Avoid the hustle and bustle and lack of individual attention at Infinity Aerial, a small fitness studio where creative workouts meet small class sizes and one-on-one attention from instructors, where Val Schrader and her staff teach attendees to fly at their own pace. With the help of hanging silks, students flow through aerial fitness classes that teach yoga or conditioning in the air, or participate in cardio kickboxing and fitness barre classes. Or pupils can learn the art of pole dance—as well as other fitness classes for men and women, such as Aerial Yoga, which uses a hammock to stretch the body, increasing flexibility, strength, endurance, and alignment.
Carlos Rubio of Salsamante says they aim to give their students the “confidence and skills to dance the salsa anywhere, anytime, and with anyone.” And that’s what they instill when they teach the seductive and graceful moves of salsa—confidence. They do that during private and group lessons for couples and individuals. Classes are designed for complete novices as well as veterans looking to shake the rust from their dancing feet.
As competitive ballroom dancers and coaches of the ballroom dance team at Ohio State University, Alex Thomas and Josh Tilford believe any person can reach their dance goals in the right program. Together, they own and run Dance Tonight, whose network includes group and private instruction of myriad dance styles such as waltz, tango, foxtrot, quickstep, and swing. Lessons can help even the slowest at foot become confident in their step as they absorb basic dance knowledge, prepare for special events, or escalate to amateur ballroom competitor status. The adult instruction is also supplemented by an extensive children's program, directed by professional instructor Danielle Moor.
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. Clients who arrive to lessons partnerless will be paired up with instructors, then other classmates as the instructors assess their current skill level and make recommendations on the most appropriate program. Throughout lessons, instructors teach the foundations of two to four dances from a long list of styles that range from Ballroom and social to salsa, helping students to learn basic step patterns, timing, and the ability to lead or follow.
You can hear heels click-clicking in time with the music during each group lesson at Fred Astaire studio. The same wood floor here transforms into a gathering place for the school’s dancers when the studio hosts its regular dance parties. On those nights, students come to practice the moves they learned in class, be they social or ballroom dancers. Instructors also teach private dance classes so you can brush up on moves before a wedding or perform jury duty as a mime.
When Carrie Rezabek Dorr launched her first Pure Barre studio in 2001, she didn't have a sign or a single client. Today, she rules a fitness empire with her scepter of choice: a wooden ballet barre. Informed by Carrie's background as a dancer and Pilates instructor, each workout brims with ballet-inspired stretches and small isometric movements designed to lengthen the limbs and sculpt the abs, thighs, and backside. Many sessions begin with light weightlifting, then progress to mat-bound ab work and barre-based bends. Though straightforward, the exercises are tougher than wrought-iron jerky, which has led a writer from Glamour to exclaim, "Holy nutcracker, I actually didn't know my legs could shake like this." In addition to helming all-level classes, seasoned instructors build low-impact exercise programs for new moms and lead retreats for students seeking fitness-themed getaways. An online boutique helps students tone and tighten at home, using tools such as weighted balls, resistance tubing, and DVDs starring Carrie herself.