Named for Charles Lindbergh's feat of leaping across the Atlantic with a plane strapped to his back in 1927, the lindy hop shook the foundations of many an American dance hall in the 1920s and '30s. During those roaring decades, the dance blended unrestrained new forms of movement, including jazz, tap, breakaway, and the Charleston. The dance became synonymous with swing, requiring of its dancers athleticism, enthusiasm, and a bit of training. Today, in an era of popping and locking, or programming robotic shoes to dance for you, the instructors at The Lindy Project keep the art form fresh, imparting Austin's two-steppers with the skills and fitness to perform this slice of Americana.
They lead group classes twice a week for couples and solo artists, or expedite the process with private lessons taught by an instructor schooled in a wide range of styles, such as balboa and shag. The art's many influences leave room for individualization and improvisation in dance styles, with some instructors incorporating more lifts and twirls while others perform tap moves while wearing scuba flippers.
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 to 12 years old with gymnastics, dance, karate, 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 .
"Anyone can learn to dance," declares Go Dance owner Mylie Alrich. And she's not the only one who thinks so?throngs of students flock to the studio for the large selection of easy-to-follow classes led by a team of more than 35 seasoned instructors. In addition to student testimonials, the readers of the Austin Chronicle crowned Go Dance for having the "Best Dance Classes" for four years in a row.
Much of these hard-earned accolades stem from the instructors' ability to teach ballroom, salsa, swing, country, and other styles while, at the same time, cultivating a welcoming vibe in which students can meet new friends and feel like they're part of a community. After tackling a variety of moves, students can show them off during weekly social and newcomer nights at the Lakeway, North Austin, or South Austin locations.
A conflation of Bombay (the old name for Mumbai) and Hollywood, Bollywood refers to the Mumbai-based film industry, which draws up the tradition of golden-age musicals, using song and dance as a way for characters to express their emotions. The dance style that has emerged from these films blends traditional and folk dance moves with beats and movements inspired by modern R&B and hip-hop. The ladies of Bollywood Shake showcase dance routines step by step, strengthening their student's sense of timing, spacing, and how to twirl without bodychecking their dance partner. Students twist and turn inside an expansive studio with lightly stained hardwood floors and decorated with gentle colors of orange and dark yellow. Instructors also offer Bollywood Workout classes, which use sped-up dance routines to tighten and tone the body.
Dance Xplosion's five-class pass encourages fleet-footed forays into an assortment of classes, taught by a staff of glissading gurus and fit for all levels of experience. Dance Xplosion's roomy studios are located within a short saut de chat of one another, and are artfully outfitted with wall-to-wall mirrors and booming sound systems. Gambol across professional-grade, joint-coddling Marley floors while perfecting appendage articulations in forms including tap, jazz, and ballet. For those with less twinkling toes, fitness courses in mat Pilates and Hatha yoga are also available to help guests gain the strength and flexibility of a rubber band made out of steel. Some classes require specific clothing or equipment; check the Dance Xplosion website for more information on classes and attire. Dancewear and other gear is available nearby at Bright Lights Dancewear. Call to make your reservations.