The consortium of professional instructors at Fred Astaire Dance Studios, which was cofounded by the legendary toe tapper himself, shepherds students of all ages and skill levels through lessons that span the style spectrum. Low-pressure private sessions allow enthusiastic teachers to fine-tune individual students' techniques and form, using their expert eyes and mechanical dancing shoes preprogrammed to do the Charleston. Patrons can learn how to cavort through classic waltz and fox-trot romps or swivel through the modern steps of salsa, swing, or samba. For dancers hoping to hoof it up in a social setting, the group practice parties provide a one-night extravaganza of instruction, demonstrations, and amateur firewalking.
The fleet-footed instructors of National Dance Clubs shepherd students of all skill levels through a variety of dance styles and techniques. Aspiring hip-swivelers can acquire the moves necessary to woo passersby into impromptu swing sessions with an introductory dance package, which includes two private 50-minute lessons to get the dance ball rhythmically rolling. Solo dancers—who will be paired with an instructor—and cha-chaing couples take to the 2,000-square-foot dance floor, learning the steps, dips, and secret handshakes of American, international, and social dance disciplines, including bolero, fox trot, rumba, waltz, and tango.
At Jones Dance Ballroom Studios, dancers of all skill levels teach their bodies to spin, shake, and shiver with the self-expressing movements of multiple dance styles, including tango, foxtrot, salsa, samba, West Coast swing, paso doble, merengue, and beyond. Up-and-coming motion maestros can begin their journey to stardom and dancing with a pair of private lessons ($37.50 each). During both of the half-hour twinkle-toe tutorials, a skilled, supportive instructor will work one-on-one with you and carefully teach your feet how to woo the haughty ground with the stately swirls of a Viennese waltz, the dazzling blur of the quickstep, or the swiveling bobble-hips of the cha-cha. Once they've learned how to light up the dance floor with controlled-burn fires, students can showcase their sizzling steps to new dance partners during a 60-minute group class ($15; check the calendar for more information about specific classes and times).
Chi Chi Randolph has choreographed routines for hip-hop artists including Nelly and the Black Eyed Peas. Kari Lehman has 15 years of ballet training experience. Viviane Bressan turned her love of belly dance into a career, traversing the globe while teaching and performing the ancient art. At Dance Austin Studio, these three number among more than a dozen dance instructors whose dazzlingly diverse backgrounds enable an array of classes for everyone from preschoolers to grownups and fitness buffs to serious students of dance.
Zumba combines fast-paced cardio choreography with dynamic Latin rhythms, and the 18-and-older Sexy Stiletto Fit class uses high heels to tone calves and build confidence. Students can choose to learn fundamental positions, steps, and vocabulary during structured ballet, lyrical, and jazz programs, or they can develop video-ready swagger during hip-hop classes. The studio’s sense of fun occasionally spills out into the community—it recently teamed up with the city’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management to spark a flash mob at city hall, held to raise awareness of emergency preparedness and help officials practice what to do if invaded by dancing aliens.
Peace, Love, and Unity: these are the pillars upon which this studio stands. Designed as an alternative to big, impersonal gyms, the family-owned-and-operated center fosters fun and mind-body-spirit harmony alongside fitness. A women-oriented self-defense class, Divas in Defense, adds an empowering edge to a class catalog that includes yoga, Pilates, and Zumba. Those seeking positive inner health may consult with a life coach or practice mediation. Soothing massage therapy and reflexology keep bodies from posing as bread dough to receive a proper kneading.
Professional belly dancer Alexia guides students through shimmying sessions that blend fitness with Middle Eastern dance. No previous experience is necessary for the Bellydance Basics class, which teaches the nuts and bolts of head slides, turns, and traveling steps while applying liberal amounts of swivel to hips. With eight weeks of practicing mesmerizing movements, students can enhance their posture and confidence, solidify lackluster abdominals, and create ripples rivaling those of monster-inhabited lakes. Alexia breaks down Middle Eastern moves into their fundamental components and encourages dancers to quest for precision and proper alignment.