Lisa Zahiya’s dance career has taken her all over the world, but it might be the work she’s doing in her hometown she finds the to be the most rewarding. At her studio, she teaches her students how to express themselves through dance with a curriculum that hinges on belly-dancing classes. Zahiya, who was named 2008 Tribal Fusion Belly Dancer of the Universe at the Wiggles of the West belly-dance competition, offers both traditional and cardio-heavy versions of the core-chiseling style. Though she helms a majority of the studio’s classes—which also include Bollywood-style dance, hip-hop, world-dance workouts, and kids’ belly dance—Zahiya enlists instructor Teejei Brigham to teach tribal dance. All classes welcome beginners, since Zahiya believes that dance is an art form that everyone—including the rare few with pogo sticks for legs—can enjoy.
“We remember that everyone was a beginner at some point, even us!” says the Fred Astaire Dance Studio’s website, which displays many of the award-winning team’s words of encouragement to their students. Whether participants are new to dance or want to become the next superhero known for their crime-fighting tango, comprehensive lessons from the internationally recognized team in ballroom, Latin, and swing dance can get them there. Weekly social parties also gather students from all levels in a relaxed space where they can try out what they gleaned in class and learn a few new steps, too.
It's a Great Day for Dancing's experienced instructors guide students through lessons in waltz, foxtrot, swing, and more. With each class tailored to the students' individual learning styles, burgeoning rug cutters should see immediate results in their hip-twisting abilities. Students can also request instruction in less ballroom-bound styles, such as salsa, West Coast swing, and shag. Aspiring hoofers test out their moves at Friday dance parties, where they can shimmy and shake alongside fellow students, instructors, and the reanimated legs of Gene Kelly.
At Aerial Space, workouts unfold in midair. Practitioners weave through suspended silks, flow through yoga poses supported by hammocks, or practice acrobatic moves on the static trapeze and lyra, a suspended hoop. Aerial Space's aerial circus-arts classes, offered privately and for groups of children and adults, instill equal parts grace, fitness, and newfound skill.
Trained industry professionals at Asheville Performing Arts Academy cultivate creativity in fledgling scholars with weekly dance and drama classes. Patrons can enroll pint-size progenies in a semester of Kindermusik classes, introductory music courses designed to bolster their cognitive development and prepare them for potential careers as boat rowers and bus wheels. Designed for even younger tots, the school's Creative Arts Preschool program embraces dance, art, and drama to foster critical-thinking skills and boost confidence levels at an early age. Children may also opt to perfect their two-stepping abilities in a slew of classes—including ballet, Irish dance, and Broadway style—that cater to a variety of age groups and experience levels.