Like many dancers, Echo Waldron-Noble discovered her passion in her youth, and has spent a lifetime perfecting her art with professional troupes such as the Idaho Dance Theatre, Ballet West, and the Off Center Dance Project. When not busy wowing audiences on stage, she honed her teaching skills as an adjunct faculty member of dance at Boise State University. Inspired to share her love of the art and build a lasting appreciation for it in her community, she opened the Echo School of Dance in 2011.
Inside the modern studio, Echo and her teachers educate children and adults with tiered classes that group peers by expertise level, helping students focus on basic or advanced techniques that are both challenging and fun. Classes regularly culminate in performances by students, including a holiday program, full spring recital, and regular flash mobs at local weddings.
At Inner Diva, ladies learn to tone, love, and flaunt their body in a supportive, nonjudgmental environment. Instructors target thighs, abs, and arms with free flowing aerobic dance classes, and shout out instructions and encouragements during lively Zumba dance parties.
From the crowd, sweat-slicked hands wave in the air, their bodies dancing to the thunderous beats of a nearby sound system. But this isn’t a rap battle or a rock concert—it’s a fitness fiesta packed with international music and Latin-inspired dance moves. Known as Zumba, this phenomenon swept the nation starting in 2001, after Colombian-born fitness instructor Beto Perez began setting aerobics to salsa and merengue tunes rather than live performances of whalesong. Today, more than 12 million exercisers have tried the workouts, which torch calories, melt stress, and boost energy levels. At Boise Racquet & Swim Club, AFAA-certified instructors lead regular classes, augmenting regular Zumba workouts with a second discipline known as Sentao, which incorporates a chair to offer targeted resistance training and sculpt bodies until they sprout two new legs on their own.
Pick up a copy of Boise Weekly, flip open the Idaho Statesman, or tune in to Boise State Public Radio, and you might catch Ophidia Studio’s owner, Allison Holley, spreading the gospel of pole dancing. "It feels fun," she told Boise State Public Radio's Scott Ki. "It's kind of like playing on a jungle gym, and adults don't get that chance." Along with a coterie of experienced instructors, Allison casts off the bad rap of an activity that she says some see as "demeaning or degrading" in pole-dancing classes that build fitness and self-confidence in a playful atmosphere. Inside a hot-pink studio peppered with stationary and spinning poles, Allison and her crew walk students of all levels through a number of creative pole-dancing moves, beginning with spins and working up to inversions, choreography routines, and ceiling-fan impersonations.
Their expertise doesn’t stop there, though. The instructors also offer an arsenal of other sensual classes such as belly-dancing, hoop dancing, poi fire dancing, and Curvesque, which helps whittle waists and define the feminine form through fluid, dance-inspired movements. They also offer the more-traditional fitness classes of Zumba and body blast, along with yoga and its elevated counterpart—aerial yoga, which suspends students in a fabric sling hung from the ceiling.
Helmed by professional dancer Cecilia Rinn, Starbelly School of Dance aims to connect the body and spirit through belly- and Toltec-dancing classes. The team of instructors guide men, women, and even children through the sensuous belly rolls, hip drops, and shoulder shimmies of belly dance during classes and workshops. Those who excel in these settings may be invited to join the studio's belly-dancing performance group. Full Tilt Boogie also offers Toltec energy-dance courses, which mirror the ancient Toltec's energy-restoring motions. By combining dance, yoga, and holistic-energy movements, these dance classes simultaneously increase students' core strength and flexibility while reducing their stress and stabilizing their moods.
Heirloom's unlimited monthly pass provides aspiring toe-tappers with access to any of its 10 weekly dance classes and five nights of open ballroom dance. The hour-long lessons can be taken as often as necessary to polish and perfect moves. Rather than rioting, zoot-suit wearers can peacefully demonstrate during Tuesday's Swing Night, beginning at 7 p.m. with a lindy-hop lesson, with Charleston and blues lessons following on the hour. Wednesday night is Latin Night, with sultry steppers learning salsa, bachata, and Columbian cumbia. Thursday sees the uncanny yet danceable pairing of hip-hop (7 p.m.) and Argentine tango (8 p.m.), before dissolving into a passionate, bandoneón-fueled dance-a-thon. On Saturday, whisk your dancing shoes away to a rockabilly-tinged West Coast swing class, and cruise the subsequent sock-hop for a side-stepping showdown with Brad from HR. Dance partners are not required.