A flock of tired dancers traipse out of the studio, their ballet shoes brushing the floor in hushed footfalls as they head off to change. On their way, they pass members of the next class, dressed in yoga pants and sweatshirts. Clear-eyed and hungry, the new group stretches. Thumping hip-hop beats fill the room, and, with only a moment's hesitation, they launch into the first of many energetic routines that will fill that session. This is the way of life at The Beat Dance Academy, where owner Amanda Sizemore and her instructors live by a simple motto: dance is the only form of art “where the artist is also the masterpiece.”
To mold their artists into graceful and strong works of art, instructors teach classes in 15 dance and fitness styles that range from lyrical to Pilates. A combo class encourages children ages 2-5 to move with rhythm and timing, while adult jazz classes unlock the body isolations, leaping, and technical steps fortify the genre’s fundamentals. Meanwhile, aerial classes invite nimble bodies to balance and twirl on a suspended silk or hoop, using their muscles to stay off the ground without calling upon their latent powers of flight.
Teaching the art of movement to students as young as 20 months, the instructors at Soulfire Studios welcome pupils of all ages to embrace the expressive, aerobic and fun aspects of dance. Their signature program, StoryDance, is designed to get kids aged up to 7 moving in one of four dance styles while exercising their imaginations with fairy-tale scenarios and pantomime opportunities. Adults choose between beginner, intermediate, and professional classes. Students ages 8-18 choose from a number of multi-level ballet classes, including one that uses a curriculum created by the specialists at the American Ballet Theatre. To get their hearts pumping, students also sign up for Jazz dance and high-octane Zumba sessions.
In 1887, 17-year-old Italian immigrant Salvatore Capezio moved to New York to sell theatrical shoes, opening his first shop near the old Metropolitan Opera House. Of course, he quickly found himself dealing with the intense demands of the professional dancers that frequented the store, and Capezio began challenging himself to master the delicate balance and construction of pointe shoes. By the 1930s, his designs carried dancers across the stages of Broadway, and innovations bearing his name continue to appear today in such television and film productions as Dancing with the Stars and Black Swan. Committed to the needs of performers in dance, theater, and recreation, the Capezio team continues to fulfill young Sal's legacy by crafting footwear for ballet, tap, and ballroom dancing, and gymnastics.