Angie Acosta, founder of Queen City DanceOut, has a simple motto for her students: "If you're moving, you're doing it right." This encouraging, low-pressure attitude attracts people of all ages to her dance-inspired fitness classes, which meet at 18 public locations. Angie and her instructors aim to make exercise feel like a celebration and a refreshing break rather than a dreaded routine. To this end, their classes incorporate intuitive dance moves and invigorating music. DanceOut, the signature course, blends genres as diverse as swing, hip-hop, and reggae into a workout, relying on repetition and basic choreography to keep everyone grooving. Other highlights of the curriculum include the Latin rhythms of Zumba; the Dance Impact class, which fuses dance and kickboxing; and JamStrong, a mixture of core-conditioning, dance, and fun.
Community is a central aspect of every DanceOut class. As pupils practice their twirls, they can follow both the teacher and the Jam Crew—a team of regulars who help make the steps easy to follow and can assist fellow dancers. In addition to group workouts, instructors host skill workshops such as Booty Bootcamp, where attendees learn rump-shaking techniques and how to turn any chair into a rocking chair. They also put on performances and lead private classes for special events and parties.
Nine teachers. Twelve styles of classes. Seven days of class per week. Whether they’re expectant mothers, 7-year-old children, or lifelong power-yoga practitioners, yogis come to Om Yoga’s studio to practice their chosen ancient body-bending art. In each class, the instructors adhere to the eight-limbed philosophy of Ashtanga yoga, modifying the poses and stretches for students of all experience levels.
Many studios focus solely on two principles of yoga: asanas (poses) and pranayama (breath control). However, Om Yoga’s teachers focus on a practice that involves all eight aspects of this traditional art, which include such intangibles as morality, self-observation, and even the ability to control the senses, a helpful trick when staring into the sun while standing next to an angry skunk.
If you noticed that the Carolina Panthers team looked surprisingly nimble the last time you watched an NFL game, you were watching the work of trainer and Carolina Pilates Founder Terry Shaw. That?s because in 2004 she was selected to teach Pilates and yoga to all of the team's players, office workers, and cheerleading team. Shaw and her team lead a curriculum of Pilates and Pilates-inspired training classes using equipment that includes stability chairs, ladder barrels, springboards, and V2 Max reformers. Their curriculum, experience with the Panthers, and premium machines have helped earn the studio the distinction as the city's Best Pilates Studio from the readers of the Fort Mill Times in 2010.
Jazzercise is 60 minutes of cardio, strength training, and stretching that incorporates moves from hip-hop, yoga, Pilates, jazz dance, kickboxing, and resistance training with handheld weights. Dancing With the Stars multiple-champion Cheryl Burke is a big fan of Jazzercise's improvisational workouts, though luckily you won't need her dance moves to get the most out of your class. If you're prone to first-class jitters, though, you can review the basic moves online before you go. Expect to burn off up to 500 calories with each go-round.
At Curves, exercisers of all fitness levels move around a circuit of hydraulic-resistance machines that have been designed to work with women's bodies and promote weight loss, protect against osteoporosis, and deal with arthritis. An experienced trainer is always nearby to help manage machine-maneuvering and muscle making. Instead of fiddling with weight stacks, filling medicine balls with medicine, and losing your momentum, the hydraulic machines account for different body weights and fitness levels to create resistance that matches one's abilities, which thereby decreases the risk of soreness or injury. Because traditional lift-and-lower motions create bulky muscles, each machine uses push-and-pull motions to create toned, lean muscles perfect for crushing a grapefruit without looking like you can.
Rhythm Fitness pumps up the workout energy with enthusiastic instructors and an internationally inspired variety of cardio dance styles designed to shake shoes and sculpt physiques. One-hour Zumba classes tone bodies to the dynamic rhythms of Latin-inspired dance beats, inspiring students to spiritedly swing their hips and shout Shakespearean poetry in rapid cadence. Funky Fusion modifies traditional belly-dance techniques with a sassy soulfulness, fusing an ab-twisting assortment of maneuvers into fast-paced sessions that melt away the hours and pounds.