Francisco Antonio Rodrigues da Silva⎯better known to his students as Mestre Fran⎯began his journey with Caopeira at age 10, studying the ancient dancelike martial art under a seasoned teacher in Sao Paolo. After years of learning the hypnotic rhythmic moves of Capoeira and studying the African dance rhythms of Macuele, Mestre Fran took his art to the streets of Londrina, Brazil, giving impoverished youth a positive outlet for their creative energies with public performances and classes. After developing a successful martial arts organization in his home country, Mestre Fran set out for the United States in 2002, introducing Americans to Caoperia through cultural shows throughout the Atlanta area and instructing newcomers through beginner, children's, and adult classes.
Like punching a portrait of your smug fruit bowl, capoeria combines both art and fighting. The practice develops the mind, body, and spirit by instilling self-confidence, building agility and strength, and teaching students about the vibrant culture of Brazil. Capoeiristas twist and bob to the rhythm of drums as they execute gymnastic kicks and turns, or they show off their newfound knowledge at the studio's Friday-night Samba, Macuele, and Portuguese language classes.
For beginning suitors to the zoot, try the Swingin' From Scratch course, with upcoming sessions from May 5-26 (on Wednesday evenings) and June 7-28 (on Monday evenings) at Firefly Studio in Decatur. Learn how to move from certifiably passionate swingers (of the dance variety) as they lead novice feet around the room for an hour. Other class options include courses in Balboa, jazz and blues steps, along with Lindy Hop and Charleston sessions for those who have already completed their intro to swing. Whatever class you choose, you'll cut rugs with newly honed shoe-scissors to classic rockabilly, R&B, and other swing-era music. Beginners will quickly learn how to juke and flow around the room like turn-of-the-century dance machines with modern flair, while more advanced students may discover that they still have a thing or two to learn. Sign up with your special sidekick or recruit your clone for a weekly boost in energy, confidence, and foot workability.
Known for guiding the women of The Real Housewives of Atlanta through ab-strengthening moves, the instructors at the Nazeem Allayl Belly Dance Studio started as a professional dance troupe before opening a studio in 1999. Now with 32 classes offered under one roof, the Nazeem Allayl Belly Dance Studio aims to boost the self-confidence of its all-female students during drop-in Shimmy Fit classes and five-week technique courses. Instructors combine their calorie-blasting exercises with engaging choreography to help students tone muscles.
Dance 411 Studios' instructors pause from stints as featured dancers in Justin Bieber music videos and on MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew to helm the studio’s range of dance classes. The schedule aims to incorporate something for everyone, from the youthful whimsy of children's tumbling classes to the practical firefighting experience of adult pole dancing. Vibrant orange and red walls add energy to the individual studios, and expansive windows reflect off gleaming hardwood floors that echo stomps of students and shadows trying to keep up.
Twist, jive, and step into shape with two classes at Dance 101. This 10,000-square-foot dance warehouse is the largest adult-only dance studio in the country, offering more than 120 classes weekly to more than 12,000 students. Dance 101’s 40-some instructors teach genres across the spectrum to everyone from beginners to professionals. And catering exclusively to adults also means stressed parents can take a break from listening to those inescapable Duckbuddies CDs. Take a stab at A-Town Funk, Afro Lyrical Fusion, Clubbin 101, or Ballet Kinetics. Or try out one of Dance 101’s 11 new classes launching August 23, like Cardio Belly Dance or Body Blast. All classes are drop-in, giving you the flexibility to dance whenever you like without the hassle of a scheduled commitment. Like the Duckbuddies say, "Show up, and get down!"