Though Marilyn Scavo is more than secure behind the camera, it’s her job to make clients comfortable in front of it. That’s why she goes to great pains to foster a convivial, positive environment during boudoir photo shoots where women can relax and have fun while flaunting their sensuality. Luckily, the shutterbug has the chops to pull it off with her 23 combined years of photography and teaching experience. Since she’s versed in Photoshop, Marilyn expertly retouches photos, and can package images on a CD or in an album, which will give a client’s bunkmate a much more stimulating picture book to read before bed than Curious George Renews His License at the DMV.
In 2001, dancer Carrie Rezabek Dorr invited exercisers to join her in ballet-based workouts. Held in the basement of an office building without a staff, a sign outside, or even a bathroom, Carrie transformed her small business into a national franchise with locations in 33 states. Her Pure Barre system helps sculpt long, lean muscles. Using a ballet barre and isometric movements, the exercisers drastically shape areas such as the abs, hips, arms, and butt.
The consortium of professional instructors at Fred Astaire Dance Studios, which was cofounded by the legendary toe tapper himself, shepherds students of all ages and skill levels through lessons that span the style spectrum. Low-pressure private sessions allow enthusiastic teachers to fine-tune individual students' techniques and form, using their expert eyes and mechanical dancing shoes preprogrammed to do the Charleston. Patrons can learn how to cavort through classic waltz and fox-trot romps or swivel through the modern steps of salsa, swing, or samba. For dancers hoping to hoof it up in a social setting, the group practice parties provide a one-night extravaganza of instruction, demonstrations, and amateur firewalking.
Haus of Angels Fitness prides itself on turning a sassy hobby into a fun workout routine. In addition to the safe and seamless execution of pole-based tricks, the studio's instructors teach chair-dancing and floor routines and moves that use aerial hoops and silks. They also offer on-location lessons for ladies celebrating a bachelorette or birthday party or flags who are bored at work.
On the surface, Susan Hilferty appeared to be living the American dream—a promising position as a pharmaceutical rep, plus an upcoming marriage. But for a woman who grew up studying at The School of American Ballet and dancing on stages including Lincoln Center, selling pills felt empty at times, and Hilferty found her need for physical expression growing stronger. While visiting a friend in Los Angeles, she took her first pole-dancing class, and almost immediately, her life took a new direction.
Though she faced resistance from friends and family, Hilferty saw in her classes how pole dancing transformed women—giving them new confidence, encouraging them to overcome insecurities, and helping them heal from past traumas. She called off her wedding, continued taking classes, and eventually opened Pole Fitness Miami. Today, she and her team of trained ballerinas lead pole-dancing and dance-based fitness classes at two locations. Ranked on CBS Local Miami's list of Best Places For Unique Workouts, the boutique surrounds saunterers with purple walls, subdued lighting, and gauzy curtains to create a sultry atmosphere. Additionally, Hilferty and her crew help students obtain pole-dance certifications, as well as arrange pole-dance parties so groups of damsels can strengthen their bonds or celebrate becoming volunteer firefighters.
Tibetan Buddhist and Taoist Master Chufei Tsai presides over Zen Village, a multifaith spiritual center. Eastern philosophy is the root for ancient practices—such as yoga and mindful meditation—which can foster physical and spiritual well-being in the modern world. This two-pronged approach to wellness reflects Tsai’s background: A trained nurse, she also has traveled the world studying centuries-old philosophies and has taught more than six thousand students.
Zen Village’s courses cover yoga styles ranging from Vinyasa, a flowing style that synchronizes breathing with poses, to Tibetan healing yoga, which aims to balance the seven chakras. The eclectic catalog also includes introductions to the tenets of Buddhism, the basics of Zen living, and the art of brewing tea from Asia. The courses allow students to intake prosperity and evolve with a healthy lifestyle.