wedding dance lessons help bride and groom glide across the floor or bowling lane during their first dance, while youth classes for dancers ages four and up impart basic ballroom and Latin dance techniques along with rhythm and posture. For a more sweat-inducing workout, Zumba fitness classes blend the dance styles taught in Latin lessons with energetic music.
Starting at age four, Michelle Larson dedicated herself to Irish dance, quickly ascending the ranks from regional to world championship-level dancing. But at 21, hungry for a change of pace, she focused her energy on interior design. It didn't take long, however, for the rhythmic patter of soft shoes to lure her back like a siren song, and in 1990 she founded the Painter Larson Academy of Irish Dance. Here, she trains children in Irish dance fundamentals, such as foot placement and timing, before teaching basic dances such as the light jig. Michelle's adult students learn these skills, too, as well as group dances that culminate in a traditional Irish dogpile.
For more than a quarter century, Robyn Melanson has developed a thorough knowledge of the dance community as a performer, instructor, choreographer, and coach. As the founder and director of Stage One Dance Studio, she and her staff of dance instructors teach clients the art of kinetic expression in styles as varied as jazz, ballet, and tap. The premises feature three studios, each equipped with raised hard-rock maple floors, where students ages 3-17 hone their skills.
Shesha Marvin was nervous as he gazed out on the dance floor, certain that his pounding heart could even be heard over the booming music. He had always been uneasy on his feet, choosing to lurk by the punch bowl at parties rather than asking girls for a dance—but now, at last, was a chance to overcome his fear. He took a deep breath and stepped out onto the floor, where he was immediately swept away in a rush of lively beats and glimmering lights.
After than fateful night, Shesha was hooked. He began dancing six nights a week at local clubs and, eventually, in Disneyland shows, favoring the lindy-hop and swing styles. He traveled the world to compete in international championships, even performing live on Dancing with the Stars. Today, Shesha brings his years of passion and expertise to his own dance studio, Atomic Ballroom.
Atop the hardwood floors of his spacious studio, Shesha and his instructors lead students of all experience levels through the steps, twirls, and transitions of the East Coast swing, the American fox trot, and the Argentine tango. The instructors can even help couples choreograph a dance for their wedding while providing expert advice on how to sashay gracefully in heels or how to twirl the bride without destroying the reception hall with F5-level winds. Every night of the week, they host a group dance party—from Sunday night tango to Saturday night Ballroom, and belly dance throughout the week.