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.
Kelly Wood started her career with nothing but a vision. That, and a handful of boas. Toting a traveling pole, the single mother of four began to conduct private pole-dancing parties within the living rooms of local Charlotte women before opening up her own private studio, Pole Dance Charlotte. Today, Kelly's studio bustles with both aspiring students and seasoned pole-dancing instructors during classes throughout the week.
Exposed brick walls surround the forest of chrome poles that spring up from the studio's 1,500 square feet of warehouse style floors, from which instructors lead classes in both pole technique and pole fitness. They even offer onsite private or semiprivate lessons, where they set up their traveling poles in the comfort of a student's own home or spot in a particularly lengthy airport security line.
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.
Raised by a mother who believed in each person's innate artistic abilities, accomplished brush master Tina Steele Penn harnesses that sentiment, a lifelong love of art, and a fascination with color to guide others toward their inner Monets. Within her two studios, she crafts a welcoming atmosphere where artists of all skill levels can tap into their imaginations and unleash creativity and imprisoned winged dragons. Her classes and workshops encourage students to delve into media such as acrylic, watercolor, and oil paints, whereas her private sessions guide pupils toward their individual goals through one-on-one guidance.
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.