The passionate, experienced instructors at Tonawanda Dance Arts, which houses two air-conditioned studios, transform pint-size fumblers of any skill level into prima ballerinas with a bevy of enriching classes. Dancers can choose from a blossoming assortment of styles, opting for the rigorous-yet-graceful ballet, the passionate and expressive lyrical, or the stoic and dignified standing still. Hosts of classes populate Tonawanda’s busy schedule, allowing budding Fred Astaires to express themselves in myriad manifestations.
The skilled instructors at Tango Cafe Dance Studio train bipedal pupils of all levels in salsa, ballroom, and Argentine tango. Over the five weekly sessions offered in the salsa discipline (a $50 value), Kerri Vaughn, Ruben Fuentes, and Darin Price will immerse students in their choice of style, such as Cuban and Puerto Rican club style, NY/LA style, and Rueda de Casino. Students are placed in a Level 1, 2, or 3 class depending on swivel experience; as they master the rhythm and their hips learn how to roll their r's, students will learn to both lead and follow dance partners, perform increasingly complex turns, and pull off scintillating combinations. Alternately, the ballroom sampler enrolls feet in six Saturday afternoon classes that cover six of the most popular toe-tapping dances, including the foxtrot, waltz, and cha cha. Meanwhile, the Argentine tango course, taught by Joffrey School of Ballet–trained Diana Kelly, introduces students to several types of Argentine tango, including salon, nuevo, and performance on Thursdays at 7:45 p.m. All the while, Tango Café's convenient online schedule lets dancers coordinate class times with the cat's clarinet lessons.
Christine Fendley, founder of Park Avenue Dance Company, became something of a renaissance woman in the world of dance and eventually moved into choreography, raking in a slew of grants from the likes of the New York State Council on the Arts and the Wulitzer Foundation. Alongside the practical experience, Christine has taught children, teens, and adults the graceful art for more than 40 years.
At Park Avenue Dance Company, she leads a troupe of experienced dancers that has been delighting audiences for more than 35 years, performing abstract contemporary movement and the occasional knock-knock joke. The company frequently takes the stage in collaboration with other affluent members of Toronto’s artistic community, including Just Poets and ArtisanWORKS.
Fendley and her team of instructors also teach adults and children of all abilities to perform contemporary, jazz, and barre moves. Their story dance and dance-creation classes teach little ones the joy of dance through lessons in rhythm, improvisation, and classical technique. They also help older students get in shape with Pilates, yoga, and dance-fitness classes.
Established in 1982 at a 300-square-foot facility, Center Stage Dance Studio has since widened its walls to include 7,500 square feet of dance rooms and classes that build both rhythm and confidence. Owner and professional dancer Annette Osinski,patrols Center Stage's four studios to helpfully spectate as feet prance atop cushion-suspended floors and limbs stretch across ballet barres. Instructors verse students in such boogying schools as tap, Zumba, hip-hop, and acro—a blend of classical maneuvers and acrobatics featured in Cirque du Soleil performances and many pro-wrestling cage matches. The experienced staff keeps ears attuned to the dance world's pulse by attending various conferences and returning with innovative maneuvers. With courses for guests of all ages and beat-keeping abilities, Center Stage favors communal encouragement over competition, pushing students toward individual goals with personal, positive attention to their form. Scheduled recitals for charities, including the Cerebral Palsy Foundation and the Children's Hospital Telethon, acquaint dancers with the sensation of being on stage while contributing to worthy causes.
Ballroom Dance Center Illiana's instructors welcome inexperienced dancers to 45-minute newcomer classes where they explain how to execute displays of fancy footwork in a variety of styles. Students shake their legs and hips while following Latin-inspired forms of social rug-cuttery, such as the rumba or cha-cha. Fast-paced salsa lessons teach traditional Cuban and Dominican moves that can be put to use in dance clubs or Twister tournaments. Dancers have fun trying to keep up with playful swing choreography and embrace passion when striding through romantic tangos. Private lessons encourage couples to get closer together while studying their choice of dance style, which they can then use to strut circles around classmates in a group session.
At Pole Play Dance Studio, students flip, twirl, and slide along poles as they learn the cardio-boosting and sensual art of pole dancing. A succession of classes cover topics ranging from stretch techniques and strength training to 1960s-style go-go dancing and incorporating hula hoops. The studio also hosts regular themed workshops and bachelorette parties, in which the bride and her friends learn to perform a group dance on multiple poles in case they're ever bored and stranded in a bamboo forest.
Ilya's Bellydance & Henna Studio teaches the fine art of tummy undulation and hip-and-shoulder shimmying to abdomens anxious to shuffle their metaphorical belly feet. Eager rug-cutters can strive to improve their poise and self-confidence in a standard belly-dancing, burlesque, or Bollywood workshop. An expert audience mesmerizer instructs on navel-oriented movement techniques, including the classic bellybutton ripple that displays agility and removes any abdomen-attached forest creatures.