Defensive Shooting Instructors' training staff includes Special Forces members, SWAT officials, and intelligence specialists. Drawing from these backgrounds, the highly trained team teaches dozens of public courses that cover everything from pistols to shotguns to hand-to-hand combat. Rather than guiding their students through simple lessons, the instructors run drills that simulate real-world conditions and aim to create safe-yet-intense environments. For firearms training, they travel to local ranges and put shooters through repetitive drills focused on speed, accuracy, and consistency. In addition to civilian instruction, Defensive Shooting Instructors designs courses for law enforcement officers, military members, and deploying journalists. Its staff mans a gun shop.
American MMA’s staff accomplishments include being a three-time world kickboxing champion, winning fifth place at Ms. Fitness USA, earning a fifth-degree black belt, and fighting in mixed-martial-arts matches. They bestow students with their knowledge during kickboxing and jujitsu classes. Other fitness-related workouts include Zumba and Pilates. Specialty kids' fitness classes improve gross motor skills, self-esteem, and discipline practices that can carry over into schoolwork or the top level of Tetris.
When she dances, Sarah Murray doesn't just use a pole—she incorporates more than 15 years of ballet and modern dance training. And as the owner of Impulse Pole Dance & Exotic Fitness, she doesn't just dance. She also teaches her sultry, graceful routines in the studio's pole dance sequence. It starts with basic spins and transitions in the mandatory Pole Foundations class, then progresses to more complex inversions and tricks such as The Phoenix, in which the dancer burns down her pole and builds a new one. FlyGym classes complement the pole sessions, with workouts conducted on an aerial system of swings to help tone physiques and enhance flexibility.
Belly dancing marries the subtle beauty of Middle Eastern dance with intensive core exercise; techniques focus on isolating specific muscle groups for a sultry, more flexible bod. Jewel-toned skirts swirl and flash in the studio as dancers learn the fundamental movements and techniques of artful belly dancing. Najmah Nour, one of the studio's brightest hip-swaying stars, has performed across the southeastern United States, including a storied command performance for President Carter. With a friendly approach to instruction, Najmah encourages ladies of all levels to shimmy and undulate to the seductive ping of the plucked string. Classes are scheduled weekly on Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m.
Having seen an upswing in interest in one of the world’s oldest dance styles, Johanna and Karen started a belly-dancing collective in 2004 as a way to create a community for both professionals and students and an audience for monthly showcases. They gave these enthusiasts a brick-and-mortar hangout in 2008 when they opened their first center for classes and events, which has since blossomed and moved into a new space nearly four times the size of the old studio.
Today, Hip Expressions offers drop-in and ongoing classes led by seasoned instructors. Classes focus on introducing newcomers to the art form’s fundamental isolation techniques that keep hips and waists from arguing over the remote. In addition to belly dancing, classes include a variety of other dances and fitness crazes such as Zumba, yoga for dancers, or active isolated stretching.
Bay Area International Latin Events' owner and instructor Greg "DJ Muevete" Richardson leads up to 24 students through the sultry steps of salsa, merengue, and bachata at scenic St. Pete Pier. Over six weeks, 50-minute classes explore the fundamental steps, rhythm, and Telemundo advertisements that compose Latin choreography. Each week's class builds on the last week's steps, with a 25-minute private lesson ensuring couples fully master the flirtatious footwork of each dance. Drop-in classes offer couples a flexible way to experience the partnered promenade of salsa, teaching students basic skills and rhythms and preparing them for Salsa II courses, where they learn the leading and following techniques that distinguish all great dancers and Simon Says champions.