Saphira, the matriarch and founder of Saffron Dance, didn’t even exist 20 years ago, much like “I survived Y2K” bumper stickers. Saphira was known as Rachael Galoob-Ortega, a lawyer who practiced in DC and Florida for a decade. But her high-power career and hefty paycheck couldn’t extinguish her passion for dance. And so she became Saphira, an international belly-dance artist and instructor with numerous accolades, including being featured in American Belly Dancer, a documentary about belly dance in the United States.
Saphira opened Saffron Dance six years ago, and along with 18 fellow instructors, channels her years of expertise into dance courses that get progressively more challenging from week to week. Welcoming all levels, her classes teach both Egyptian-inspired belly dance and community-focused tribal belly dance. Regardless of the class type, Saphira and her teachers encourage pupils to express their unique voices through dance, all while keeping proper alignment, mastering precision, and having fun.
CEO Peter Harvey believes that a quality gym staff must demonstrate more than technical expertise. "Service doesn't only mean showing someone how to do an arm curl," he says. Certified personal trainers develop workouts that zero in on each person’s specific goals, giving clients the skills to pole-vault over impassable plateaus. By steadfastly refusing to hand out fish in favor of putting on master classes in fishing, they help clients become self-sufficient, educating them on fundamentals.
During these one-on-one sessions, and in solo workouts, guests set calories ablaze atop rows of continually updated equipment. Treadmills, recumbent bikes, and strength-training tools line the walls.
Members can also drop in for as many group classes as they can muster. Inside a separate studio, stationary cycles whir in time with galvanizing music, kickboxing strikes arc through the air, and barbells rise with each BodyPump rep. For more meditative practices, Pilates sessions and several types of yoga enhance flexibility and focus.
"Our brain is designed to realize what we wish, without any minor errors," says Dahn Yoga founder Ilchi Lee, "If you want success, it will create success. If you want happiness or health, it will create them. Anything is possible, as long as negative thoughts and emotions don't interfere." To make this challenging, yet hopeful philosophy accessible to all, Lee combined the Eastern concept of chi energy with his own brain-management system, developing a distinctive program that unlocks inner peace and sweeps up brain clutter caused by the daily stress of always having to find Waldo. Warm-up yoga maneuvers awaken muscles before 30–40 minutes of breathing, stretching, core practice, and meditation—including a signature brain-wave vibration technique that aims to calibrate mental and physical energies. Cool-down exercises ease the body back into quotidian functionality before a 10-minute teatime invites socialization among participants while bolstering pinkie endurance. Dahn Yoga is also taught at independently owned and operated franchises called Body & Brain Yoga.
Balance Health Center takes a holistic approach to wellness by offering chemical-free body treatments and classes that promote balance within the mind and body. The center's nontraditional healing approaches include acupuncture, Ayurveda, and traditional Chinese medicine, treatments that all aim to heal the body without unnatural substances.
Spa services encompass waxing and seven-step facials, and bodies can acquire a bronze glow with the center's version of sunless tanning that relies on an organic, citrus-scented solution rather than the sun's hand-me-down rays. Relaxation's role in personal balance asserts itself in assorted scalp massages, hot-stone therapy, and aromatherapy as well as in spa massages that integrate essential oils. Helping guests to bring the center's philosophies home, Balance Health Center hosts classes and workshops on herbology, stretching, and yoga.
A full-service optical workshop, Clear Vision Express is powered by a team that can churn out new eyeglasses with eye-blink speed. Journeys toward clearer vision begin with eye exams with Dr. Anthony B. Kouchak. The 15-year veteran doc's specialties in LASIK eye-surgery referrals and hard-to-fit contact lenses are rivaled by his knack for perfectly fine-tuning prescriptions to eye irregularities such as astigmatisms and spontaneous eyelash brushfires.
Post-exam, friendly employees serve as frame sherpas guiding customers through a gallery of 1,000 different eyewear styles by upmarket brands such as Nine West and Nicole Miller. Clear Vision Express boasts an onsite lab that enables optical fabricators to speedily marry frame to lens and present new specs to customers in as little as one hour.
No matter where they are in the country, clients of Heartland Dental Care Affiliates are bound to find a dentist just as skilled as the one at home. That’s because more than 400 offices in 19 states are affiliated with the dental network, whose administrative support, guiding principles, and focus on continuing education ensure that their dentists will be talented wherever they work. The company also strives for community improvement—they’ve contributed more than $250,000 to such charities as the American Red Cross, The Oral Cancer Foundation, and the Smiles for Life campaign.