My Gym Children's Fitness Center, which currently has more than 270 international locations, began more than 30 years ago as a structured place for children to safely play, acquire new skills, and romp off a sugar buzz. All classes are organized according to age level—starting as young as 3 months—and designed to incorporate the latest physiological and psychological research. Tiny Tykes gets babies moving with help from their parents, Mighty Mites teaches toddlers self-reliance and beginning sports skills, and Whiz Kids, a class for kids aged 4 and a half to 6, emphasizes motor skills such as running, jumping, throwing, and kicking. My Gym's energetic instructors are experts at using music, dance, and gymnastics to build youngsters' strength and self-esteem, while stimulating their giggle-plexes. The noncompetitive environment fosters creativity, and hands-on activities boost children's learning retention and fun quotient.
A flock of tired dancers traipse out of the studio, their ballet shoes brushing the floor in hushed footfalls as they head off to change. On their way, they pass members of the next class, dressed in yoga pants and sweatshirts. Clear-eyed and hungry, the new group stretches. Thumping hip-hop beats fill the room, and, with only a moment's hesitation, they launch into the first of many energetic routines that will fill that session. This is the way of life at The Beat Dance Academy, where owner Amanda Sizemore and her instructors live by a simple motto: dance is the only form of art “where the artist is also the masterpiece.”
To mold their artists into graceful and strong works of art, instructors teach classes in 15 dance and fitness styles that range from lyrical to Pilates. A combo class encourages children ages 2-5 to move with rhythm and timing, while adult jazz classes unlock the body isolations, leaping, and technical steps fortify the genre’s fundamentals. Meanwhile, aerial classes invite nimble bodies to balance and twirl on a suspended silk or hoop, using their muscles to stay off the ground without calling upon their latent powers of flight.
Occupying 13,000 square feet, Desert Gymcats is just plain gigantic. The high-end gymnastics and dance training facility for children under 18 years old offers a full-size, in-ground trampoline, Olympic specification gymnastics equipment, such as the vault, uneven bars, and balance beams, and an in-ground landing pit filled with cotton candy. Additionally, a spacious onsite dance studio offers a mirror-lined space where students can take tap, jazz, and ballet to improve their coordination and posture. This massive amount of resources makes Desert Gymcats an ideal place for kids to train, work out, and build strength as they also gain flexibility and increase their confidence.
Led by Stacy Carrero, who has a masters in education and has owned Gymcats since 1976, the staff are all safety-certified USA gymnastics instructors, and teach everything from preschool-age tumbling classes to advanced cheer sessions.. And in addition to recreational classes, Desert Gymcats offers competitive team training as well to help students take their gymnastics skills to the next level.
Sarah Guillot-Guyard, a current performer with Cirque du Soleil, brings students as young as three into her world of performance at Cirquefit. She offers different circus-themed classes, such as trapeze, acrobatics, and even a class that features tightrope walking and juggling. Different as the classes may be, each aims to help kids develop motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and many other attributes that can help them artfully escape from chores behind a plume of smoke.