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.
When asked the purpose of Kenville Studios, the owner quotes a friend who once said, “I’ve never seen an angry dancer.” The studio’s staff helps students find happiness through self-expression, art, and freedom in classes such as ballet, ballroom, flamenco dance, tap, swing, and jazz. They also lead fitness-minded classes, such as Zumba and yoga, as well as kids’ classes and summer day camps.
Driven by a genuine passion for dance, the instructors at Come Dancing strive to train students in a consistently relaxed atmosphere, placing the focus on fun rather than competition. Inside the studio, they teach the principles of international or American-style ballroom, Argentine tango and milonga, and other Latin dances. The team helms group classes, private lessons, and dance parties, which allow attendees to socialize and demonstrate how well they're adjusting to their new rocket-powered legs. Their specialized classes also provide dance training for brides and grooms, as well as aspiring competitors.
For Amber Gilbert, dancing isn't just an alternative to walking. She sees dance as a chance to explore one's personality and express it through movement. As owner and director of The Dance Academy, she presides over staff members as they help students of all skill levels to unlock artistic potential through dance classes. The team of seasoned instructors teaches styles including hip-hop, Hawaiian, and classical ballet amid the studio's barres and mirrors. During classes for youngsters, pint-size students hone motor skills through activities that pair music with moves culled from the worlds of ballet, tap, and jazz.
In addition to torching calories during salsa and swing classes, adults can sculpt svelte physiques through relaxing yoga and Pilates sessions and Zumba workouts packed with Latin-inspired aerobics. The studio's competitive training program prepares dancers for national contests and helps them to look natural when they get a single red rose stuck in their teeth.
When she isn't busy choreographing routines for music videos on MTV, Annette Bergasse trains the next generation of aspiring dancers at her eponymous school. For 30-plus years, Annette and her fellow instructors—all recipients of top awards at national and regional competitions—have helped students hone techniques in both classic and popular styles. The studio's programs focus on everything from the tiptoed grace of ballet to the more loose-limbed moves of hip-hop.
As part of Annette's chorus and competition program, the school's most talented pupils even participate in dance competitions, workshops, and performances for local charities. Such intensive training has helped launch students into professional gigs in Hollywood films, on Broadway stages, and as inflatable tube men outside car dealerships.
Dance icon Gene Kelly once said, “The history of dance on film begins with Astaire.” Since its founding in 1947, the Fred Astaire Dance Studio has continued to turn out dancers with the aid of a pragmatic curriculum that imparts Hollywood–quality footwork. Now taught at more than 140 studios, the curriculum teaches students diverse styles ranging from ballroom to latin to swing and salsa. Stratified by skill level, classes can take students on a journey from rudimentary basics through the foundations of social dance, and then on to more advanced moves, with a trophy system delineating each student’s progress. Dancers of all skill levels and ages can expand their repertoires with group classes, personalized one-on-one instruction, or special wedding dance programs that fortify couples for their first dance as newlyweds.