No one has ever trained for the lead in Swan Lake just to tighten their abs, but dancers, choreographers, and Atlanta Zumba Dance instructors Faaridah and Nahari both agree that it comes with the territory. That’s why they’ve channeled their experiences in the performing arts into a platform for dance-based fitness instruction. Faaridah was particularly drawn to Zumba because of her Caribbean and Hispanic heritage, and Nahari has been a student of Middle Eastern dances for nearly a decade, so their curriculum of Zumba and belly dancing was a natural fit.
Students can shed pounds and throw on their shiniest layer of sweat during Zumba classes, a 60-minute dance-based aerobic workout with easy-to-follow choreography performed to a soundtrack of Latin rhythms. The dance moves are an amalgam of styles that includes elements of salsa, cha-cha, merengue, flamenco, and tango. Classes at Atlanta Zumba Dance always begin with a warm-up, followed by intervals of faster and slower tempos. Visits conclude with a cool-down and stretch session. In addition to group classes, patrons may rent the studio for a private-lesson Zumba party or to spin around in an office chair without anyone telling them that they’ll get sick.
Asiya Khasnutdinova knows the dance world. As a five-time Latin dance champion in her native Russia and top-20 contestant on So You Think You Can Dance, she'd mastered the combination of artistry and strength needed to wow her crowds. However, she also knew it would take more than just dedication to own a dance and health club. So in order to realize this dream, she decided to partner with her mother, enlisting Svetlana Khasnutdinova's experience running her own medical practice.
The result? Valeo Dance Fitness Studio, where Asiya helps clients lose weight and have fun during dance-based cardio classes that incorporate elements of strength training, interval work, and resistance exercises. These ValeoFit 1000 workouts help clients burn up to 1,000 calories and tone their entire bodies through dance routines that may include weighted hula hoops, weights, and resistance bands. When muscles get weary after workouts, clients can also pick up a Valeo Beauty Bar, an all-natural skin care product designed by Svetlana to ease away pent-up toxins and bust stubborn cellulite.
Known for guiding the women of The Real Housewives of Atlanta through ab-strengthening moves, the instructors at the Nazeem Allayl Belly Dance Studio started as a professional dance troupe before opening a studio in 1999. Now with 32 classes offered under one roof, the Nazeem Allayl Belly Dance Studio aims to boost the self-confidence of its all-female students during drop-in Shimmy Fit classes and five-week technique courses. Instructors disguise calorie-blasting exercises with engaging choreography so that students can tone muscles without spending the day trying to slip an oiled-up pig into a wetsuit.
At Spinarella, whirling instructors elucidate the art of gyration during lively calorie-blasting pole-fitness classes and parties in their all-female fitness studio. Each of their one-hour classes is capped at 15 ladies to ensure adequate bonding between pole and dancer through small talk and shared admiration of neoclassical architecture. Students of all shapes and sizes can also perfect their come-hither moves during classes that focus on off-the-pole dances and incorporate silks or lyras, which are hoop-shaped perches suspended from the ceiling.
Dance 411 Studios' instructors pause from stints as featured dancers in Justin Bieber music videos and on MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew to helm the studio’s range of dance classes. The schedule aims to incorporate something for everyone, from the youthful whimsy of children's tumbling classes to the practical firefighting experience of adult pole dancing. Vibrant orange and red walls add energy to the individual studios, and expansive windows reflect off gleaming hardwood floors that echo stomps of students and shadows trying to keep up.
At the women’s only Glitter’s Fitness Club, visitors tone their physiques while unleashing their inner vixens during a choice of 22 classes per week. Instructors guide students through yoga and Piloxing, a fusion of Pilates and boxing, and helm sultry Zumba dance parties and Sexy Chair classes, during which students learn to look seductive while building a wooden rocking chair.