A childhood peppered with basketball, football, and volleyball couldn't keep Mary Murphy out of the ballroom after she was struck by the athleticism of the sport while watching a championship performance in her early twenties. She began to compete around the world, eventually slowing down enough to found Champion Ballroom Academy in 1990 and finally teaching there full-time in between stints on Fox's So You Think You Can Dance.
Mary has plucked like-minded instructors for her studio, some of whom created Core Rhythms, a Latin dance-based aerobics program. Many of the other teachers are competitive-dance champions or black belts in hula hoop. Aside from running a flourishing dance studio, Mary's palpable passion for the art form has also driven her to play a leading role in San Diego's Chance to Dance program, a curriculum that introduces school kids to the artistry and strength-building foundations of dance.
It's not unusual to walk into a studio at Aerial Revolution Entertainment and watch students unroll their yoga mats, take a few deep breaths, and climb a few feet into the air before stretching. The center's aerial yoga classes take advantage of aerial silks to enhance yoga poses, allowing playful and expressive routines led by owner Jessica Flores and her talented staff. Inside the studio, 3,000 square feet of space is dedicated to aerial arts such as the trapeze, lyra, and fighter jet piloting, and another 3,000 square feet of space hosts vinyasa yoga, Zumba, and bellydancing classes. Given the close quarters, the challenging and graceful movements of different disciplines are bound to overlap.
Since 1984, the studio’s experienced instructors have conveyed their ballroom skills to both beginner and seasoned students, including Dancing with the Stars’ Emmitt Smith. As the instructor team takes the reins during group and private classes, students learn the graceful moves and footwork for the cha cha, the waltz, salsa, swing, or other ballroom styles. The studio also offers a special wedding course that gets couples ready for their big days, enabling them to finally have a reason to be the center of attention at a wedding. Many of the studio’s dancers also train for national competitions, often under the leadership of studio director and championship dancer Raza Begg.
Eschewing the over-the-top costumes and writing that typify many other murder-mystery dinners, The Dinner Detective San Diego’s cast of improvisational actors blends in with audiences, holding secrets tight to their chests while steering each night’s tension-filled storyline. After a diner is found murdered, a resident detective helps lead the investigation, allowing guests to interrogate one another with Tickle Monster tactics to distinguish the culprit among the crowd of fellow diners and dissembling thespians. Multicourse meals keep bodies well fueled during spurts of crime-solving intuition, and a prize basket awaits the gumshoe who comes closest to solving the case.