The consortium of professional instructors at Fred Astaire Dance Studios, which was cofounded by the legendary toe tapper himself, shepherds students of all ages and skill levels through lessons that span the style spectrum. Low-pressure private sessions allow enthusiastic teachers to fine-tune individual students' techniques and form, using their expert eyes and mechanical dancing shoes preprogrammed to do the Charleston. Patrons can learn how to cavort through classic waltz and fox-trot romps or swivel through the modern steps of salsa, swing, or samba. For dancers hoping to hoof it up in a social setting, the group practice parties provide a one-night extravaganza of instruction, demonstrations, and amateur firewalking.
Growing up in the home of a professional wrestler, siblings Gina Abramson and Joseph Robledo were surrounded by varying pathways to fitness. However, though they understood the importance of a steady workout regimen, they couldn't seem to muster a long-term commitment to any of them. That was before they found Zumba's energizing dance routines.
Today, they run Move! as a nonjudgmental space for others in search of the exercise equivalent of their soulmate, whether it's Zumba, hip-hop, or the studio’s blend of yoga and Pilates. Their instructors—including a former cheerleader and a certified personal trainer—choreograph classes that accommodate all experience levels. They also schedule eight-week salsa programs, which lead beginners in dance-step fundamentals such as executing well-timed turns or constructing a Robocop suit, only for dancing instead of crime fighting.
Since the first ballet shoe touched down on its floor in 1966, Studio 10 Dance Center has fostered the talents of many students, and many of these students went on to develop successful dance careers. The seriousness and professionalism that readies these students is due in large part to Pat Holbrook. Holbrook has owned for the studio for more than four decades and served as its artistic director for almost two. She's danced with the Texas Civic Ballet Company and the New York Opera, choreographed for myriad musicals, and served as a judge in renowned competitions. She's incredibly active in the dance community, but in her own words, "Studio 10 Dance Center is not just a business to Pat. It is her life!"
Chi Chi Randolph has choreographed routines for hip-hop artists including Nelly and the Black Eyed Peas. Kari Lehman has 15 years of ballet training experience. Viviane Bressan turned her love of belly dance into a career, traversing the globe while teaching and performing the ancient art. At Dance Austin Studio, these three number among more than a dozen dance instructors whose dazzlingly diverse backgrounds enable an array of classes for everyone from preschoolers to grownups and fitness buffs to serious students of dance.
Zumba combines fast-paced cardio choreography with dynamic Latin rhythms, and the 18-and-older Sexy Stiletto Fit class uses high heels to tone calves and build confidence. Students can choose to learn fundamental positions, steps, and vocabulary during structured ballet, lyrical, and jazz programs, or they can develop video-ready swagger during hip-hop classes. The studio’s sense of fun occasionally spills out into the community—it recently teamed up with the city’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management to spark a flash mob at city hall, held to raise awareness of emergency preparedness and help officials practice what to do if invaded by dancing aliens.
Inner Diva gets ladies safely twirling with a staff of certified personal trainers and professional dancers during dance-fitness classes that tone bodies and transform cores into upper-body powerhouses. Ranging from beginner to advanced, pole-dancing classes build balance, control, and core strength as ladies move through choreographed spins and hoist themselves aloft with gripping moves. Other classes sacrifice the pole but none of the sultry steps by encouraging ladies to dress up in their favorite pair of heels or ankle-length Victorian bathing suits for choreographed burlesque or hip-hop sessions.
The practice space also rents out the studio for 90-minute private parties. Along the hardwood floor and its outcropping of 10 poles, revelers celebrate everything from birthdays to girls' night out. Instructors lead a class of your choice, and every attendee, just like every successfully appointed Supreme Court justice, gets a free feathered boa.