Najia has inspired audiences with her sensual Middle Eastern dance in Egypt and Jordan, as well as in restaurants, nightclubs, and Pearl Jam?s preshow. Building her diverse dancing resum?, she pilgrimages to the Middle East for two or three months each year to continue researching dances, garner inspiration for her Philadelphia Bellydance company, and make her passport more colorful. She calls upon all of her twirling know-how to lead series of four weekly classes, in which students learn to shimmy, hip drop, and send veils fluttering through the air or weave together basic moves for complex choreography. On the fifth week after class sessions, students meet for a confidence-inspiring Goddess Night that awakens inner beauty through dance workshops, vegan treats, and performances as guests mingle bedecked in veils, gems, and outer adornment.
If there is a major dance competition out there, Scott Lazarov has probably placed in it. Along with gracing the cover of Philadelphia Magazine and performing at the Academy of Music, the founder of DanceSport Academy has won four US and World Pro-Am championships and was named champion of US Salsa, Rising Star, and Grand National championships. At DanceSport, Scott and his fellow instructors teach dance as both a social outlet and a competitive art form, and break down complicated styles into simple steps. Private and group classes teach a foundation of balance, posture, and timing that can then be mapped onto styles as varied as mambo, swing, merengue, or the Viennese waltz. Serious students can also gear up for competitions through a comprehensive training approach that addresses choreography, costuming, and production of the oversized foam fingers given out to the judges.
Arthur Murray has been a leading name in franchise dance since 1912, when the entrepreneur began selling mail-order dance lessons. Expanding his reach, he enlisted teachers to spread his signature dance lessons on first-class steamships and skyrocketed to fame in the 1930s after introducing the public to such dances as the Lambeth Walk and The Big Apple. By the 1950s, Arthur and his wife, Kathryn, were hosting their own highly popular TV show on ABC, The Arthur Murray Party, which ran for 12 years. Today, Arthur Murray's team prepares students for rug cutting at special events and weekend nightclub jaunts. Throughout lessons, instructors teach the foundations of two to four dances from a long list of styles that range from latin to country-western, helping students to learn basic step patterns, timing, and the ability to lead or follow.
At Dana Hot Yoga, the path to relaxation is sprinkled with sweat. Within a heated studio, Vinyasa classes—which accommodate both advanced yogis and beginners—mix rigorous sequences with meditative breaks. By varying the pace and intensity, instructors ensure each workout targets almost every muscle while bringing the mind to stillness. And the warmth is an integral part of the experience as well, as it helps loosen up tendons so they flex further and release stored toxins.
Even though the environment is hot, the prevailing attitude is anything but. Teachers stress that students needn't be flexible or have ball bearings installed in their joints before taking their courses. For them, consistent practice and a positive outlook are more important than perfection.
While studying under renowned Ashtanga masters, Mark Nelson, owner of The Yoga Garden, learned that each person receives unique benefits from their yoga practice—be it the calmness felt postclass or the increased physical strength gained from core-centric poses. His roster of instructors, a diversely trained group, teaches with this knowledge in mind. The guiding yogis include a prenatal yoga master, a former philosophy student and martial artist, and a published author who pens poetry when she is not positioned in downward facing dog. The faculty also offers lessons in Pilates and meditation, allowing clients to choose from multiple, mat-paved routes to inner peace.
While the scoring may be faster and the tunes louder, Wynnewood Lanes still maintains the laidback atmosphere it had on its opening day in 1962. At the 24-lane alley guests mow down pins and snack on pizza at The Beer Frame Lounge. As weekend evenings fade into night, live DJs start blasting tunes through the sound system, inspiring guests to dance under the alley’s glowing neon lights. Simultaneously, a fog machine fills the room with a haziness that confuses bowlers into thinking karaoke singers are really the ghosts of long-gone rock 'n' rollers.