Many performers are already triple threats—experts in acting, singing, and dancing—but Emma Ridley decided to add one more line to her repertoire: fitness. At her alternative health studio, Goddess Fitness Dance, Emma and her instructors eschew the monotonous exercise regimens and carnivorous treadmills of traditional gyms, instead focusing on fun, flirty exercises such as sultry pole-dancing routines and belly-dancing classes—all infused with Emma’s passion for entertainment.
Though all the workouts still subscribe to the concept of repetitions in order to burn fat, Goddess Fitness Dance infuses each workout with an added element of fun. Studio classes teach specific moves that, with practice, can lend grace and allure to students’ dance routines, and the driving force behind every drill is always laughter, not grunts. "You don't need to be a pro to see the results," Emma remarks. "As long as you're moving, you're doing it right!"
Choreographer Richard Giorla's energizing ballet-barre workouts incinerate excess fat, elongate muscles, and tone hindquarters with dance-inspired, no-impact maneuvers. Each session incorporates full-body exercise and isolated movements to shape the muscles in the torso, arms, legs, and backside. The addition of light weights further sculpts limbs. Celebrities from Lucy Lawless to Dakota Fanning praise the nontraditional fitness regimen, and busy clients laud the studio's seven-day schedule.
Time 4 Class’s owner, Sandra Rieback, began dancing at age 7, but her career was cut short due to a debilitating back injury. Unable to keep away from the studio, she took matters into her own hands and got certified to teach fitness classes and work as a personal trainer. Shortly thereafter, Sandra opened her own studio, and she was once again immersed in the electrifying energy of group classes. Now, along with a team of instructors, Sandra leads classes for adults that range from cardio Zumba classes and yoga to boxing, boot camps, personal training, and nutrition counseling. Unlike those fitness classes that meet inside R-rated movies, kids can also join the fun with classes such as ballet, kids Zumba, and musical theater.
Arthur Murray Dance Studio has been a leading name in franchise dance since 1912, when the entrepreneur began selling mail-order dance lessons. Expanding his reach, he enlisted teachers to spread his signature dance lessons on first-class steamships and skyrocketed to fame in the '30s after introducing the public to such dances as the Lambeth Walk and the Big Apple. By the 1950s, Arthur and his wife, Kathryn, were hosting their own highly popular TV show on ABC, the Arthur Murray Dance Party, which ran for 12 years. Today, Arthur Murray's team prepares students for rug cutting at special events and weekend nightclub jaunts. Clients who arrive to lessons partnerless will be paired up with an instructor as the teachers assess their current skill level and make recommendations on the most appropriate program. Throughout lessons, instructors teach the foundations of two to four dances from a long list of styles that range from Latin to country-western, helping students to learn basic step patterns, timing, and the ability to lead or follow.
Rouhi Savoji emigrated to the U.S. in 1995 for more than just a change of scenery. She wanted to share her passion for belly dancing and Persian dance, which she first discovered in a dance club in her native Tehran at age 16 and would continue to refine through a heralded dance career that included performing for the Shah of Iran and acting in plays, movies, and television shows. Her globe-spanning experience is on full display at Rouhi Dance Studio, where she and her talented troupe of dance instructors teach classes that unlock styles including salsa, hip-hop, Zumba, country-western, Argentinean tango, belly dancing, and Persian dance for kids and adults. Her studio also houses a clothing boutique, where dancers can outfit themselves with shimmery costumes and sashes that can help them stand out on the dance floor or earn a boy-scout badge for improvised semaphore.
Woodland Hills Athletic Club's enthusiastic trainers strive to cultivate a friendly atmosphere in which patrons can reach their fitness goals and achieve healthy lifestyles. Patrons pump up their muscles with free weights and boost their endurance on cardio equipment, including Star Trac elliptical machines, treadmills, and stationary bikes with mounted TVs. The clean facility also features a spinning room with Spinner NXT bikes and a fitness room packed with physio balls and punching bags that peevishly throw out insults about your mother. A team of fitness instructors motivates and monitors movements during personal-training sessions—helping patrons get fit with one-on-one exercise and nutrition tips—and a bevy of standard, cycling, and premium classes, which require an additional fee. After exercisers break a sweat, glassfuls of replenishing concoctions await them at the juice-and-smoothie bar.