DC Dance Collective is on a mission: to open the world of dance to everyone. And it takes that seriously—low-income dancers are encouraged to volunteer at the front desk in exchange for class credits. This communal spirit of creative exercise and collaboration realizes the dream of founder Nancy Newell, whose impressive 49-year dance career includes curating two Smithsonian series based on tap.
Dance Studio Life rightly describes DCDC as "an anomaly among studios in its region for both its collective approach and its vast offerings." In the lobby, which "feels more like a living room," the friendly instructors welcome people of all ages and backgrounds to pick from an eclectic assortment of dance styles, ranging from classics such as tap, ballet, and jazz to diverse styles such as hula, salsa, flamenco, belly dance, and Sri Lankan dance. Hip-hop and break-dancing classes help dancers find their inner funk without GPS, and Zumba fitness dance classes get everyone sweating to global party beats with Latin-inspired moves.
"Our brain is designed to realize what we wish, without any minor errors," says Dahn Yoga founder Ilchi Lee, "If you want success, it will create success. If you want happiness or health, it will create them. Anything is possible, as long as negative thoughts and emotions don't interfere." To make this challenging, yet hopeful philosophy accessible to all, Lee combined the Eastern concept of chi energy with his own brain-management system, developing a distinctive program that unlocks inner peace and sweeps up brain clutter caused by the daily stress of always having to find Waldo. Warm-up yoga maneuvers awaken muscles before 30–40 minutes of breathing, stretching, core practice, and meditation—including a signature brain-wave vibration technique that aims to calibrate mental and physical energies. Cool-down exercises ease the body back into quotidian functionality before a 10-minute teatime invites socialization among participants while bolstering pinkie endurance. Dahn Yoga is also taught at independently owned and operated franchises called Body & Brain Yoga.
Professional dancer Michael Rye mesmerizes students with his agile movements and 100% bona fide Australian accent. To help students become fluid in the language of ballroom and Latin dance, he works alongside a team of expert instructors to helm group and private lessons seven days a week. During lessons, they prepare students for regular social-dance parties where guests partner up with able-bodied peers to practice their moves and toe wrestle over who is going to lead. The seasoned two-steppers can also prep engaged couples for their big event with wedding-specific lessons. They devote Monday to Latin dance fitness and Thursday to west-coast swing. The studio features two floors laid with sprung maple for a softer feel on the dancers’ feet and robotic joints.
A team of friendly gurus runs each club. Fitness buffs of all buffness levels feel welcome in the fun and accommodating atmosphere at Washington Sports Clubs. During your two weeks, you get access to all the professional equipment, group exercise classes, locker rooms, and facility amenities offered (some group exercise classes require a reservation). Different clubs have on-site features such as pools, Pilates and yoga, babysitting services for a tag-along papoose, electricity, and more. Search for the club that suits your checklist here.
Pure Om Fairfax, formerly known as Bikram Yoga Fairfax, sports an earthly orange palette, state of the art yoga studio, and bright, natural lighting that provide a cool counterpoint to the heated intensity of its Bikram yoga classes. Though rigorous with its balmy heat and strict 26-posture series, the 90-minute classes are open to students of all experience levels and are taught by a team of Bikram–certified instructors. The 4,700-square-foot facility boasts not just an expansive practice space outfitted with medical-grade linoleum flooring and a natural-gas-fired heating system but also shower and locker-room amenities that make changing back into street clothes comfortable and efficient.
I Wish Lessons’ professionally guided classes convene in various venues throughout Chicago, Boston, DC, and Detroit, uniting and educating like-minded learners in vibrant social settings. The company’s hundreds of teachers have educated countless learners while introducing them to new friends and planning private events, including birthday parties and baby showers. Classes broach a multitude of engaging, lighthearted subjects, such as beer and bacon pairing, scotch tasting, cupcake decorating, and sushi rolling.