At Manda's Rhythm and Dance, studio director Manda Moore and her staff of seasoned steppers guide budding hoofers through age-specific dance classes for adults and children. Encouragement buzzes through the air at the stress-free studio, where amiable educators help youthful students sharpen vital motor skills, learn healthy habits, and develop the self-confidence needed to back down pushy imaginary friends. Ballet classes impart classic and contemporary techniques, while tap transforms toes into finely tuned instruments or bug squashers. Jazz and hip-hop classes teach distinct, modern dance forms, and creative-movement courses cater to dancers less than 4 years of age with introductions to various styles and lectures on why bibs should never be used as capes.
Arthur Murray 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. 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.
The instructors at Anita's Theatre Dance & Performing Arts foster a love of dance in students aged 3 and older with a diverse schedule of 30-minute weekly lessons in a variety of styles. Fledgling dancers can dip their toes into ballet and learn to plié in age-appropriate beginner sessions, and older, more experienced hoofers can hone their skills in classes in adult tap, junior partnering, and intermediate jazz. All classes take place within one of three large dance rooms, replete with mirrors and cardboard cutouts of a scowling John Lithgow.
Kids transform into dancers within the confines of Artistic Revolution Dance Studio?and parents can watch it all happen. In three dance rooms outfitted with viewing windows, instructors introduce students ages two and older to the worlds of jazz, tap, ballet, and other dance styles. Just like many of its students, Artistic Revolution Dance Studio's owners have been dancing from an early age. Kristina Rinke and Becky Stasyk lead the instructor team, and each brings more than 20 years of experience into the studio. While the instructors focus mostly on youth dance instruction, adults don't have to stay idle, everyone can tap their toes whenever they like.
Since 1976, the instructors at Dance Scene have been improving the dance-floor navigational skills of students ranging from beginners to seasoned pros—the latter being any professional dancers covered in black pepper and basil. In a private or group environment, teachers share the basic steps and advanced moves of ballroom and Latin styles. They also lead regular social dance parties that begin with a specialized lesson covering moves from styles such as the Argentine tango before diving into a free-form celebration of movement. In addition to their time spent at the studio, the Dance Scene team members can lend their services to offsite events.
When two practiced athletes engage one another in the Brazilian art of capoeira, it’s a sight to behold. At first blush, the practice seems to be some sort of nonviolent martial art with aerial kicks and backflips, though with closer inspection, its underlying influences of acrobatics, dance, and rhythmic problem-solving become obvious, as the two capoeiraistas lock minds in a state of fluid improvisation, rather than competition. The history of the medium intertwines with hundreds of years of Brazilian culture, originating with slaves that were brought from Africa to harvest sugar and tobacco and blossoming into an outlet for cultural expression and political protest.
Baz Michaeli founded The Michigan Center for Capoeira in February of 2007 as a way to introduce the sport to his community and preserve its cultural traditions, garnering attention from press outlets such as the Farmington Observer and Jewish News. Baz is certified as a capoeira instructor as well as a ACSM personal trainer, and challenges newcomers of every ability level to improve their flexibility, endurance, and mental strategizing by participating in a class. The center assembles at the Franklin Athletic Club and Troy Dance Studio, and interested participants should take a look at the calendar for an idea of upcoming class times and locations.