The consortium of professional instructors at Fred Astaire Dance Studio, which was cofounded by the legendary toe tapper himself, shepherds students of all ages and skill levels through lessons that span the style spectrum. Low-pressure private sessions allow enthusiastic teachers to fine-tune individual students' techniques and form, using their expert eyes and mechanical dancing shoes preprogrammed to do the Charleston. Patrons can learn how to cavort through classic waltz and fox-trot romps or swivel through the modern steps of salsa, swing, or samba. For dancers hoping to hoof it up in a social setting, the group practice parties provide a one-night extravaganza of instruction, demonstrations, and amateur firewalking.
When Rick Rugg and Bob Schiffhauer founded the first Buffalo Athletic Club in 1980, they chartered their gym around three values: service, cleanliness, and having owners operate their own facilities. True to the founders' original vision, each location's employees strive to keep their cardio and resistance equipment spic and span as they care for facilities that range from 20,000 to 48,000 square feet. In addition to personal training, instructors lead a schedule of more than 400 group fitness classes—including cycling, Kardio Kick, and Zumba—offered each week across their eight locations. At the Eastern Hills, Union Road, Downtown, and Boulevard clubs, trainers also help guests master CrossFit functional equipment and use TRX suspension training systems to help them connect with their vine-savvy pet orangutans. And, at the five-floor downtown facility, guests swim laps in the pool. After workouts, guests can slip into saunas and private showers; most locations also have steam rooms.
Giovanni and Sherry Preziuso, owners of Fierce Fitness, specialize in tailored personal-training sessions but also offer small-group fitness classes designed to condition muscles and shed weight. In addition to functional core and suspension-training classes—classes that employ a system of ropes and webbing to allow the students to work against their own body weight—Fierce Fitness also offers therapeutic massage.
The instructors at East Meets West Yoga lead classes rooted in Ashtanga and Vinyasa traditions for all skill levels. In addition to the core classes' more vigorous workouts, the instructors also lead meditative yin and gentle yoga classes, which they perform at a slower pace in order to integrate more breath work.
Lauded by Buffalo Spree as the best yoga of Western New York, Shakti Yoga instructor Michelle Gigante teaches students to achieve balance, strength, and flexibility through strategic postures in her revamped 3,000-square foot studio. Specializing in Vinyasa flow, Gigante emphasizes the importance of breathing rhythm and downplays the rumors of yoga's popularity with yetis. Vinyasa synchronizes breathing and stretching postures to create a fluid, continuous yoga experience without resorting to recursive time anomalies. Drop-in style classes are held in a high-ceilinged studio on heated floors at many convenient times throughout the week. Shakti also offers meditation, chanting, dance with live drumming, and live music events.
Buffalo Yoga offers a wide range of classes for yoga pros and budding limb pretzelers. Take advantage of a convenient schedule that’s as flexible as corporate tax laws while participating in two weeks of vinyasa yoga, alignment yoga, hatha yoga, oil-change yoga, or prenatal yoga classes. An experienced group of instructors assists participants in tapping their natural bounty of malleability while they simultaneously strengthen cores and shed stress. Each class provides a slightly different challenge for participants and the inviting studio makes for a pleasantly placid locale that imbues optimal flexibility. Whether students want to stand taller, bend over backwards, or open pickle jars taped to their backs, Buffalo Yoga offers a suitable yoga style.