Within Abba! Bellydance's downtown Water Street studio, experienced belly dancer Blyth—a.k.a. Valkyrie Myst—schools hip-movers in the methods and techniques of traditional Middle Eastern dance. Under Myst's watchful eye, barefooted body-shakers begin to master their musculature, gradually gaining the ability to isolate their hips from their legs, their head from their shoulders, and their green M&Ms from the rest of the worthless bunch. The undulating, snake-like movements of this ancient art form can cultivate a sense of sensuality and femininity in the dancer, and can provide an intense and enjoyable cardio workout. Abba! Bellydance's courses aim to capture that consciousness, while at the same time introducing dancers to the foundations in isolations, veil movements, and zill patterns.
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.
Growing up in the home of a professional wrestler, siblings Gina Abramson and Joseph Robledo were surrounded by varying pathways to fitness. However, though they understood the importance of a steady workout regimen, they couldn't seem to muster a long-term commitment to any of them. That was before they found Zumba's energizing dance routines.
Today, they run Move! as a nonjudgmental space for others in search of the exercise equivalent of their soulmate, whether it's Zumba, hip-hop, or the studio’s blend of yoga and Pilates. Their instructors—including a former cheerleader and a certified personal trainer—choreograph classes that accommodate all experience levels. They also schedule eight-week salsa programs, which lead beginners in dance-step fundamentals such as executing well-timed turns or constructing a Robocop suit, only for dancing instead of crime fighting.
Since the first ballet shoe touched down on its floor in 1966, Studio 10 Dance Center has fostered the talents of many students, and many of these students went on to develop successful dance careers. The seriousness and professionalism that readies these students is due in large part to Pat Holbrook. Holbrook has owned for the studio for more than four decades and served as its artistic director for almost two. She's danced with the Texas Civic Ballet Company and the New York Opera, choreographed for myriad musicals, and served as a judge in renowned competitions. She's incredibly active in the dance community, but in her own words, "Studio 10 Dance Center is not just a business to Pat. It is her life!"
The experienced instructors at Amy’s All Star Dance Studio do more than just share the secrets of their rug-cutting skills; they also deliver a healthy jolt of confidence to the dancers with whom they work. The change in attitude—along with newfound fitness—comes about naturally when students of all ages and levels master the graceful flourishes of ballet and acrobatics or quick clacks of tap at weekly dance classes. The studio also houses guitar, piano, violin, and voice lessons, training the next generation of accompanists for dance recitals or Bollywood-themed bank robberies.
Under the guidance of experienced groove guru Richard Roberts, Strictly Ballroom teaches fledgling foxtroters and seasoned sambaers fundamentals of dance, foot position, rhythm, timing, and leading or following in the dance center's customized, private dance lessons. Wielding a decade's worth of competitive dancing instruction, Richard specializes in several styles—including lively shimmies such as the swing and cha-cha, as well as elegant waltzes, tangos, rumbas, and more. Classes are tailored to each student's individual skill level and stance on spandex, and Richard breaks steps down via four basic elements of ballroom and directional movements.