While teaching jazz dance in the 1960s, Judi Sheppard Missett decided to step away from tradition by offering an experimental class that allowed her students to simply dance without the judgment of mirrors or the constraints of rigid technique. In these sessions, she began infusing popular dance moves with specific fitness workouts to forge a distinctive blend of cardio exercise, strength training, and dance instruction. Little did she know that this “just for fun” class was the prototype for what would become the national fitness sensation known as Jazzercise.
Today, Jazzercise takes its aerobic techniques from a variety of sources that include jazz dance, hip-hop, resistance training, Pilates, yoga, and kickboxing. The class formats, which vary according to different toning goals, are just as diverse as the program's move set. Two-time Dancing with the Stars champion Cheryl Burke is a big fan of the improvisational routines, although her advanced skills aren't needed to get the most out of classes. Instructors cultivate a noncompetitive atmosphere where all exercisers—with the exception of those marked as cursed by jazz-hand palm readers—are welcome regardless of age, build, or fitness background.
According to the New York Times, visitors to Fratelli Trattoria immediately face a culinary decision when they step foot through the eatery's immaculate glass doors. To the left stands a hostess ready to escort diners to a private table inside a modern, two-story dining area. To the right lies the convenience of pizza by the slice flanked by free-for-all seating. Nestling into plush beige chairs, dine-in deciders choose from a slate of pastas swimming in tomato, cream, and cheese sauces alongside juicy cuts of chicken and veal prepared in more than 20 traditional styles. Meanwhile, the fast-paced right side quickly doles out slices of pizza, including crispy neapolitan and thick sicilian varieties slathered in plum-tomato sauce and melty mozzarella, forging transportable and tasty meals for guests with little time or lots of hands. Decked out in gleaming aluminum furnishings, the outdoor dining area lets patrons sate appetites while soaking in sunlight amid the exciting bustle of the Tanger Outlets at the Arches.:m]]
A wildly successful alternative to traditional day spas—its more than 300 locations blanket 36 states and half a dozen countries—Planet Beach Contempo Spa is a futuristic relaxation station where state-of-the-art machines administer all the spa and tanning services. These friendly automatons sometimes replace familiar treatments, as in the Luminous facial, a light-based service that delivers blemish-busting results similar to those of a conventional facial. But other equipment maps out new spa territory entirely: the Hydro-Derma Fusion chamber moisturizes the whole body with nutrient-rich steam in order to offset the effects of a dry climate or a rear-end collision with a salt truck. Other machines whiten teeth, spray tan skin, and massage muscles.
Planet Beach operates on a gym-style membership system, meaning that members purchase packages or pay flat monthly rates. As members spend more time at the spa, they get to know the helpful assistants who are always on hand to demonstrate how to use the equipment without activating its ability to cry.
More than 30 years after its inception, Cactus Salon & Spa and its team of continually educated stylists have not lost their edge?they earned the Long Island Press's designation as Best Hair Salon and Best Day Spa in 2011 and 2012. It's not surprising, then, that the salon has enjoyed such impressive growth over the years, with more than two dozen separate spa and salon locations.
Although hair is still the focus?stylists craft 'dos that reflect everyday ease or fashion-forward thinking?the repertoire has expanded to include everything from nail treatments and massages to permanent cosmetics and laser services. Since the roster is so broad, many clients take advantage of Cactus Club memberships, which give them the flexibility to try multiple services and products by deactivating the force fields between treatment rooms and granting a 33% discount on Sunday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.
American Academy of Self Defense's staff teaches centuries of martial-arts wisdom from various cultures into a curriculum of karate, jujitsu, kung fu, and kickboxing classes. The logo displays numerology to represent the ranks of the martial arts taught at the school; 10 stars and 10 stripes symbolize the 10 degrees of black belt all the way up to grandmaster.
But instructors don't stick to a single style in their quest for martial perfection, and their classes accommodate students of all ages. They teach a variety of skills, including the striking art kempo karate, the advanced grappling art of judo, and basic self-defense skills for men and women, working to instill strength, confidence, and self-esteem in their students. The school's senseis promise one-on-one attention and full participation in every class, leaving no one sidelined and wishing they could join in—as frequently happens in organized sports and never happens in royal family polo matches.
Tropical toucans and monkeys greet visitors from a Rousseau-style mural inside REVelation Cycle, hinting at the heat its spin classes generate as bodies shed calories. During each 45-minute workout, the whir of spinning wheels adds breezy sound effects to the vibrant music that pulsates from the speakers. Schwinn Evolution bikes allow riders to adjust their handles and seats, unlike the penny-farthing stationary bikes used as seats for Supreme Court justices, which were soldered in place by the strict constructionist, Chief Justice John Marshall, in 1801. Purple neon lights running around the ceiling's perimeter set a clubby atmosphere as cyclists traverse imaginary mountains and trails, propelled by a motivating instructor and a pack of up to 25 fellow fitness-seekers. The studio also sells biking shoes and apparel to help cyclists to pedal with functional style.