At Encore Dance Academy, tiny feet pirouette and leap across a safety-sprung wood floor during a classic ballet class. That’s just one of the ways the instructors get bodies moving in dance classes for wee ones as young as 6 months to adults. The roster includes jazz, tap, hip-hop, and musical-theater dance forms, led by experienced instructors certified in CPR and first aid. They create an energetic and friendly atmosphere in which dancers of all ages can feel free to express themselves through movement. To carve out toned physiques, adults can groove to the Latin beats of Zumba, which includes free babysitting so parents can bust a move without duct-taping their child to their chest.
The dance center also hosts birthday parties and camps, come summertime, that encourage kids up to age 8 to step into the rolls of divas and rock stars while learning a dance step or two.
As the name suggests, Dany Holdstein’s Two Worlds Dance & Fitness unites instructors from the realms of dance and exercise to help students meet their health goals. Before founding the studio, Holdstein studied with dance icons Martha Graham and Pearl Lang, taught master classes internationally, and served as an adjunct professor at C.W. Post College. He requires his dance instructors' credentials be no less impressive. Dance teachers include Andre Kisselev, a classically trained ballet dancer who has high-stepped it with Riverdance, and Lancelot Theobald, a former professional football player who has performed at the Metropolitan Opera and developed choreography for the Knicks City Dancers. Theobald's Momz-N-Da-Hood group—a breakdancing crew of mothers over 40—is a spinoff of one of his hip-hop exercise classes, and, as noted by the Long Island Press, has appeared on Good Morning America.
As the artistic director of an eponymous contemporary dance company, Holdstein has equipped his dance and workout studios with the same floating floors and Marley coverings found in professional facilities. The center's walls resound with music from spinning, Zumba, and belly-dancing classes as certified personal trainers help guests navigate the weights and cardio equipment in the gym area. The instructors also lead classes for children and teens, including Broadway-style theater-dance sessions and pointe classes that give kids the ability to overcome roller-coaster height requirements.
The Long Island Comedy Festival, which won a thumbs-up from Newsday in 2009, sends laughing fits rippling through southeastern New York with showcases of some of the area's most accomplished comedians. The namesake festival spreads out across Long Island every summer, landing at venues that might range from an old-fashioned playhouse to a family amusement park. Many alumni return to perform year after year, making for a festive atmosphere that executive producer Paul Anthony likens to "a comedy party that the audience members have been invited to," rather than one that they sadly listen to through the floorboards. During the rest of the year, the organizers stay busy producing comedy series at other historic venues and exporting their team of comics to college shows.
The Erin and John Lopez, the founders of Variations, believe in more than building up successful dancers?they also believe in building healthy bodies and attitudes through dance. Erin is a longtime dancer herself, having performed at Lincoln Center and as a dancer with a wide swath of companies. The instructors here are just as committed to their students as the Lopezes, leading classes as diverse as classical ballet, jazz, and hip hop for students of all ages. The adult curriculum also covers classic and contemporary dance styles, with Pilates and ballet barre fitness lessons as well.
Since 1984, Rock-N-Roll University has equipped musicians with the equipment, accessories, and skills to pursue their ambitions in songsmithing. Glistening guitars in all shapes and colors hang from the walls in rows, surrounded by equipment such as amps, practice books, and freeze-dried roadies. The shop also retails and rents instruments for orchestras and bands as well as the various parts and salves to keep them in working order. Rock-N-Roll University also has a varied curriculum for students of music. There are both private and group classes, where you can learn with traditional lessons, jam sessions, and band programs that culminate in live concerts.
Ballet Long Island, a nonprofit professional ballet company that focuses on bringing affordable ballet performances to its community, has been doing just that since 1985. The consummate dancers, many of whom have studied in the organization’s training and education programs, unleash performances throughout the year across several stages, from Disney-themed shows such as Snow White and Sleeping Beauty to original numbers.