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.
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.
Ten minutes from the bustle of Atlanta, hummingbirds and dragonflies buzz around gardens, and horses crunch leaves under their hooves as they amble down dirt-covered trails leading to a private pond. Fruition Farm beckons visitors to relax at this idyllic refuge, whether by swaying on the porch swing with a book in hand or trapping sleepy friends in a hammock draped between two trees.
Communing with nature is reflected in the farm's approach to horseback riding—natural horsemanship, which fosters a special rapport between equestrians and steeds based on respect and trust, motivating horses to obey commands without riders threatening to expose their secret pasts as cows. This philosophy encompasses all activities at Fruition, from lessons and camps to weekend retreats and creative excursions such as moonlight rides and Tea on Tuesdays, which pairs laid-back rides with a catered lunch at the farmhouse.
The golfing gurus at Edwin Watts Golf Academy diagnose and correct their students' poor swing and putting habits in an effort to help them improve their shots and lower their scores. In one-on-one swing-analysis sessions, students learn a repeatable swing that eliminates tendencies they may have to slice, hook, push, or pull the ball. A special laser attaches to the end of the player's club and tracks the swing path while JC Video swing-analysis software records the session from two separate angles, lest analysis be thrown off by only looking at the golfer’s good side. Putting analysis employs Tomi technology to measure eight separate parameters of the putting stroke, from clubhead orientation at address to swing path and tempo. After swing and putting lessons, students may access the recordings on a password-protected website, so they can forward videos to friends or sports-documentary filmmakers.
With locations in Midtown and Duluth, the Ballroom Dance Clubs of Atlanta teaches aspiring ballroom kings and queens how to confidently execute such staples as traditional waltz, foxtrot, salsa, and swing. A cast of instructors brings years of experience to the dance floor as they shepherd their charges through rug-cutting private and group lessons, dissipating patrons’ nervousness with a cheerful demeanor and constant reassurance that their high-school crushes aren't watching. The studios' weekly parties give students the chance to mingle with their peers and practice freshly learned techniques in a laid-back environment.