Angie Acosta, founder of Queen City DanceOut, has a simple motto for her students: "If you're moving, you're doing it right." This encouraging, low-pressure attitude attracts people of all ages to her dance-inspired fitness classes, which meet at 18 public locations. Angie and her instructors aim to make exercise feel like a celebration and a refreshing break rather than a dreaded routine. To this end, their classes incorporate intuitive dance moves and invigorating music. DanceOut, the signature course, blends genres as diverse as swing, hip-hop, and reggae into a workout, relying on repetition and basic choreography to keep everyone grooving. Other highlights of the curriculum include the Latin rhythms of Zumba; the Dance Impact class, which fuses dance and kickboxing; and JamStrong, a mixture of core-conditioning, dance, and fun.
Community is a central aspect of every DanceOut class. As pupils practice their twirls, they can follow both the teacher and the Jam Crew—a team of regulars who help make the steps easy to follow and can assist fellow dancers. In addition to group workouts, instructors host skill workshops such as Booty Bootcamp, where attendees learn rump-shaking techniques and how to turn any chair into a rocking chair. They also put on performances and lead private classes for special events and parties.
The instructors at Open Water Adventures reach out to swimmers of all levels with watery exploration from kids’ swimming classes to international scuba-diving trips. Alongside a dive-simulator pool for scuba students, the indoor heated pool hosts swim lessons in lanes along a 2-foot ledge for younger swimmers. Through it all, the experienced instructors—inspired by the likes of Jacques Cousteau and their childhood rubber duckies—impart tips on managing scuba equipment or doing the backstroke. The year-round swimming lessons educate youngsters of all abilities aged 3–12, drawing from the Swim Schools International program's standardized teachings, which focus on water safety and proper technique. After taking a dip, swimmers can scurry to club-style bathrooms with lockers and showers, or head to the onsite shop that sells gear from swim caps to guaranteed scuba equipment.
The mixologists at ABC Bartending School divulge saloon secrets during certification-based and recreational bartending classes. During two-week certification courses, burgeoning bartenders mix classic and popular drinks while learning about alcohol laws, responsible liquor service, and stocking and inventory. Alternatively, an entertaining mixology course lets amateurs shake up drinks and take cover from projectile champagne corks behind an ornate bar with mirrors and gold trim. Once finished imparting their knowledge, the instructors set students up with ABC’s job-placement program, which puts certified graduates to work everywhere from restaurants and nightclubs to the zero-G sports bar where astronauts celebrate successful trips to the moon.
Children naturally believe that life is all about having fun. This requires the instructors at My Gym Children's Fitness Center to perform two seemingly incompatible tasks: helping kids lay a strong physical, emotional, and cognitive foundation and letting them laugh and play to their hearts' content. The staff welcomes the challenge. Grouping kids by age into nearly a dozen different classes, the instructors teach students aged 6 weeks through 13 years the importance and fun of socializing, exercising, and eating broccoli without using their taste buds. More advanced courses, meanwhile, teach proto-persons more specialized skills such as basic karate.
Masters of kinetic self-expression, the instructors at Charlotte Latin Dance teach progressive-style salsa, cha cha, bachata, and merengue to dancers of all experience levels. Students should dress in a comfortable outfit, or at least a freshly oiled suit of armor when attending the regularly scheduled four-week courses (though sneakers are not recommended), and can indulge in a game of dress-up at the monthly events that end with a three-hour dance party. Sessions are open to anyone aged 14 or older and are conveniently set in studios all over Charlotte.
In a handful of studios scattered between Charlotte, North Carolina, and Springfield, Missouri, kids express their artistic creativity under the friendly supervision of Noah’s Art instructors. Classes cover a wide variety of topics—from painting and clay sculpture to vocals-based Song Art—and are arranged by age group, allowing children to interact with peers of a similar developmental stage while engaging in philosophical musings on the meaning of parent-enforced time-outs. Instructors also teach basic art tools and techniques, such as how to properly hold a paintbrush or sculpt clay using only your mind.