The first time Lisa Leonard took a Zumba class, it was the fastest hour of her life. She’d had a blast, and it inspired her to become a certified instructor. In her classes, she leads two types of Zumba routines: traditional fitness, which fuses latin dance and exercise, and toning classes that incorporate light free weights. With each version, students learn moves that, like rickshas, are easy to follow yet still burn a lot calories.
Light floods the cozy studio and streams through the wall-to-wall windows to bounce off the mirrors lining the practice space. High-energy music thumps through in the studio, giving students the extra oomph needed to motor through cardio moves or shake hips in a variety of fitness classes. Latin-inspired Zumba and ME (Movement & Energy) classes keep the mood playful, while stretch classes offer a tranquil respite in which muscles can elongate or practice imitating rubber bands. Expert instructors fuse yoga, ballet, and Pilates in barre classes, which help tone and sculpt muscles in 45- to 60-minute sessions.
Music floods over the sound system as dancers on their tiptoes grip a ballet barre. A wooden floor supports their moves as they stare into a mirror, which reflects their perfectly pointed legs and angelic halos. At Center Stage Studio, owner, founder, and director Temi Woodley captains a team of instructors who lead dance and fitness classes in a noncompetitive atmosphere. Youngsters and adults alike can attend a wide variety of group classes, such as Zumba, hip-hop, two-step, and spiritual praise dancing. The studio also opens its doors for private dance or fitness lessons and birthday parties.
At Ego Fitness Studios, certified instructors strive toward the goal of helping clients cultivate a healthy ego. To that end, they welcome men, women, and children inside for personal-training sessions, sports-training sessions, and a slew of group-fit-training classes that are typically capped at 10 students. Their expertise is put to work in the studio's signature class: Boost. During these sessions, they run exercisers through a circuit of abs exercises, cardio exercises, and lower- or upper-body strength training with weights, resistance bands, medicine balls, and TRX bands.
Beyond the accoutrements incorporated during Boost, Ego Fitness also maintains rows of 100-pound punching bags that dangle from the ceiling. They get a thorough plumping during Kickboxing classes. Meanwhile, a forest of shiny poles awaits robot campers and guests for women-only Sexy and Pole Dance Fit classes and in-studio pole dancing parties. Alternatively, the facility houses karate classes taught by sixth-degree black-belt-master instructor Ron Williams, and offers chiropractic services from on-staff licensed chiropractors.
Dance shouldn’t be formulaic. That’s why at Studio Tropa, owner Jerry Maese leads a dynamic, multi-cultural team of dance instructors that help students build better bodies. Six days a week students rock and rollick to sultry Tropa international sessions and the Latin-inspired grooves of Zumba classes. Instructors also get pulses racing with Tropa funk, their self-devised take on hip-hop. Students are encouraged to bring water, wear comfortable clothing, and sport athletic shoes that have good arch support and aren’t covered in Vaseline. Studio Tropa was recently selected to be a part of a promotional video release in conjunction with the release of the film, The Great Gatsby and was also part of the Galleria Mall flashmob for the release of the Zumba Rush Xbox Kinect video game.
Established just four years ago, Full Out Dance's competition team—Kelley's Company—has won titles on the national stage. The dance studio proudly displays the gleaming hardware from its dancers' multiple victories at competitions and awards for choreography, inspiring dancers as young as 2 years old to follow in their footsteps instead of going down the path of the black-market lollipop trade. The talented instructors teach youthful toes in dance styles including ballet, tap, jazz, and hip-hop. They also lead gymnastics and tumbling classes for youngsters and a dance-based Zumba fitness class for adults.