Owner Valerie Johnson leads a team of dynamic dance and fitness instructors dedicated to keeping bodies energized and elegant with classes ranging from ballet and pointe to hip-hop and tap. In addition to teaching feet the difference between tangos and two-steps, the studio’s instructors nurture tuneful talents with music lessons in disciplines including drum, guitar, piano, and voice. The 3,400-square-foot studio also hosts Kindermusik programs, which inspire creativity in toddlers with song, dance, and alphabet recitation set to the overture of Don Giovanni.
What began as a small studio with five enthusiastic dance students has transformed into a full-fledged company that's educated thousands and won multiple awards along the way—including a Certificate of Congressional Recognition. Today, Strictly Street Salsa has a whole team of instructors that has danced its way across the likes of Cuba, Puerto Rico, Colombia, Spain, and Rome and is ready to introduce students to new cultures through the art of dance. The studio offers classes for beginner, intermediate, and advanced dancers in both salsa and tango and hosts dance workshops that blend Latin dance with various cultural elements, including African movement, gypsy music, and good old-fashioned American screaming.
For Brandie, owner of Sassy Steps Stiletto Fitness, there’s nothing more seductive than getting into shape. Plus, she says, “laughter, smiles, giggles, and lots of blushing” doesn’t hurt either. In her private studio, she leads a master class in the finer points of flirtation. Her introductory stiletto fitness classes teach women to draw out feminine wiles through dance moves that often incorporate props, such as chairs, canes, and, of course, high-heel shoes. All the while, students shed calories, tone their leg and abs, and, most importantly, build up confidence with every sashay. The classes are almost tailor-made to ensure a memorable bachelorette party or girls’ night out, and Brandie also takes students under her wing in one-on-one private sessions.
The benefits of an aerobic workout and the fun of a night out with friends are brought together during dance-fitness classes held in a nightclub setting at bodyRock. The venue is the Red Door—a midtown dance club with curved bars and ambient lighting. In this sleek setting, instructors lead groups through choreographed dance routines, boosting adrenaline and burning calories to the beat of current pop and hip-hop tunes.
Pecos showcases three distinct pieces. With a specially commissioned score from Matthew Pierce, Stanton Welch's whimsical Pecos Bill is a folkloric romance between an idealized Texas cowboy and Sluefoot Sue, a perfectly matched sassy tomboy. Ballo della Regina is a bel-canto-esque set of variations created by Balanchine and set to music that was once cut from Verdi's Don Carlos. Enjoy brilliantly crafted movements and perfectly timed humor choreographed by dance superstar Mark Morris in Sandpaper Ballet, a performance that gleams amid green and white costumes designed by Isaac Mizrahi.
No Limits aims to showcase the talents of young dancers twinkling their toes in one of 20 preprofessional companies. Footworking styles include jazz, hip-hop, ballet, and cultural dances from around the globe. The performance boasts professional production levels, giving students a big break in their hometowns before they leave to further their education. Boogiers hail from studio companies, such as North Harris Performing Arts and Kingwood Jazz & Company, and exceptional high school departments, including Episcopal High School. This year, Dance Houston hosts the largest number of companies in the show's history, all within the spacious confines of the Cullen Theater at the Wortham Center.