Arthur Murray Dance Studios has been a leading name in social dance since 1912, when the entrepreneur began selling mail-order dance lessons. Expanding his reach, he enlisted teachers to spread his signature dance lessons on first-class steamships and skyrocketed to fame in the '30s after introducing the public to such dances as the Lambeth Walk and the Big Apple. By the 1950s, Arthur and his wife, Kathryn, were hosting their own highly popular TV show on ABC, the Arthur Murray Dance Party, which ran for 12 years. Today, Arthur Murray's team prepares students for rug cutting at special events and weekend nightclub jaunts. Clients who arrive to lessons partnerless will be paired up with certified instructors. Throughout lessons, instructors teach the foundations of two to four dances from a long list of styles that range from Latin to country-western, helping students to learn basic step patterns, timing, and the ability to lead or follow.
Beth and Jim Trammell started 5280 Gymnastics to share their love of gymnastics with students young and old, novice and expert, casual and competitive. They assembled an elite team of coaches that trained Olympic gymnast Sasha Artemev and placed graduates on the gymnastics teams at Stanford University, into officer's education at West Point, and onto the diving team at Northwestern University. Under this refined tutelage, the two USA Gymnastics teams that regularly train within 5280's confines took home awards at regional, state, and national levels of competition.
The owners and coaches recognize that not everyone desires to train for peak levels of gymnastics competition, and so the range of classes encompasses plenty of other options, including casual, confidence-inspiring play for tots and free running and parkour classes for older students. During the summer, daily camps keep kids busy during sunny hours with athletic games and arts-and-crafts projects such as building a balance beam out of popsicle sticks.
The decorated instructors at Best of Ballroom wield more than 60 years of collective experience to train both beginning and competitive ballroom and latin social dancers. Couples explore the basics of rhythmic partner-style forms such as salsa and cha-cha, or twirl through west coast swing routines set to big band music. In the general ballroom class, feet outline the graceful moves of the tango and the box step of the waltz, tracing squares on the floor away from squares lining the wall who are too afraid to dance. Members of the seasoned faculty have performed in numerous competitions, including the 2009 "Dancing with Colorado's Stars" event featuring local celebrities. Student dancers and amphibious figure skaters can showcase their new skills for friends and family at free practice parties held once a month.
An international competitive presence within the ranks of Irish dance, Celtic Steps School of Irish Dance is a premier learning institution for all of the Emerald Isle's expressive dance forms. With sessions limited to 25 lithe lads or lassies, Celtic Steps emphasizes individual step and technique training, along with some team dances and group work. Adults can retrain tired toes or give winter-weary stems a workout to the tune of guitar, pipe, and bodhrán-driven dance music. Irish dance is a great way to introduce children to the world of rhythm and ensuring that they are able to deftly stamp out renegade sparklers with arms held gracefully by their sides.
Mark and Dorie Wexler—along with a staff of instructors that hail from Panama, Brazil, and Peru—enthusiastically spread the irresistible rhythm of Latin beats through their signature Zumba and salsa classes, earning their Colorado Avenue location the title of Best Dance Studio from Colorado Springs Independent in 2011 as well as Best Adult Dance Studio from the Gazette in 2010. The Wexlers view dance as a form of fitness rather than one of competition, allowing students to enjoy themselves and experiment without the fear of being rated or punched in the knees by ornery judges.
At Spring Oasis Belly Dance, owner/instructor Barb Ferrill Van Hoy shepherds shimmiers through theatrical, low-impact workouts in a five-class schedule filled with Middle Eastern–style routines. Rug-cutters in the Beginning Belly Dance class combine traditional movements into fun new performances, and the more advanced Improvisational Choreography teaches finger cymbals how to scat jazz riffs. Students should wear clothes they can move in, and Van Hoy encourages her undulating constituents to bring coin scarves, harem pants, and traditional wetsuits if they’d like. The studio welcomes dancers of all skill levels and ages, and some classes include opportunities to perform for audiences.