For beginning suitors to the zoot, try the Swingin' From Scratch course, with upcoming sessions from May 5-26 (on Wednesday evenings) and June 7-28 (on Monday evenings) at Firefly Studio in Decatur. Learn how to move from certifiably passionate swingers (of the dance variety) as they lead novice feet around the room for an hour. Other class options include courses in Balboa, jazz and blues steps, along with Lindy Hop and Charleston sessions for those who have already completed their intro to swing. Whatever class you choose, you'll cut rugs with newly honed shoe-scissors to classic rockabilly, R&B, and other swing-era music. Beginners will quickly learn how to juke and flow around the room like turn-of-the-century dance machines with modern flair, while more advanced students may discover that they still have a thing or two to learn. Sign up with your special sidekick or recruit your clone for a weekly boost in energy, confidence, and foot workability.
Francisco Antonio Rodrigues da Silva⎯better known to his students as Mestre Fran⎯began his journey with Caopeira at age 10, studying the ancient dancelike martial art under a seasoned teacher in Sao Paolo. After years of learning the hypnotic rhythmic moves of Capoeira and studying the African dance rhythms of Macuele, Mestre Fran took his art to the streets of Londrina, Brazil, giving impoverished youth a positive outlet for their creative energies with public performances and classes. After developing a successful martial arts organization in his home country, Mestre Fran set out for the United States in 2002, introducing Americans to Caoperia through cultural shows throughout the Atlanta area and instructing newcomers through beginner, children's, and adult classes.
Like punching a portrait of your smug fruit bowl, capoeria combines both art and fighting. The practice develops the mind, body, and spirit by instilling self-confidence, building agility and strength, and teaching students about the vibrant culture of Brazil. Capoeiristas twist and bob to the rhythm of drums as they execute gymnastic kicks and turns, or they show off their newfound knowledge at the studio's Friday-night Samba, Macuele, and Portuguese language classes.
No one has ever trained for the lead in Swan Lake just to tighten their abs, but dancers, choreographers, and Atlanta Zumba Dance instructors Faaridah and Nahari both agree that it comes with the territory. That’s why they’ve channeled their experiences in the performing arts into a platform for dance-based fitness instruction. Faaridah was particularly drawn to Zumba because of her Caribbean and Hispanic heritage, and Nahari has been a student of Middle Eastern dances for nearly a decade, so their curriculum of Zumba and belly dancing was a natural fit.
Students can shed pounds and throw on their shiniest layer of sweat during Zumba classes, a 60-minute dance-based aerobic workout with easy-to-follow choreography performed to a soundtrack of Latin rhythms. The dance moves are an amalgam of styles that includes elements of salsa, cha-cha, merengue, flamenco, and tango. Classes at Atlanta Zumba Dance always begin with a warm-up, followed by intervals of faster and slower tempos. Visits conclude with a cool-down and stretch session. In addition to group classes, patrons may rent the studio for a private-lesson Zumba party or to spin around in an office chair without anyone telling them that they’ll get sick.
Asiya Khasnutdinova knows the dance world. As a five-time Latin dance champion in her native Russia and top-20 contestant on So You Think You Can Dance, she'd mastered the combination of artistry and strength needed to wow her crowds. However, she also knew it would take more than just dedication to own a dance and health club. So in order to realize this dream, she decided to partner with her mother, enlisting Svetlana Khasnutdinova's experience running her own medical practice.
The result? Valeo Dance Fitness Studio, where Asiya helps clients lose weight and have fun during dance-based cardio classes that incorporate elements of strength training, interval work, and resistance exercises. These ValeoFit 1000 workouts help clients burn up to 1,000 calories and tone their entire bodies through dance routines that may include weighted hula hoops, weights, and resistance bands. When muscles get weary after workouts, clients can also pick up a Valeo Beauty Bar, an all-natural skin care product designed by Svetlana to ease away pent-up toxins and bust stubborn cellulite.
The sounds of jazz, hip hop, and other contemporary genres fill the four large studios at Gotta Dance Atlanta's 9,000-square-foot facility. Instructors describe the dance and fitness center as a "home away from home" for dancers of all abilities, and it's not hard to see why. Beginners can learn how to cut a rug or mow a hardwood floor in "Explore" classes that require no prior knowledge of dance terminology. Even dancers who have already worked up to the professional level can find a class to match their style, be it salsa or ballet. Students of all abilities benefit from classes such as Awesome Abs and Cardio Hip-Hop, which use dance as a jumping-off point for fitness workouts that tone and shape the body.
Known for guiding the women of The Real Housewives of Atlanta through ab-strengthening moves, the instructors at the Nazeem Allayl Belly Dance Studio started as a professional dance troupe before opening a studio in 1999. Now with 32 classes offered under one roof, the Nazeem Allayl Belly Dance Studio aims to boost the self-confidence of its all-female students during drop-in Shimmy Fit classes and five-week technique courses. Instructors disguise calorie-blasting exercises with engaging choreography so that students can tone muscles without spending the day trying to slip an oiled-up pig into a wetsuit.