Starting in 1998 in the Philadelphia suburbs, the women behind Art of Exotic Dancing have strutted and hip-rolled their way to the forefront of a surge of interest in fun, sensual movement. Dedicated to fostering a comfortable space where all participants feel safe, the certified instructors proffer encouragement and reassurance as they teach dances that emphasize self-expression, personal power, and natural movement. Women learn to dance to a full song during the 90-minute CoreMoves class, while the Signature Workshop fortifies confidence via flirtatious techniques such as sensual walking and slow-motion winking.
Aikido is the "loving protection of all beings," in the words of Morihei Ueshiba, who created the martial-arts style. Although it sometimes incorporates wooden weapons, at its heart, aikido seeks to act as a replacement for violence. Greg O'Connor, founder and chief instructor at Aikido Centers of New Jersey, brings Ueshiba's tenets to his students, who have included children and seniors, as well as members of the New Jersey State Police, the Department of Homeland Security, and the US Secret Service. O'Connor and more than 40 other instructors teach students self-defense tactics that redirect attacks, as well as more advanced methods that include wooden sword and staff training and aikido's dramatic falls and rolls.
At two locations, Top Hat Dance Studio's passionate team of nationally certified teachers inspires dancers of all skill levels to shuffle off to Buffalo while hustling, salsaing, and waltzing across the dance floor. During group lessons, skilled instructors teach guests to untangle left feet while performing intricate, stylized choreography in the Lancaster location's two-step, ballet, and West Coast swing classes or the Philadelphia location's salsa, bachata, and advanced-level chicken-dance classes. Fledgling fleetfooters can supplement group sessions with private lessons, during which feet will learn to tap out Morse-code messages to a far-away dance partner while sharpening skills with one-on-one instruction. In addition to these dance classes, instructors also specialize in preparing engaged couples for their first dance and offer a number of specially designed youth programs.
When Debra Sternberg first caught sight of Tom Koerner at the Doc Scantlin dance in 1987, she was smitten by his enthusiastic jitterbug. Though the duo's subsequent amorous relationship lasted only a year, their swing-dance partnership has lasted for decades. Together, they have jitterbugged and lindy hopped into the top spots in contests that include the 1994 UK Lindy Hop Championships, the 1998 Virginia State Open, and the 2010 National Living Legends of Swing Award.
Today, Tom and Debra pass on their expertise and passion at Gottaswing, their dance school that has expanded into eight locations throughout the United States. Each week, more than 500 students lay the six- and eight-count foundations for the jitterbug and lindy hop. Beginner, intermediate, and advanced classes meet six nights a week at various studios and dance clubs throughout the DC area, each equipped with a dance floor where students and a woman who looks suspiciously like Amelia Earhart can let loose . Four nights a week, the school invites students to join fellow classmates at events to dance along with DJ-curated tunes and live music.
Instructors at Roundhouse Martial Arts & Krav Maga equip their students with self-defense tools using martial-arts and krav maga techniques. The popular cardio-defense class features a high-intensity workout for all skill levels. The classes are available for clients of all ages, ranging from kids aged 4 and older to senior citizens.