At Lauridsen Ballet Centre, the well-timed tinkling of piano keys accompanies each leap and plié. Live musical accompaniment is just one of the ways in which the school's professional instructors, led by artistic director Diane Lauridsen, preserve the classical traditions of their art. They maintain a careful balance between encouraging attitudes and rigorous lessons, cultivating physical poise at the same time as mental focus.
Classes for ages three and up accommodate all skill levels, from beginner to pre-professional, and performances through the non-profit South Bay Ballet company showcase students' skills. Though they consider much of their choreography timeless, the staff does not neglect advances in the science of dance—they incorporate current discoveries in the fields of anatomy and movement to enhance both children's and adult classes. Their summer camp intensive also helps attendees to achieve new levels of grace and balance.
Arthur Murray Dance Studio 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 an instructor as the teachers 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 Latin to country-western, helping students to learn basic step patterns, timing, and the ability to lead or follow.
Professional music instruction will teach you how a proper flute trill can summon magical imps to do your bidding, and if you're lucky enough to discover the mythic H-note, the magical imps will clean your inner ear canal for optimum resonance. Once a week for four weeks, you'll meet with one of the experienced instructors at The Music Factory, a school that prides itself on its roster of experienced, professional musicians. The school itself both contains and resembles a recording studio, with vibrant red walls and minimal furnishings that allow the instruments to take center stage. Teachers and advisors include members and past members of bands such as the Carpenters, the Motels, Something Corporate, Face to Face, and Rufio.
At Ruby Karen Project, founder Ruby Karen uses dynamic choreography and acrobatic skills that earned her an appearance on So You Think You Can Dance to create classes that fuse aerial arts, dance, and fitness techniques. Her staff of trained instructors lead children and adults through exhilarating sessions that incorporate a variety of equipment, including silks, flying poles, and trapeze. Clients develop strength, balance, and coordination?not to mention defined arm muscles?as they learn aerial movements and techniques for defying gravity. From ballet barre workouts to hammock-assisted aerial yoga to any of the other classes offered at the studio, safety is always put first as instructors guide students through every new skill. Being a mobile performing arts school grants the Ruby Karen Project the freedom to set up classes in new locations, bringing aerial classes to more people and maybe, one day, mermaids confined to the beach.