The consortium of professional instructors at Fred Astaire Dance Studio, which was cofounded by the legendary dancer himself, shepherds students of all ages and skill levels through lessons that span the style spectrum. Low-pressure private sessions allow enthusiastic teachers to fine-tune individual students' techniques and form using their expert eyes. Patrons can learn how to cavort through classic waltz and fox-trot romps or swivel through the modern steps of salsa, swing, or samba. For dancers hoping to hoof it up in a social setting, the group practice parties provide a one-night extravaganza of instruction, demonstrations, and amateur firewalking.
The instructors at H2Owls orchestrate their fun and safe swim lessons in accordance with SwimAmerica, a 10-step curriculum that helps youngsters refine their swimming skills. After beginning with basic swimming fundamentals including leg kicks and arm strokes, instructors move on to more advanced techniques based on each student’s progress. To ensure that students receives their due attention and aren’t just tunas dressed to look like children, the swimming school keeps its class sizes small, with a max of five students per teacher in standard group lessons and a max of three students per teacher in the preschool program.
Atop the blue padded floors of Master Hwang's Martial Arts, adults and kids as young as four years old learn to focus their energies to execute challenging maneuvers. Leading the pack, expert instructors impart the secrets of judo, Hapkido, and tae kwon do disciplines to boost focus and tone fly-swatting muscles. The karate haven also hosts summer camps and birthday parties that strengthen juvenile bonds.
New England Dive Center At the family-owned New England Dive Center, certified instructors pursue a mission of expanding scuba-diving know-how to the whole world, training underwater explorers with a curriculum of beginning to advanced diving classes. Several open-water courses survey safety, equipment, and diving etiquette to put students on the path toward PADI, TDI, or SDI certification, and an underwater photography seminar illustrates how to capture lucid footage of marine life and document mermaids' dance recitals. Group vacations shepherd divers to the lush corals of the Florida Keys, Cozumel, and the Grand Bahamas, and local events explore the quarries and shipwrecks hidden within New England's own waters. The full-service repair shop also stocks rental and retail equipment, supplying divers with high-end fins, masks, and tanks from brands such as Atomic Aquatics and XS Scuba.
Growing up in Sao Paulo, a city of nearly 20 million people, Gui and Joy Torres didn't stand much chance of bumping into each other. But fate had a plan, sending them both thousands of miles north to New Haven, Connecticut, and bringing them together at a capoeira event. Filled with playful, passionate movements, capoeira's 400-year-old fusion of dance and martial arts sparked a romance, and Gui and Joy soon married.
After marrying, the couple launched Brazilian Roots Cultural Center to help others cultivate fitness, creativity, and friendships. During classes for kids and adults, Gui draws upon years of experience as a capoeira teacher and performer, which includes gigs at Yale University and the Museum of the City of New York. Students weave cunning kicks, escapes, and acrobatics into a game more fun than hopscotch with a baby kangaroo. The classes also double as music performances as students learn to play traditional instruments and sing in Portuguese. Joy funnels her yoga and dance training into relaxing Vinyasa classes. In addition to hosting classes, the 2,700-square-foot studio showcases art in an airy gallery space.
Budo taijutsu is a Japanese martial art that teaches practical self-defense against armed and unarmed attackers. Few know this better than New England Ninjutsu's founder, Greg Kowalski. While in Japan, Kowalski trained under Grandmaster Masaaki Hatsumi, ultimately earning his black belt in the art. When he returned to the United States in 1989, he decided the '90s would be cooler if he opened his own training studio, New England Ninjutsu. Today, Kowalski and his staff of fellow black belts—many of whom he trained—teach budo taijutsu to kids and adults.