Having seen an upswing in interest in one of the world’s oldest dance styles, Johanna and Karen started a belly-dancing collective in 2004 as a way to create a community for both professionals and students and an audience for monthly showcases. They gave these enthusiasts a brick-and-mortar hangout in 2008 when they opened their first center for classes and events, which has since blossomed and moved into a new space nearly four times the size of the old studio.
Today, Hip Expressions offers drop-in and ongoing classes led by seasoned instructors. Classes focus on introducing newcomers to the art form’s fundamental isolation techniques that keep hips and waists from arguing over the remote. In addition to belly dancing, classes include a variety of other dances and fitness crazes such as Zumba, yoga for dancers, or active isolated stretching.
When she dances, Sarah Murray doesn't just use a pole—she incorporates more than 15 years of ballet and modern dance training. And as the owner of Impulse Pole Dance & Exotic Fitness, she doesn't just dance. She also teaches her sultry, graceful routines in the studio's pole dance sequence. It starts with basic spins and transitions in the mandatory Pole Foundations class, then progresses to more complex inversions and tricks such as The Phoenix, in which the dancer burns down her pole and builds a new one. FlyGym classes complement the pole sessions, with workouts conducted on an aerial system of swings to help tone physiques and enhance flexibility.