Though Sue Harragan and Tawnya Christian discovered barre workouts on opposite coasts, a mutual love of fitness and their desire to help others achieve their "best self" brought them together in Las Vegas. The business partners now helm Barre Las Vegas, a studio that strengthens hearts, cores, and limbs with ballet-inspired barre workouts. Upbeat music fuels each session, during which students line up at the barre and perform a routine of precise dance-training moves that blend yoga poses, Pilates exercises, and orthopedic stretching. While patrons burn calories during bouts of fat-burning interval training, they also increase their flexibility and tone their muscles, making their bodies as lithe and lively as a break-dancing slinky. In addition to leading barre classes, the motivating instructors push students toward their fitness goals with workout-enhancing tools such as TRX suspension-training straps.
Julie Johnston founded Boot Camp Las Vegas in 2005, when?after unsuccessfully trying to lose 60 pounds through a battery of exercise techniques?she considered enlisting in the military solely for the physical challenge and camaraderie. Upon reconsideration, she decided to reclaim some turf from the lazy birds in nearby parks and stage her own workouts to build the physical and mental toughness she knew she was capable of developing. Today, a team of instructors?all certified personal trainers who have completed 64 days of boot-camp training?preaches Johnston's program to exercisers of all fitness levels. To help monitor and maximize workouts, they stage weigh-ins, take measurements, perform physical-fitness tests, and dish out a nutrition packet to shed light on healthy eating.
It's Wednesday and a group of newcomers shuffles into an empty fitness studio. Some anxiously fidget with their fingers as they see the professional floor where they'll be dancing, and others take deep breaths and stretch out their limbs like they've done countless times at the gym. This motley mix of strangers is what Gwenda Hansen envisioned when she founded Be Bad Hip Hop.
Hansen, who struggled with weight as a young adult and started choreographing when she was 13 years old, shares her Be Bad Hip Hop dance-fitness routines in a supportive, accepting, and empowering environment. As the infectious melodies of Top 40 music escape the sound system's quarantine and fill the communal space, newcomers relax into the easy-to-follow moves, and regulars of all ages lose themselves in the hourlong sequence of club-style, hip-hop shimmies and shakes led by Hansen or one of her skilled instructors.
Arthur Murray has been a leading name in franchise 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. 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 and timing, then progressing to more complicated patterns.
While most of the other instructors at Dance Charisma began dancing as children, the center's director, Nancy Nies, took a different approach in life. A lawyer, she served as a judge-advocate general in the Air Force, and didn't start dancing until her mid 30s. But once she started, she fell in love with the art form and began training with national dance champions, eventually medaling at the US Dance Championships.
Her path proves that anyone passionate about dancing can learn, so she began Dance Charisma, where youths and adults gather to learn dances as varied as salsa, swing, and waltz. No partner is necessary, but couples can take lessons to make a splash during their wedding. Those without wedding receptions to show off their newly learned moves can come to the weekly dance parties, where dancers with all levels of experience practice and socialize.
Bikram Yoga Westside's 14 instructors all have athletic or artistic backgrounds, which they use to inform hot-yoga classes taught for the studio's students of all skill levels. During each 90-minute session, instructors guide the class through Bikram yoga's 26 poses in a heated studio kept toasty warm at 105 degrees to help detoxify, increase circulation, and improve flexibility. After class, patrons can wash away their sweat in the studio's men's and women's locker rooms, which are outfitted with showers, electronic lockers, and hair dryers. The studio provides towel and mat rentals for students who prefer to use theirs as tasteful home furnishings. For safety and purity, the studio also runs double-filtered water through its showers and sinks.