Watching some of the lithe women coming out of Pure Barre classes, it's easy to believe that they've been ballet dancers their whole lives. But that's not necessarily the case. Pure Barre's instructors stress that the workout requires zero dance experience, and they say that as long as you can hold onto the bar and quote Center Stage verbatim, you can participate in the classes.
Because small isometric movements are performed in the classes, women of all shapes, sizes, and ages can take a Pure Barre class. These small movements work each muscle to fatigue, and then stretch it back out, which creates the lean lines dancers are known for. The movements also work areas of the body many women struggle with, including the abs, butts, thighs, and arms, and they burn fat—all without putting excessive stress on the joints.
At Creation Station Dance, owner Judy Carmen—also known as Ms. Jude to her troupes of wee ones—and her staff of enthusiastic instructors cultivate an exciting and imaginative studio where kids can be kids. They teach children from 18 months to 16 years how to move and groove during age-appropriate dance classes that emphasize fun and creativity. While kids hone skills in ballet, tap, hip-hop, and musical-theater classes, they also develop strength, coordination, and cognitive abilities and boost their self-esteem, giving them the confidence to finally kick the boogeyman out of their closet.
The staff at Studio Fusion invites kids and adults of all skill levels to dance and get in shape in a sprawling 6,000-square-foot space with four studios, two of which have Marley sprung floors to soften dancers' landings. The team of dance instructors includes choreographers and backup dancers to the stars, as well as two former members of the Laker Girls.
The experienced crew helps pre-cheerleaders build strength and flexibility during tumbling classes, and teaches beginning and advanced ballet and hip-hop moves to kids and teens. The multidisciplinary fitness program offers just as much variety, including the ballet-based movements of Barre Fusion, Bikini Boot Camp toning sessions, and kickboxing- and tai-chi-based Turbo Kick classes.
The space has been designed with a cozy student lounge with WiFi and a gourmet coffee bar, allowing youngsters to work on homework or their investment portfolios and parents to chat. In addition to annual dance recitals, the studio hosts dance and musical-theater camps. The Broadway Kids program hones the skills children need to be a triple threat—dancing, singing, and juggling three smartphones at once.
With more than 30 years of kid-entertaining experience, The Little Gym provides a safe and noncompetitive environment wherein wee ones can exercise their brains and bodies. Maturing moppets aged 4 months to 3 years glean social and cognitive skills from a parent-child program that helps developing minds learn colors and numbers and helps parents learn to take turns and share. Gymnastics allows energized preschoolers and kindergarteners to tumble at their own pace and caters to differing ages, levels of muscle development, and hatred of vegetables. Grade-school gymnasts tackle the mat, bar, vault, and beam in classes divided by ability, not age, and dance classes allow the rhythmically inclined to shake and sway.
As a certified personal trainer for women, Rhiannan Nichole knows firsthand the physical benefits of working out. It wasn't until she started teaching pole-dancing classes, however, that she realized exercise can also induce inner change and empowerment. By blending challenging tricks with sensual movements in her own personal dance style, she works to help students feel more confident about their bodies, regardless of their age, shape, or fitness level. Along with fellow instructors, she leads seven classes, each of which centers on objectives rather than difficulty or government-mandated sweat quota. Nichole's vertical abilities have not only helped other women discover their inner vixens but have made her a fierce competitor in the California Pole Dance Championships and have even earned her a feature on the Pocket Pole iPhone application.