Lotus Arts Studio's classes are a medley of swinging hips, frolicking feet, and flittering fingers. Owner Lauren Haas, a professional belly dancer, shares her Egyptian-style training with students who are interested in belly dancing and possess their own bellies. Highly skilled yoga instructors help yogis and neophyte benders pose, stretch, and sweat while Zumba, the Latin-inspired cardio dance class, spicies up stale workout routines and Bollywood classes fuse classical Indian dance styles with popular Western styles. At Lotus, wallflowers learn to gleefully waltz, tango, cha-cha, and bunny hop onto dance floors, as classes are ideal for individuals with no dance experience or more than one left foot. Registration is required and classes convene once a week. Check out the class schedule for a full list of classes and times.
My Dance Hub owner Jaana Lillemagi has a lifetime of dancing experience and has competed at the national level in both Estonia and the United States. At her studio, she draws upon this know-how to lead a team of passionate instructors who teach a variety of dance styles including cha cha, waltz, ballroom, and flamenco.
The door of the limousine opens and flash bulbs burst in a thunderstorm of press and paparazzi. The crowd shoulders each other behind velvet ropes, craning their necks to catch a glimpse of the diamond-studded star at the head of the red carpet. When the sea of people parts, a self-assured third-grader is revealed as she greets her fawning public.
Popcorn Media gives kids the chance to experience strutting down the red carpet during their Movie Star workshops and weeklong camps. Attendees soak up the secrets of screen acting from a director who works with Disney and Nickelodeon studios while producing their own unique work. They oversee each production element that goes into a film's creation, from lighting and filming to rehearsing and giving their parents an autograph. At the end of each session, kids attend a red-carpet premier of their work amid the applause of friends and family.
Mary Lee's encouraging pop-and-lock experts instill the passion of rhythm and dance in students ages 5 to adult through weekly hip-hop classes. Each 45-minute lesson begins with warm-up exercises that stretch out limbs to prevent participants from pulling muscles. Dancing protégés then take to the floor and glean tips on performing modern hip-hop maneuvers such as the glide, the harlem shake, and the properly grounded electric slide. Students must come appropriately dressed in clean sneakers—no street shoes—and comfortable dance clothes devoid of zippers and buckles. Class times vary depending on the dancer's age, so check Mary Lee's class schedule to find the most convenient class.
Within the private Studio Maliha, a dance space with floating oak-laminate floors, full-length mirrors, and track lighting, Serafina Belly Dances welcomes dancers of all ages, sizes, and abilities. In private and group classes—with a capacity of 12—students learn the fundamentals of proper posture, technique, and vocabulary of belly dancing. Students not only glean a full-body workout from the physically challenging moves of belly dance, but can also garner empowerment and a healthy self-image from the sensuous art form. Serafina Belly Dances celebrates self-appreciation and encourages positive body image in women of all sizes.
From hanging out with Patrick Swayze as a dancer for Universal Studio's 10th anniversary of Dirty Dancing, and dancing in a VH1 special for the 20-year anniversary of Grease to winning the United Country Western Dance Council World Championship's Jack & Jill competition three times—Brian Wong has accomplished a lot in his 20-year career. Throughout these experiences, though, it's his ability to turn dancing novices into confident dancers that has given him the most pride. In service of this passion, Brian founded Chicago Dance Factory, where he and a team of instructors lead dance classes at spacious locations scattered throughout the greater Chicagoland area. Brian's teaching philosophy emphasizes syncing students' bodies with the so-called "heartbeat" of the music before they attempt any patterns or steps. Using this unique rhythm-based philosophy, Chicago Dance Factory's instructors teach students various dancing styles—ranging from pop-infused West Coast swing to elegant ballroom—that can be unleashed during a night out, at weddings, or in dance-infused gang fights.
At GL Dance Fitness, working out is often a form of cross-cultural exchange. As Latin-inspired music from around the globe reverberates in the studio, instructors lead students through high-energy dance moves that draw inspiration from salsa, belly dancing, and merengue. Specialty classes tweak the formula, slowing things down a bit during Zumba Gold, adding a strength-building element with small weights during Zumba Toning, and introducing students to man’s first best friend—the chair—during Zumba Sentao. Kids also get their groove on during six-week Zumbatomic sessions that utilize tot-appropriate beats to boost metabolisms and encourage the confidence necessary to excel on math tests and beat back bullies with nothing more than a perfectly executed musical number.