Inspired by the strong sense of family he experienced in dance studios growing up, John Harris opened Sultry Swing Dance Studio to provide his own students with a warm, welcoming place to bond while boogying. With today's Groupon, anyone, from the rhythmically inept to the competitively inclined, can schedule an hour-long private lesson ($75) with John or Mary Jane Harris, 2006's Florida State West Coast Swing Dance Champions. Backed with 19 years of shared instructor experience and vast technical knowledge, they'll provide individualized instruction to show you (and your partner, if your bring one) how to add spice to your salsa or flavor to your foxtrot, all while having fun, zapping calories, and avoiding viaducts.
The consortium of professional instructors at Fred Astaire Dance Studios, 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.
Ritz Ballroom guides feet through the varied steps of ballroom and Latin dances in a series of group and private lessons. Led by experienced sashayers, a quintet of 45-minute group classes inaugurates students to each dance's basics, letting patrons get the feel for specific steps, learn proper dancing etiquette, and quickly identify which partners are secretly concealing performance-enhancing roller skates. Up to 20 students glide through the mirrored studio at a time, committing steps to muscle memory while getting hearts and smiles pumping. During the private lesson, dance instructors spend 45 minutes providing one-on-one coaching through troublesome steps and personalize the lesson to target specific weaknesses and improve overall technique. Friday-evening dance parties bolster dance-floor confidence with a studio-wide get-down, allowing the newly fleet-footed to show off their skills and mingle with fellow steppers to a backdrop of popular tunes or a baseline of spontaneous tappers.
The certified dance instructors at Arthur Murray Dance Studio teach beginner-level ballroom, Latin, swing, and social-partnership dance classes in group settings, and also offer private lessons to singles, couples, and singles perched on the shoulders of couples. Instructors emphasize technique, style, and variation of dance patterns during 45-minute group lessons. Group classes also give the opportunity to dance with a variety of partners, develop good dancing habits, and meet other students in the studio. The size of group lessons varies from as few as four students to as many as 20, enabling rhythmic upgrades for both small families and aspiring battalions. Classes take place Tuesday and Thursday evenings at 7 p.m. and 7:45 p.m.
Dance Unlimited's graceful gurus nurture students' passion for rhythm and movement, schooling soft-shoers of all experience levels in a positive atmosphere. Taught by Dr. Nicole Rothman, the aerobic-dance hybrid Zumba class (Wednesdays, 7:15 p.m. to 8:15 p.m.) makes hearts race to the tunes and rhythms of Latin music, like a dog-sled team driven by a Mariachi band. The Ballroom/Latin class (Wednesdays, 8:15 p.m.–9:15 p.m.) alternates instruction on salsa, samba, tango, and cha-cha with swing, waltz, and other footwork favorites. Couples are welcome, but for those not living buddy-cop fantasies, a partner isn't necessary. Groupon customers are free to take all six of their lessons in a single category, or mix, match, and even take both on the same night. Bring appropriate floor-pounding footwear and call ahead to reserve your spot.
The professional hip shakers at Cheeky Bellydancer teach and perform belly-dancing maneuvers culled from Turkey and Egypt. Some jewel-clad shimmiers set swords aflame while dancing, and others incorporate moves honed on Egyptian movie sets. When they aren't adding a colorful spectacle to weddings and other events, the belly dancers help newcomers learn the ropes with lessons.