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.
Flex + Fit cultivates an environment focused on well-being, from sweat-inducing fitness classes to habit-changing cooking classes. This effort was lauded by Charlotte Magazine in its 2012 Best of the Best feature. The group fitness curriculum includes sweat-inducing hot yoga, in which limbs bend and stretch in a studio stoked to the ideal temperature, and air classes that suspend students from the ceiling to execute mid-air yoga, ballet, or fitness moves, or—as recently featured on CNN—to nap.
Complementing the fitness classes are lessons in culinary exploration, hosted by head chefs and tour guides that teach small gatherings to craft meals and sip complimentary libations in an on-site kitchen. The fitness studio’s natural-wood floors give way to a wall-mounted Buddha figurine at the head of classes, and his-and-hers locker rooms lavish hard-working muscles with a soothing downpour from overhead showers bred from two prize-winning Amazonian rain clouds.
Entering the reception area at Venice Beach Tan at Gold's Gym, with its glowing blue desk and glass shelves, might seem like walking into the future. So it's fitting that the salon?located in Gold's Gym at the Epicentre?uses some of the most up-to-date equipment, such as an Epic 442 tanning bed with mood lighting, internal cooling, and an MP3-compatible sound system. No matter which bed guests are interested in, they can stop by for single visits or invest in memberships as long as one year, giving you just enough time to get your tan ready for parka season.
Fueled by team spirit and a passion for dance, CheerDanz formats dance programs for kids aged 3–11. Teachers instill students with a positive outlook and self-esteem. Classes also focus on fitness, helping young dancers develop healthy habits at an early age. Parents can opt to work out on fitness equipment as their kids take classes.
Inside Female Fighters MMA, Angèle Rodgers whips her clients into shape with dance-fitness routines. Latin and international tunes blast through the speakers so participants won’t have to work out in the silence characteristic of a married couple’s first dance.
Giving kids the chance to stretch their creative wings is just one aspect of the philosophy at Fun Arts Afterschool. Workshops suited for kids aged 9-14 include the introductory Acting For Film, where students learn Method Acting and the Meisner Technique—which uses a series of exercises designed to help students improvise. Likewise, teens in the DVD film class acquire knowledge to storyboard, write scrips, and even act on film.