Arlene Santos’s love of dance has been a constant her entire life, starting as a childhood curiosity and transforming into a lifestyle. Since founding Lumina Academy of Dance in 2003, Santos has created a salsa curriculum that leads small groups through basic steps to advanced, performance-ready moves, all with an emphasis on salsa as a social dance. At her studio, she invites dancers to come with or without a partner and start at any experience level before she turns them loose at parties. Her classes emphasize lead-and-follow techniques, and she encourages her students to rotate partners so they can practice with various statures, experience levels, and numbers of feet. To complement the grace and rhythm of her dance classes, Ms. Santos also offers exercise-based classes such as yoga and hip-hop boot camp, which combines sweat-inducing moves with invigorating music.
It's Wednesday night. As workers across the city face the prospect of another hum-drum commute, a select few make their way to corner of Allen and Casa Grande. There, instead of enduring the scenes of gridlock, these students of movement immerse themselves in the sounds and steps of Latin America. They're met by Lumina Academy's seasoned instructors, who've created a salsa curriculum that leads small groups through basic steps to advanced, performance-ready moves, all with an emphasis on salsa as a social dance.
Whether they come with or without a partner, students of all experience levels gain familiarity and skill during small group sessions before showing off their newly acquired moves at parties. Classes emphasize lead-and-follow techniques, with instructors encouraging students to rotate partners so they can practice with various statures, skill levels, and numbers of feet.
In addition to salsa, the school specializes in other dance styles ranging from stately flamenco to hypnotic belly-dancing. To complement the grace and rhythm of their dance classes, instructors also offer exercise-based classes such as yoga and hip-hop boot camp, which combines sweat-inducing moves with invigorating music.
This clean, modern studio offers 1,100 square feet of smooth hardwood floors, enabling enthusiastic rug cutting or slicing of welcome mats into tiny shreds. An impressive roster of instructors shepherds youthful lambs and aged cloven hooves through a selection of dance styles. Plié through Perry Brown’s classical ballet class, or learn the more relaxed style of modern dance with courses based on both the expressive Limón-based technique and the athletic Horton-based method. Bouncy big-banders and frenetic be-boppers can explore jazz-dance fundamentals with contemporary jazz teacher Joseph Decker, who has choreographed stage productions of Cabaret and Little Shop of Horrors, among others. Mix and match classes to sample the colors of dance, like biting into a crayon sandwich. Morning and evening classes are held Monday through Thursday and morning classes only on Saturday and Sunday; check out the schedule for a complete list of times.
Helmed by professor and capoeira expert Muito Tempo, Capoeira Batuque Pasadena fills with the rhythms that drive the fast-paced sport. In group classes, instructors introduce the fundamentals of capoeira, which fuses the moves of martial arts, the rhythmic and collaborative elements of dance, and the circular formation of Duck, Duck, Goose into a vibrant and aerobic form of exercise. Classes consist of two participants dancing around each other in the middle of the circle, exchanging movements of attack and defense in a frenzied but controlled flow. The classes maintain their lively pace by fueling the acrobatic movements with music heavy in complex, quick polyrhythms played on a range of traditional percussion instruments.