The passionate, experienced instructors at Tonawanda Dance Arts, which houses two air-conditioned studios, transform pint-size fumblers of any skill level into prima ballerinas with a bevy of enriching classes. Dancers can choose from a blossoming assortment of styles, opting for the rigorous-yet-graceful ballet, the passionate and expressive lyrical, or the stoic and dignified standing still. Hosts of classes populate Tonawanda’s busy schedule, allowing budding Fred Astaires to express themselves in myriad manifestations.
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. Clients who arrive to lessons partnerless will be paired up with other classmates as the instructors assess their current skill level and make recommendations on the most appropriate program. 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, timing, and the ability to lead or follow.
"I try to make my students tap into their inner child," says Suzy Miller. "Just be silly and have fun!" As the owner of Suzy's Jazzyobics, she brings that philosophy to each 70-minute class that she teaches. Of course, just because she focuses on fun doesn't mean she's not leading serious exercise classes. She infuses the cardiovascular workout with muscle-toning and metabolism-enhancing variations, helping students improve balance, flexibility, and coordination, all while they burn calories.
Equipment: No equipment
Students should bring: Bottle for water, exercise mat,
Average class length: 60-90 minutes
Number of Staff: 1?5
Class location: Indoors only
Registration required: No
Good for beginners: Yes
Guests allowed: Yes
Parking: Parking lot
Studio owner Zahra aims to help empower the women she works with, whether she?s helming her annual makeup drive for a local women?s shelter or while teaching the sinuous art of belly dance at her studio. Since 2001, her Zahra?s School of Dance has helped women celebrate their bodies, with special workshops led by international belly dance icons in addition to her regularly scheduled classes and workshops. In all classes, instructors teach graceful moves that centre on the lower body and focus on the waist and hips. Higher-level courses incorporate props such as veils and tambourines, eschewing the most basic belly-dancing prop, a T-shirt with six-pack abs drawn on it. Specialty classes, meanwhile, may combine belly dancing with various different dance genres. Most of these are age-appropriate for kids.
Toronto Dance Salsa's roster of instructors and more than 70 dance volunteers spin, twirl, and dip more than 5,000 students each year, from both its 1,600-square-foot main studio atop the North York Civic Centre subway and three other area locations. During lessons, instructors concentrate on teaching pairs and singles leading-following skills, as well as basic body movement and styling. While all instructors have their speciality, they all share a passion for dance that kicked-started their careers, and—for many of them—led to performing as well as teaching. An even male-female ratio is emphasized during classes, with experienced volunteers able to jump in and exude a level of comfort and knowledge usually reserved for sweatsuit-clad professors.
To complement the artistic side of the studio, Toronto Dance Salsa also features a full roster of strengthening, conditioning, calorie-burning fitness classes. With a flexible schedule that includes morning, lunchtime, and evening classes, the DayFit program grants students of any schedule with energizing workouts. Power yoga and hatha yoga classes boost flexibility while centering the mind, and Core Fusion melds the ancient art of yoga with the core benefits of Pilates. True to its dance roots, the studio also offers Zumba, a Latin-dance infused class designed to burn calories through invigorating music.