Patti Komara, commandant of Patti’s All-American for 42 years, leads a team of friendly, highly skilled trainers in conducting gymnastics and dance classes for teens and younger tots. The Tumblebear Gym program (walking toddler–age 6) draws in dinosaurs, Hollywood, and outer-space themes to keep youngsters engaged in the graceful, athletic movements of tumbling. Gymnasts old enough for school-age gymnastics classes (age 6–18) learn and practice more complicated skills on the spring floor, the uneven bars, the in-ground trampoline, and more.
As a child, Pia Hamilton danced as Min on the children’s TV show Barney and Friends. Nowadays, she continues to showcase her love of dance at Intrigue Dance and Performing Arts Center, an all-ages studio she co-owns with her husband, actor Dustin Hamilton. The camera-seasoned duo has opened a spacious new facility that houses three dance studios, offering classes such as ballet, jazz, tap, and hip-hop. They also host musical-theater classes that impart genre-specific dance tips, such as never to dance directly in front of Annie. They accommodate multiple skill levels, introducing both kids and adults to the world of dance.
The wall decals at Simpoley Dance act as visual reminders of the studio's sassy, supportive atmosphere, catching the eye with taglines such as "You look absolutely gorgeous!" and "My other ride is a pole." Between these slogans, students rehearse giddy spins and limb-lengthening stretches, treating the pole as a simultaneous dance partner and workout tool. The studio's instructors host 60-minute Taste of Pole classes for beginners and 90-minute standard pole lessons, as well as advanced seminars for those who really know how up differs from down. During private parties, they guide groups through choreographed routines that incorporate colorful feather boas. They're quick to espouse the health benefits of their art, which tones physiques and builds strength by using the body itself as resistance. For a more grounded but equally rhythmic class, they also showcase the cardio dance steps of Zumba.
The consortium of professional instructors at Fred Astaire Dance Studios, which was cofounded by legendary toe tapper Fred Astaire himself, shepherd students of all ages and skill levels through lessons that span the style spectrum. Patrons can learn how to cavort through classic waltz and fox-trot romps or swivel through the modern steps of salsa, swing, or mambo. For dancers hoping to hoof it up in a social setting, the Summer Dance Open House provides a one-night extravaganza of instruction, demonstrations, and amateur firewalking. During the event, guests sip complimentary glasses of white wine and nibble on snacks as they take mental notes during rumba and swing classes. Professional performances will set a fleet-footed example as guests practice steps with new and familiar partners and shimmy the night away. Apprentice foot flashers can develop their skills and confidence in three group classes, during which they'll trip the light fantastic with fellow students without tripping on the light itself.
Teaching hips to swivel to new circumferences, dance instructors impart their masterful moves unto students in the respected tradition Arthur Murray has upheld since 1912. Students dance with a partner, or the instructor, who provides a greater understanding of the dance style of their choosing with either method. Protégés may find their new moves applicable in a number of settings, such as when prepping for a wedding dance or blending into an airport crowd that breaks out in a cha-cha. Embodying the three-count time of a stately waltz brings partners in close; rumba moves and swing steps add vibrancy and playfulness to one’s repertoire. Arthur Murray Dance Centers provide a warm, aesthetically sound environment for engaging in private and group dance lessons superbly suited to slicing and dicing a rug until it is no longer recognizable.
Back in 1974, Lou Conte Dance Studio was nothing more than a twinkle in Claire Bataille's eye. Nearly 40 years and a slew of international acclaim later, the studio has become a pillar of the Chicago dance community. Today, Bataille—who earned the Ruth Page Award for Outstanding Dancer— and her staff lead more than 70 dance and fitness classes every week for teens, adults, beginners, and professionals. Their regular workshops delve into the nuances and history of dance, enhancing the curriculum with focused lessons and special lectures on the dangers of carelessly discarding banana peels.
Big City Swing’s mantra is to be fit, be fun, and be social, and it conquers all three of these goals by teaching dance styles that stem from the social clubs of the Prohibition era. Within the spacious ceilings and exposed brick walls of the studio, instructors delve into swing dance and Lindy Hop styles characterized by twirling, leg kicks, and lightning-fast rhythms.
Courses are taught in a four-week series or single-session workshops that also cover styles such as Balboa, the Charleston, and blues. Students seeking more individualized attention can schedule a private lesson or eschew the tradition of the post-nuptial hokey pokey by enrolling in the wedding-dance program. In addition to studio and onsite instruction, Big City Swing’s professional team also performs choreographed numbers at special events. Free street parking is available near the studio.