A floating floor cushions heels at Daza Dance Ballroom Academy while overhead bulbs that shine like stars illuminate a flurry of foot tapping and twirling. Inside the spacious Buckhead studio, students set to work mastering the cha-cha in group classes, dipping a partner in private sessions, or choreographing a memorable first wedding dance. Professional instructors oversee lessons and participate in dance parties, which, unlike solitary-confinement cells, foster a social atmosphere to practice new moves.
At Jones Dance Ballroom Studios, dancers of all skill levels teach their bodies to spin, shake, and shiver with the self-expressing movements of multiple dance styles, including tango, foxtrot, salsa, samba, West Coast swing, paso doble, merengue, and beyond. Up-and-coming motion maestros can begin their journey to stardom and dancing with a pair of private lessons ($37.50 each). During both of the half-hour twinkle-toe tutorials, a skilled, supportive instructor will work one-on-one with you and carefully teach your feet how to woo the haughty ground with the stately swirls of a Viennese waltz, the dazzling blur of the quickstep, or the swiveling bobble-hips of the cha-cha. Once they've learned how to light up the dance floor with controlled-burn fires, students can showcase their sizzling steps to new dance partners during a 60-minute group class ($15; check the calendar for more information about specific classes and times).
Peace, Love, and Unity: these are the pillars upon which this studio stands. Designed as an alternative to big, impersonal gyms, the family-owned-and-operated center fosters fun and mind-body-spirit harmony alongside fitness. A women-oriented self-defense class, Divas in Defense, adds an empowering edge to a class catalog that includes yoga, Pilates, and Zumba. Those seeking positive inner health may consult with a life coach or practice mediation. Soothing massage therapy and reflexology keep bodies from posing as bread dough to receive a proper kneading.
For beginning suitors to the zoot, try the Swingin' From Scratch course, with upcoming sessions from May 5-26 (on Wednesday evenings) and June 7-28 (on Monday evenings) at Firefly Studio in Decatur. Learn how to move from certifiably passionate swingers (of the dance variety) as they lead novice feet around the room for an hour. Other class options include courses in Balboa, jazz and blues steps, along with Lindy Hop and Charleston sessions for those who have already completed their intro to swing. Whatever class you choose, you'll cut rugs with newly honed shoe-scissors to classic rockabilly, R&B, and other swing-era music. Beginners will quickly learn how to juke and flow around the room like turn-of-the-century dance machines with modern flair, while more advanced students may discover that they still have a thing or two to learn. Sign up with your special sidekick or recruit your clone for a weekly boost in energy, confidence, and foot workability.
Francisco Antonio Rodrigues da Silva⎯better known to his students as Mestre Fran⎯began his journey with Caopeira at age 10, studying the ancient dancelike martial art under a seasoned teacher in Sao Paolo. After years of learning the hypnotic rhythmic moves of Capoeira and studying the African dance rhythms of Macuele, Mestre Fran took his art to the streets of Londrina, Brazil, giving impoverished youth a positive outlet for their creative energies with public performances and classes. After developing a successful martial arts organization in his home country, Mestre Fran set out for the United States in 2002, introducing Americans to Caoperia through cultural shows throughout the Atlanta area and instructing newcomers through beginner, children's, and adult classes.
Like punching a portrait of your smug fruit bowl, capoeria combines both art and fighting. The practice develops the mind, body, and spirit by instilling self-confidence, building agility and strength, and teaching students about the vibrant culture of Brazil. Capoeiristas twist and bob to the rhythm of drums as they execute gymnastic kicks and turns, or they show off their newfound knowledge at the studio's Friday-night Samba, Macuele, and Portuguese language classes.