Few professionals can credit Flashdance with rerouting the course of their career. In fact, Richard Giorla could be the only one. The unconventional dance moves he saw in the film motivated the former Pennsylvania Ballet Company member to hit the streets of his new home, Manhattan, and learn breakdancing from dancers at the heart of the movement, trading his own dance expertise as payment. Richard’s career was in full swing when, struck with an injury, he started teaching a ballet-barre class. Though he appreciated its stretching and toning components, Richard craved a more aerobic workout. So he created his own solution—Cardio Barre. The unique workout consists of high-energy, zero-impact movements that sculpt the long, slender body of a dancer without a student ever having to step foot in a traditional dance studio. As they balance on the ballet barre, or whichever classmate is closest, pupils direct all their focus to one muscle group at a time, while the entire body stays in motion for maximum fat burning. His approach’s pudge-busting abilities have made the fitness method a favorite of many health magazines and celebrities Allyson and Rob Carrier have always dreamed of owning their own business— so when Allyson started taking Cardio Barre classes, Rob took note as he saw her body change and heard her talk about how great she felt because of the class. When they moved to Costa Mesa in 2010, they decided to bring Cardio Barre to Orange County with their own studio.
Sheila Kelly S Factor New York's empowering fitness philosophy encourages women of all ages, shapes, and sizes to celebrate their bodies and express their femininity through invigorating pole-dancing classes. Hollywood actress, classically trained dancer, and S Factor founder Shelia Kelley began her career in sensual fitness while preparing for a movie role which required her to hone striptease and pole-dancing skills. Quickly recognizing the physical and emotional benefits of performing these slinky, strengthening movements, Kelley devised a routine that merged ballet, yoga, and Pilates with her new choreography and set out to share the workout with women across the country. In the process, Kelley and her pole-fitness technique have acquired celebrity students such as Eva Longoria, Amy Adams, and the flagpole outside Grand Central Station, as well as features in People magazine and Time Out New York.
Before yoga was a household activity and people meditated to guard their minds from computers' thought-control beams, Yoga Center of California was already teaching students a rigidly traditional yet relaxed approach to yoga. Within the center—established more than four decades ago—instructors who have all trained for at least five years under internationally renowned guru Ramakrishna Ananda demonstrate time-honored poses and emphasize meditation techniques from each yogic style to help students find the technique that suits them best. These professors of flexibility also guard pupils against strain as they find each group's comfort zone, showing them how to relax a pose and modify positions to match skill levels. In each class, such as Hatha, Chinese, or prenatal yoga, two instructors introduce the philosophy of yoga while training participants in asanas and meditation. Yoga Center of California also teaches children in specialized classes.
Filled with radiant heat and eco-friendly furnishings, Ra Yoga's quartet of practice spaces emanates warmth, calm, and a pervasive sense of well-being. Here, a team of instructors leads more than a dozen classes designed to strengthen the body and center the mind. They offer a range of different yoga styles—including restorative Yin, flow-centric Vinyasa, and more rigorous hot yoga flow—with and without added heat meant to foster detoxification and keep out nosey penguins. They also helm Little Ra-Scals classes to help youngsters aged 4 to 13 cultivate concentration, motor skills, and a lifelong love of whimsy during an hour of playful poses.
To melt any remaining stress after class, students may unwind in the studio's showers or socialize in its cozy lounge. Parents may also leave kids aged 6 months to 9 years in the care of an experienced babysitter during most of the studio's midmorning classes.
The instructors of Pole Fitness Xpress distinguish themselves by teaching the V-Fit system, their own brand of pole-dance fitness that integrates the sensuality of Venezuelan rhythms into calorie-burning moves. Hosted at Dance Asylum, classes lead ladies of all fitness levels and dance abilities through floor and pole routines that build strength, endurance, and coordination. Beyond using V-Fit to help women attain more sculpted physiques, instructors strive to leave students feeling better about themselves and more confident in their physical expression.
Pole Fitness Xpress’ dance-based trainers also lead the MommyFit program, which helps new moms get their mojo back in a private, supportive atmosphere. Additionally, the staff coordinates pole-dancing parties to enliven special events such as bachelorette nights and pancake breakfasts.
At the end of a fruitful career that led her from the Cincinnati Ballet to the Sacramento Ballet, Jennifer Williams funneled her dance savvy into creating the barre-inspired exercise system taught at Pop Physique, a 2013 CityVoter finalist for Best Gym. Her fleet of handpicked and personally trained instructors pairs graceful ballet moves with other low-impact exercises in order to chisel cores without injuring muscles. Deep stretches further preserve tendons and leave each student more relaxed than a tortoise moseying past a state patrolman with a radar gun. Sessions run multiple times a day, seven days a week at an expanding network of SoCal locations. The roomy studios are lined with sprung dance floors and design accents that lend each location a distinct personality and a chance to forget its past as a storage room for defective food processors.