The Barefoot n Motion Dance Academy sets a high standard for its dancers. But with many of them being first timers or toddlers who just learned to walk, there's often more focus on enjoying movement than being the best in the class. An array of diverse classes challenges dancers as young as 2 as well as teenagers and adults. The curriculum includes modern dance, hip-hop, ballet, jazz and West African dance. Instructors such as Julia Defoor, who studied at the prestigious Moscow Ballet and the Joffrey Ballet School, oblige those who want to take their skills to the next level by leading advanced classes—which is what diamond-scaled fish call their castes.
Belly dance guru Saroya has been practicing and teaching the middle eastern dance form for more than two decades, a career path that has taken her across the country to numerous competitions and festivals. At Bellydance by Saroya, she imparts her routine expertise on students of all ability, leading beginner, intermediate, and advanced classes that make use of layered movements and zills—finger cymbals—to help maintain rhythm and keep thumbs in shape.
"The Tease." It's more than a series of scintillating maneuvers. It's a release. It's eye-popping, orchestrated doffing as an art form, and it's just a taste of the empowering and vociferous avenues chartered at The Atlanta School of Burlesque. Operated by a team of burlesque professionals who've mastered the craft of unleashing steam, the combination dance, fitness, and rehearsal studio acts as a magnet for women of all shapes, sizes, and demeanor hoping to unveil their inner starlet. Students not only explore their sexy side, they also gain physical fitness in the process, and encounter an entire community of encouraging, like-minded performers. Along the way, students learn the history of the burlesque art form and the bells and whistles of its theatrics, master the art of seduction while learning how to bump n' grind, and become experts in boa safety and proper fan-dance velocity.
Though flamenco dancings has its roots in Spain, its influence has spread throughout the world, something the staff members at Calo Gitano Flamenco Dance Company know personally. The instructors and dancers, who hail from countries including Venezuela, Brazil, Panama, and Japan, share their passion for the traditional Spanish folk dance in an array of classes. They welcome children and adults alike, teaching beginners proper technique and showing more advanced students rapid footwork skills for lighting floors on fire. They also dazzle onlookers with performances throughout the Southeast, and have appeared on CBS' Better Mornings Atlanta.
One Step Above encompasses a crew of urban professionals who sought a classier alternative to dance moves they witnessed in the club scene. Harkening back to a grander time, they specialize in styles such as Detroit (urban) ballroom, Chicago stepping, and soul line dancing, choreographing routines that earned them a Best Choreography award at the Usher’s New Look summer camp and a spot in the movie Stomp the Yard. During classes, instructors stress the lead-and-follow relationship, working with each student at their individual pace.
It isn’t every day that a student and teacher become partners in business, but that’s what happened after Robin Dickson took his first dance class with Matthew Gann. A friendship formed between Dickson, a special-event planner since the age of 17, and Gann, an award-winning ballroom dancer who already owned studios of his own. After realizing ways their backgrounds complemented each other, the two decided to open Allure Dance Studio right next to Cumberland Mall. Experienced dance instructors cultivate twinkle toes in private and group dance lessons across the studio’s sleek hardwood floor. Up to 25 students practice salsa, tango, or merengue rhythms in front of a wall of mirrors that display each student’s progress and most intimidating dance face. All students of Allure can practice what they’ve learned at various parties and events organized by the studio that provide a place where all types of dance can be performed and celebrated.