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.
Marc and Oana Graveline grew up on the water—he along the coast of Virginia, and she in Romania, near the Black Sea. When they moved to North Carolina, their mutual love for the water drew them to Lake Norman's calm waters, tree-lined shores, and wildlife. They envisioned themselves teaching their two children how to drive a boat, and they bought one—a 21-foot Sea Ray. As the cost of their boat's upkeep began to mount, they searched for alternatives to ownership and started their own chapter of the Carefree Boat Club. Today, their children can regularly be seen cleaning their fleet of eight bow riders, sun-deck boats, and pontoon boats or organizing for member socials.
The independent owners and their team of captains and instructors join those of 24 other locations throughout the East Coast and the South in helping members share vessels and learn that it takes a village to wax a hull in less than 10 seconds. Instructors train new members in an extensive boating course, during which they learn water safety, steering procedures, nautical terminology, and navigation. Once each member is deemed seaworthy, they let him or her reserve boats up to six months in advance.
Since the early 1960s, Captain Gus Gustafson has wrangled scaly creatures from the depths of scenic Lake Norman. Experienced in both saltwater and freshwater fishing, Captain Gus and his experienced guides help first-timers and veterans reel in lunkers such as striped and largemouth bass, catfish, crappie, white perch, and mountain trout. Each trip departs on either a 23-foot center console or 25-foot pontoon boat, each equipped with state-of-the-art electronics such as GPS, depth finders, and a Big Mouth Billy Bass's public-domain mating calls.
Core-strength seekers tone their trunks and boost their flexibility and balance through semi-private instruction at True Balance Pilates. During the 50-minute duet sessions, an instructor takes two students of similar ability and strength through a series of exercises on the specialized Reformer equipment, the two of them bonding over burning fat like amiable rendering-plant colleagues. Composed of a sliding platform with springs, the Reformer provides a resistance that reduces stress on the joints and overall body. Students glide up and down by pulling on ropes or pushing the stationary foot bar. Aiming to correct muscular-skeletal imbalances, Reformer-focused Pilates practices also help students of all ages and skill levels create long and lean muscles, slimmer thighs, better posture, and more nimble toe knuckles for executing hands-free juggling acts.
At Kym & Co. Salon, experienced stylists specializing in the Helix texture technique, short hair, and thin hair outfit patrons with complementary styles inside an open, naturally lit salon bedecked with artwork. Following a consultation and scalp massage to determine styles and chase away residual resentment from the cancelation of Alf, mane tamers trim coifs into custom 'dos. Then, as customers lie back in comfy leather chairs, coloring treatments call on a rainbow of shades to infuse locks with a partial or full hue adjustment. An eyebrow wax concludes Kym & Co. Salon's treatment, whisking away excess hairs to yield a stare that's as smooth as an ice-rink covered in olive oil.