When Henry Harvey went to the University of Houston in 1975, he realized the dance moves he'd picked up at high school in Fort Worth were more valuable than he thought. In fact, he gave lessons to new people in the area who wanted to fit in on the dance floor. Years later, his wife decided they should start dancing together. "I went to dance class and found out they were doing the same things I was 10 years before," he said. Taking stock of his management abilities and previous dance experience, he realized he had the opportunity to be successful, so he brushed up his skills and founded High Steppers Dance Troupe LLC in 2007.
At locations throughout the area, Harvey and his team of instructors teach the hot urban Houston two-step, as well as swing-out dancing and line dancing. The dances are set to cool urban R&B tunes and neo-soul grooves and help participants release the seductive strut or smooth swagger they've kept bottled up. Instead of duct taping themselves to a good dancer in the club and letting them do all the work, students can be confident in their ability to finally know what they're doing on the dance floor.
Harvey claims that his students, many of who are aged 40 and older, come not only for the improved skills that come from dancing for two hours, but also for the atmosphere, which he calls "very upbeat and very festive." His dance classes can also act as a stress reliever after a long day at work. "They get into dance class and they're rejuvenated," Harvey says.
In addition to dance lessons, the group takes charter buses on regional trips and hosts two to three showcases per year, where students regale audiences with a synchronized dance routine. At their social dances, a DJ spins tunes as students get the chance to put their lessons into practice and leave behind their days of doing the worm shyly on the dance-floor sidelines.
Brazilian jujitsu could be considered the black sheep of the martial-arts family. Instead of relying on raw force and strength like many disciplines, Brazilian jujitsu uses leverage and precise movements to land blows and defeat opponents. That’s why students at Gracie Barra’s 300+ locations worldwide come in all shapes and sizes. In fact, Brazilian jujitsu often inspires entire families—mom, dad, kids, and security blankets with faces drawn on them—to get in shape and learn the art of self-defense. Its main focus is grappling on the ground, an experience made easier by the new Westchase location’s 2,000 square feet of zebra floor mats. Students learn the basics during a Fundamentals Program, tackle varied techniques at mixed martial arts, or get on the fast track to victory at Future Champions. No matter the class, students are taught by highly trained instructors.
Travis Tooke's passion for mixed martial arts fueled his decorated competitive grappling and Brazilian-jujitsu careers, which instinctively led him to form Team Tooke Mixed Martial Arts and share his expertise with others. He proudly wears a Gracie Barra black belt and has been a Brazilian-jujitsu and submission-wrestling trainer for more than 12 years, during which he’s mentored renowned UFC fighter Yves Edwards. He and his team of instructors lead students in an array of mixed-martial-arts fitness classes, including kickboxing, Brazilian jujitsu, and wrestling. They offer kids' classes, women's classes, and classes for combat buffs looking to break into the professional mixed-martial-arts world, which used to require locking your resume in a chokehold until it got you a job.
When people say they teach mixed martial arts, they often mean a blend of kickboxing and grappling techniques. But the instructors at King's Mixed Martial Arts LLC take a more traditional approach: they also incorporate the unparalleled striking techniques of muay thai boxing, or the devastating joint locks of Brazilian jiu-jitsu. And that's just the beginning—they also teach classes in nunchuku and bo staff weapon forms, Okinawan karate, and even yoga to keep legs limber and fighters capable of punching anyone in the toes.
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Staff Size: 2–10 people
Parking: Parking lot
Most popular offering: Kickboxing Classes
Pro Tip: Dress in comfortable work-out clothes
Instructors at I.M.A. Karate Houston—a USANKF recognized dojo, bring years of skilled experience - including instructor Shihan Patrick Richoux, a 6th degree black belt with the IMA and World Karate Federation. The instructors at the center all have trained under the same accomplished sensei and teach kids and adults shotokan karate, one of the oldest styles of the martial art. The school’s curriculum tends to focus on kihon, kata, and kumite (basics, form, and sparring), but sometimes branches out into self-defense, tournament-specific training, and tying one's belt fashionably. One of the shotokan discipline's primary objectives is to build character, and classes focus on both this tenet as well as the sport's fundamentals.
At Secrets in a Bottle, a fitness studio exclusive to women, playful instructors teach students to twirl sensually in pole-dancing classes and break a sweat together in dance-based cardio classes. Along with perfecting their firefighting routines in two levels of pole-dance classes, members dance to a thumping soundtrack of Bollywood and hip-hop hits in Nightclub cardio and strap on kneepads before hitting the mat for derriere-focused Booty Shake sessions. Secrets in a Bottle also invites revelers to host private parties at the studio and can dispatch an instructor and mobile pole to merrymakers’ homes or unsupported canvas tents for on-location bashes.