Arthur Murray Dance Studio has been a leading name in franchise dance since 1912, when the entrepreneur began selling mail-order dance lessons. Expanding his reach, he enlisted teachers to spread his signature dance lessons on first-class steamships and skyrocketed to fame in the '30s after introducing the public to such dances as the Lambeth Walk and the Big Apple. By the 1950s, Arthur and his wife, Kathryn, were hosting their own highly popular TV show on ABC, the Arthur Murray Dance Party, which ran for 12 years. Today, Arthur Murray's team prepares students for rug cutting at special events and weekend nightclub jaunts. Clients who arrive to lessons partnerless will be paired up with other classmates as the instructors assess their current skill level and make recommendations on the most appropriate program. Throughout lessons, instructors teach the foundations of two to four dances from a long list of styles that range from Latin to country-western, helping students to learn basic step patterns, timing, and the ability to lead or follow.
The studio fills with the pitter-patter of little feet; only those feet are pitter-pattering with grace and rhythm. At B*Dazzled Dancers, enthusiastic instructors guide students aged 3 and older through dance classes that build coordination and fitness. Classes run the gamut from jazz and tap to tumbling, hip-hop, and ballet. Adults can also take many of these classes, as well as fitness dance classes that boost athletic ability and endurance.
Deemed 2012's Best Dance Troupe in East Bay by Diablo magazine, Diablo Ballet's 10 international dancers have enthralled audiences of all ages with live performances since 1993. During contemporary and classical ballets, the performers call upon their experience pirouetting with prestigious dance companies––including the Bavarian National Ballet, Venezuela’s Ballet de Caracas, and the Colorado Ballet––to execute precise footwork to an array of musical compositions. In its free time, Diablo Ballet exposes youngsters to the arts by switching fast-food toys with Rothko paintings and participating in the PEEK Youth Outreach Program, which brings art education to more than 5,000 elementary-school students in Contra Costa County.
East County Performing Arts Center's university-trained educators mentor students ages 2 and up on the finer points of ballet, hip-hop, jazz, and other styles. Two- and 3-year-olds can combat the antidancing establishment during a 45-minute Boogie Babies class, combining elements of tap, ballet, tumbling, and play. Parents or visiting dignitaries can wave to young ones through either location's viewing window, putting anxieties at ease while muffling the sounds of spectator bullhorns. Older toe tappers can explore a variety of styles, including hip-hop, contemporary, or jazz, in which students will master choreography and traverse the floor through movement progressions. Groupon holders can experience the thrill of synchronized motion without trying to keep up with a flock of migrating birds during a Dance for Cheer class, which incorporates jazz, hip-hop, and poms.
Drop into hip-hop (Tuesday, 8–9 p.m.) to energize your stale disco moves; materialize in tap (Wednesday, 7–8 p.m.) to invigorate your toes with rhythm; dance and shake off the calories, Latin-style, with Zumba (Thursday, 8–9 p.m.); or open up a can of grace with ballet (Saturday, 12–1 p.m.). With five gleaming studios and a full squad of certified dance instructors breaking the beat together under a single roof, this much dance has not been gathered in one place since the release of YouTube as a DVD box set. The drop-in classes are designed to accommodate dancers of all skill and experience levels. The small class size ensures the type of personal attention formerly only children longed for upon the arrival of a newborn baby brother. Sign up with a few friends to gain new moves and lose a few pounds in the process.
Trapeze School New York’s expansion west meant Angelenos no longer had to cross the country to join the circus. At their outdoor studio on the Santa Monica Pier, highly trained instructors teach beginner, intermediate, and advanced maneuvers during classes on the flying trapeze, aerial silks, lyra, trampoline, and Spanish web. All of Trapeze School New York’s countrywide facilities in New York, Boston, Washington, DC, Chicago, and LA hold themselves to high safety standards that account for everything from equipment to instructors and safety belts. In an effort to bring their flying-trapeze instruction to surrounding communities regardless of funding, the school also gives lessons through their nonprofit branch of operations.