Led by certified instructor Elaine Seidman, Turning Pointe Dance Academy aims to not only imbue exercises on students, but also to help them tone muscles and improve coordination and general fitness. Classes are designed to be accessible to guests of all fitness levels, and include Vinyasa-style yoga classes that focus on alignment, strength, and flexibility as well as dance fusion classes that get hearts racing while combining ballet, jazz, and modern dance.
Erica Saben's passions have taken her near and far. She studied dance, political science, and Caribbean culture in Kingston, Jamaica, before returning to the United States to perform with several multicultural companies. A juggling gig in Philadelphia introduced her to two local circus experts who knew the director of Philadelphia School of Circus Arts. From this chance meeting blossomed a new chapter in her life: in addition to teaching her her big-top skills such as aerials and tightwire, they introduced her to Chinese acrobat Lin Junming, who would become her resident acrobatics coach when she founded Charm City Movement Arts.
Nestled between Canton and Brewer's Hill, the studio and performance space lets children and adults live the lives of professional circus performers without having to sneak into a tent disguised as a barrel of clown feed. Each instructor boasts experience in diverse movement backgrounds: Lin is also a member of the Fujian Acrobatics Troupe of China, and managing director Paco Fish has taken home awards in several Southern burlesque competitions. Other instructors draw from backgrounds in rock climbing, slacklining, acrobatics, and aerial work. Using this range of skills, they teach students the basics of Western and Chinese acrobatics, Broadway tap-dancing, modern dance, juggling, unicycling, and blends of clowning and burlesque. When not in class, staffers and students also hone their own chops as performers in seasonal dance and circus shows.
The faculty members at the School of Rock believe that immersion is the best way to learn any new skill, which is why they don’t just teach students how to traverse the notes and rhythms of guitar, bass, drums, keyboard, and vocals in isolation. In addition to teaching students the technical skills during one-on-one lessons, the professional music instructors push them to fuse their individual parts into songs during full band practices with fellow beginner rockers. This combination of one-on-one attention and cooperative group learning helps kids of all skill levels hone their craft while overcoming common pitfalls such as stage fright or playing off-tempo. As kids learn to shred riffs, pound out drum solos, and summon Ronnie James Dio by hitting the correct vibrato atop a silver mountain, the classes build their confidence and kick-start a lifetime of loving rock 'n' roll.
The Modell Performing Arts Center at the Lyric has a deep history that stretches back to the 1890s, when frequent polkas filled the air on summer evenings and the walls were decked out in beer-garden fashion. Throughout the following century, acts ranging from demonstrations of electric cooking to performances by Ella Fitzgerald and Robin Williams have inspired awe and given cause for recent restoration.
A combination of jazz, hip-hop, lyrical, ballet, tap, and gymnastics classes contribute to versatile dancers, which is why Making Moves Dance Collective is a good place to start learning the craft. Owners Amber Comer and Kellie Sellers sought to open a studio where competitive dancers would find proper training. Not all of their classes cater to aspiring professionals, though; they also offer a street-jazz class for adults that focuses solely on toning and conditioning.