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.
With a long-standing commitment to women, children, minorities, and social-justice issues and a presence in New Britain for more than a century, the YWCA is more than just a workout facility. Its history is peppered with groundbreaking programs to bolster race relations, achieve women's empowerment through business ventures, and promote children's health by providing access to physical activity. Staff members further the organization's vision with dedication to initiatives to help unemployed community members locate jobs in the area, literacy programs for kids and adults learning English, and an afterschool girls' development program for middle schoolers.
At Thunder Sports and Fitness, the NSCA-certified fitness instructors schedule personal-training sessions and group fitness classes such as Zumba. But that's not the only way to burn calories and obtain abs that can withstand a cannonball at the town fair. Exercisers can also sign up for self-defense classes such as kickboxing, boxing, and Brazilian jujitsu.
Lady Fit’s team of all-female trainers leads women through a variety of fitness classes including its specialty: Kangoo Jumps classes. Strapped into springy Kangoo boots, students cavort through entertaining circuit-training exercises, activate their core, and improve their balance while feeling joyfully weightless and bouncy. In addition to the Kangoo classes, the instructors also lead Pilates, piloxing, P90X, beam fit, Zumba, and floor barre classes.
My Fit Mommy owner and director Mary Damato is passionate about giving moms a place to get fit while they spend quality time with their kids. A mother of three herself, she saw a need for a laid-back, mom-focused workout space, where moms could interact with other adults while still participating in an intense workout. Each outdoor, boot-camp-style class is led by a certified instructor and focuses on burning calories through circuit training and toning the body using small weights.
The air was chilly and the sky was still dark one wintry morning in Hartford, when five women huddled around Racquel, awaiting instruction at the very first Racquels Addiction Fitness boot camp. But as hard as that first workout may have been, it obviously inspired something positive in the women who attended. From that day forward, word spread about the workout that group fitness instructor Racquel had put together—a powerful routine that targeted problem areas such as the hips, thighs, glutes, and abs and quickly transformed them with little to no help from cumbersome workout equipment.
Today, Racquel and fellow fitness instructor Betsy have branched out from just boot camp. At Racquel's Addiction Fitness, they also teach Piloxing (a blend of Pilates and boxing), Zumba, and Hot and Bothered on the Bench classes, which blast calories with help from a step bench and weights. And, in their quest to make fitness fun for everyone, the studio also hosts many exercise-themed special events, including chair dance fitness parties, pole dancing parties, and sultry potato sack races.