Led with confidence by salsa crusader Erika Occhipinti, the agile staff at Salsa Caliente Dance Studio teaches students of all experience levels to strut their stuff within a structured curriculum. During beginner sessions, the dance floor becomes a kinetic classroom where pupils and gyrating lecterns rehearse the ins and outs of the basic step, as well as lead and follow techniques. Midlevel apprentices of the saucy art find a challenge in intermediate and advanced classes, in which dance senseis impart the secrets of their most devastating boogies. The studio encourages students to attend a beginner-level class first; students with salsa-dancing experience should arrive 15 minutes early to be evaluated and find out the best starting level for them. Take a step toward dancehall dominance by choosing a class on the schedule or invading a local dancehall with an armored conga line.
Helmed by an owner with 20 years of dance experience and a BA in dance education, Dance Arts Center’s instructors motivate bodies into motion with more than a dozen dance styles. They lead adult hobbyists and career-minded 3-year-old dancers alike in styles including classical ballet, tap, jazz, and acrobatics. In kids’ classes, instructors teach sprouts up to 18 years old the fundamentals of dance techniques in a non-competitive environment and challenge more advanced students to join the performance team, which takes to the stage at competitions, community performances, and workshops. Students in both the regular classes and the performance team gather to showcase their moves during the center's annual concert, which is one of the last remaining dance events in the country without a panel of sneering celebrity alien judges.
In addition to ballroom, hip-hop, and flamenco dance classes, staffers lead adults in yoga and Pilates regimens to help whip them into peak performance shape.
Having seen an upswing in interest in one of the world’s oldest dance styles, Johanna and Karen started a belly-dancing collective in 2004 as a way to create a community for both professionals and students and an audience for monthly showcases. They gave these enthusiasts a brick-and-mortar hangout in 2008 when they opened their first center for classes and events, which has since blossomed and moved into a new space nearly four times the size of the old studio.
Today, Hip Expressions offers drop-in and ongoing classes led by seasoned instructors. Classes focus on introducing newcomers to the art form’s fundamental isolation techniques that keep hips and waists from arguing over the remote. In addition to belly dancing, classes include a variety of other dances and fitness crazes such as Zumba, yoga for dancers, or active isolated stretching.
It isn’t every day that student and teacher become partners in business, but that’s what happened after Robin Dickson took his first dance class with Matthew Gann. A friendship formed between Dickson, a special-event planner since the age of 17, and Gann, an award-winning ballroom dancer who already owned studios of his own. After realizing ways their backgrounds complemented each other, the two decided to open Allure Dance Studio.
Experienced dance instructors cultivate twinkle toes in private and group dance lessons across the studio’s sleek hardwood floor. Up to 25 students practice salsa, tango, or merengue rhythms in front of a wall of mirrors that display each student’s progress and most intimidating dance face. All students of Allure can practice what they’ve learned at various parties and events organized by the studio that provide a place where all types of dance can be performed and celebrated.
Recently featured on WKMG Local 6, Dance Trance offers women choreographed aerobic routines and the chance to gain lean muscle while busting heart-healthy moves. Founder and cardio conga-line leader Jay Handline began offering high-energy dance fitness courses many years ago, and his classes have evolved along with their ever-expanding popularity, maintaining a singular amalgamation of endurance-testing exercise and innovative choreography. The top-of-the-line studio and professional lighting system add to a thorough workout experience, and classes’ soundtracks run the genre gamut from reggae to hip-hop to Latin-jazz fusion. The hardworking, experienced staff gives members a perpetual-motion workout that helps participants build strength with a thorough, holistic workout.