In 1947, on New York City's Park Avenue, the first Fred Astaire Dance Studio—cofounded by the eponymous toe tapper himself—opened its doors to the public. More than six decades later, now boasting schools across North America, the dancing institution still adheres to the legendary Mr. Astaire's curriculum and instruction techniques.
Specializing in social ballroom and competitive dances, the schools' current consortium of professional instructors shepherds students of all ages and skill levels through dance lessons that span from classic ballroom and foxtrot romps to the modern steps of salsa, swing, or mambo. In addition to classes, the studio hosts social practice parties where up to 40 students hone newly acquired rug-cutting capabilities. As foot-charming music blares from the speakers, instructors work to cultivate a lively social setting where each guest can dance, mingle, and surgically correct their second left foot without fear of embarrassment.
Walking a mile in someone else's shoes can be very educational, especially if the shoes belong to Mandy Carlisle, a professional dancer. As a competitive American Rhythm Style ballroom dancer, Mandy has toured the country and racked up awards—she's been ranked among the top 13 dancers in the United States, placed second in the United States Professional Rising Star Rhythm Championship, and conducted an undefeated run as the Fred Astaire National Rising Star Rhythm Champion. In her spare time, she has earned teaching certifications in more than 13 styles of dance (among them, classic ballet, hip-hop, and jazz) and opened her own studio, Aspire Dance.
Mandy and her staff of 12 instructors hone the skills of young dancers, providing a reception area for parents to wait and witness progress. For adults, the teachers conduct fitness-focused classes. Latin-inspired Zumba classes boost cardiovascular endurance, whereas yoga sessions cultivate flexibility and balance so that you can finally touch your toes while standing on stilts.
J. Powell Dance Studio director Jim Powell uses his Arthur Murray Studios world-champion-instructor status to teach an array of precise rug-cutting techniques. The studio’s myriad styles of social, ballroom, and Latin dance call to clients eager to unveil rhythmic prowess at their wedding, holiday party, or two-weeks-notice meeting. One 45-minute private lesson customizes instruction to suit twinkling toes of all luminosities. Two 45-minute semiprivate sessions expand the pool of students only slightly, with an average of three to five couples paired with a proportionate number of coaches. Whether it’s a waltz, swing, samba, or salsa, the laudable instructors don’t simply teach steps but also project partner communication and symbiosis, so two swaying essences merge, and, like weekend nights in Vegas, blur indistinguishably together.
Laura Bronk loves to dance?she's been at it since age 4?and her passion fueled her to work with master dance teachers. She opened Fancy Dancer Studio in 1997, and recruited a well-studied group of teachers to pass along their experience and love for the art form, just as her teachers did. Instructors include Mary Innes, who's skilled in working with young children, Zoe Bronk, who's a member of the Dance Masters of Wisconsin and teaches jazz, tap, and hip-hop, and Jennifer Kornowske, who began the Middle Eastern dance troup Navah Mirage. Fancy Dancer's classes are diverse as its teachers?one night can see both 3-year-olds dancing and singing along to goofy songs in Junior Tap and adult women tying on jangling hip belts and undulating in fast-paced belly-dance classes.
Everybody's welcome to learn to turn, twirl, and trip the light fantastic at Dance Defined Studio. The studio offers classes in hip-hop, ballet, lyrical, jazz, tap, and pointe for women, men, and kids of all ages. Small-group classes ensure each dancer receives ample individual attention.
For the last eight years, the highly trained, experienced instructors Deborah and Eric Gillitzer have helped students of all skill levels turn woeful wiggles into sophisticated shimmies just in time for weddings, dance competitions, and Friday nights with the house to yourself. Offering classes for adults in a wide variety of popular styles, Dance on Air will help you realize your boogie ambitions and reach your fitness goals with grace. The July schedule sports month-long group classes in Zumba, Viennese waltz, beginning cha cha, tango, beginning swing, beginning rumba, and more. Each four-week class meets once a week for one hour, generally in the early evening or around lunchtime, adding savory spice to any unseasoned day planner.