At American Fighter MMA Academy, instructors integrate modern fighting philosophies while abiding by the ancient bushido code of the samurai. Training students aged 4 and up, instructors specialize in the teaching of ryukyu kempo pressure-point self-defense and Brazilian jiu-jitsu submission. Classes help mold and hone balance, hand-eye coordination, focus, and self-control in students and teach trainees to count to 10 in Japanese and dream in Bruce Lee fight montages. Cardio-heavy Les Mills BODYCOMBAT classes aim to get hearts racing all while toning muscle and improving self-confidence.
Starting in 1998 in the Philadelphia suburbs, the women behind Art of Exotic Dancing have strutted and hip-rolled their way to the forefront of a surge of interest in fun, sensual movement. Dedicated to fostering a comfortable space where all participants feel safe, the certified instructors proffer encouragement and reassurance as they teach dances that emphasize self-expression, personal power, and natural movement. Women learn to dance to a full song during the 90-minute CoreMoves class, while the Signature Workshop fortifies confidence via flirtatious techniques such as sensual walking and slow-motion winking.
The crew at Sangha Space connect students to each other and the community through the art of movement. As the instructors lead classes, lively rhythms, bluesy swing tunes, and the names of ancient yoga poses echo throughout the spacious dance hall, bouncing off the exposed beams on the vaulted ceilings and ricocheting into a welcoming fireplace. Visitors peering over the second-story balcony may spy Lori Coyle and her husband Eran Magen demonstrating the passionate steps of the Argentine tango that they've been perfecting since the night they met. Sangha's dance workshops and classes don’t require a partner, and regular social events let students practice new moves, make new friends, and wear down the dangerously sharp point of their new dancing heels. In addition to other dance and cultural classes led by visiting teachers, yoga instructors Pamela and Emily stop by several times a week to conduct yoga sessions focused on proper movement and form for beginner or advanced practitioners. They supplement their practical knowledge of body mechanics with spiritual advice shared through metaphors connected to each yoga technique.
Najia has inspired audiences with her sensual Middle Eastern dance in Egypt and Jordan, as well as in restaurants, nightclubs, and Pearl Jam’s preshow. Building her diverse dancing resumé, she pilgrimages to the Middle East for two or three months each year to continue researching dances, garner inspiration for her Philadelphia Bellydance company, and make her passport more colorful. She calls upon all of her twirling know-how to lead series of four weekly classes, in which students learn to shimmy, hip drop, and send veils fluttering through the air or weave together basic moves for complex choreography. On the fifth week after class sessions, students meet for a confidence-inspiring Goddess Night that awakens inner beauty through dance workshops, vegan treats, and performances as guests mingle bedecked in veils, gems, and outer adornment.