In 1976, educator, musician, and kinesiologist Robin Wes longed for a children's gym that prioritized personal growth over competition. Unveiled at a time when physical-education classes pushed students to focus almost exclusively on winning, Robin's program was swiftly adopted and is now used in more than 300 Little Gyms worldwide. Robin still pens original music to accompany lessons, which engage whippersnappers 4 months old–12 years old with gymnastics, dance, and parent and child activities.
Each of The Little Gym's classes introduces simple movements that sharpen motor skills and set brains whirring, allowing kids to progress at their own pace until they can finally build a computer out of macaroni and glitter. Staff members strive to build a base for lifelong social skills and self-assurance with each exercise, including activities rooted purely in fun, such as summer camps or birthday parties, which helped The Little Gym to earn title of #1 Birthday Chain in Parents Magazine.
With eclectic backgrounds in ballet, Scottish Highland dancing, and environmental law, California Arts Academy co-owners and directors Julie Ann Keller and Christopher Campbell bring their students their own distinctive expertise and worldviews. Backed by a cadre of instructors, the duo strives to create a space where kids can freely express themselves through gymnastics and musical theater and can elaborate tap-dance routines that summon the ghost of Fred Astaire. California Arts Academy was also named Favorite for Children's Dance Classes, Art Classes, and Live Theater by the readers of the Central California Parent Magazine 2012-2014. Not content to just offer classes, Keller and Campbell hold semiannual auditions for their performances.
La Bella Dance Company was established by Shawna Pribble on June 1st, 2005 in Clovis, California. Our goal is to bring the love of dance to the Central Valley in a fun and new way. We strive to inspire our children in a way that dance is fun. We hope our students come away from it with passion in their heart and soul.
While teaching jazz dance in the 1960s, Judi Sheppard Missett decided to step away from tradition by offering an experimental class that allowed her students to simply dance without the judgment of mirrors or the constraints of rigid technique. In these sessions, she began infusing popular dance moves with specific fitness workouts to forge a distinctive blend of cardio exercise, strength training, and dance instruction. Little did she know that this “just for fun” class was the prototype for what would become the national fitness sensation known as Jazzercise.
Today, Jazzercise takes its aerobic techniques from a variety of sources that include jazz dance, hip-hop, resistance training, Pilates, yoga, and kickboxing. The class formats, which vary according to different toning goals, are just as diverse as the program's move set. Instructors cultivate a noncompetitive atmosphere where all exercisers—with the exception of those marked as cursed by jazz-hand palm readers—are welcome regardless of age, build, or fitness background.
Certified dance instructors Pete Swingle and Carmen Ahmen relish the challenge of curing extra left feet. They welcome total beginners to their salsa classes, where their patience and supportive attitudes help students feel comfortable enough to pull off the hip-swaying steps. In the interest of steadily progressing students to intermediate and advanced moves, they set up specific goals for each level, ranging from "step in time" to "twirl your partner without having to rely on shoes made of roombas.” They teach disciplines apart from salsa as well, including cha-cha, cumbia, and merengue.
Though learning show-stopping techniques is one of the core benefits of their lessons, Pete and Carmen also hope to reward protégés with the additional perks of dancing, including stress relief, improved muscle tone, and new friendships. Sunday dance socials focus on the latter ambition by gathering dancers for practice in a party setting, which sometimes features live percussion shows and music giveaways.
Dedicated instructors at In the Spotlight Dance Center lead burgeoning ballerinas ages 2–18 through class curriculums of classical and modern ballet, lyrical and contemporary dance, and rhythm-boosting sessions in jazz, tap, and hip-hop. Students meet each week to shimmy and shuffle in one-hour sessions, prepping for potential careers as performers or the interpretive dance translator for the United Nations. Young tots can receive a triple threat initiation to dance with a combination class of tap, ballet, and jazz, and advanced dancers have the option of attended accelerated classes in pointe and repertoire.