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.
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.
Dance District straightens out pairs of left feet with instruction in a variety of dance styles, including ballroom, salsa, disco, tango, and swing. With this deal, clients will get a one-hour private dance lesson from one of Dance District's dexterous instructors. Hit the private lesson solo to hone your skills with one-on-one attention or bring along a sweetie for no additional cost. Having spent 60 minutes conquering the two-headed beast of rhythm and coordination, guests will be eligible for two supervised practice dance sessions, held on Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m. Each two-hour practice session is overseen by a Dance District instructor, ensuring that pitfalls and bad habits are both side- and box-stepped. This Groupon also grants clients access to a Dance District dance party, held on the last Friday of each month. The 2.5-hour dance party brings together an armada of earnest movers and shakers, expanding guests' social circles through the unbridled power of dance and mutual interest in raspberry jam.
By the end of the day, a steady stream of kids aged 3–12 have pirouetted, leaped, and popped and locked their way out of each of Dance Kids Canada's studios, but the teachers ensure they take a few other things with them. In carrying out the studio's mission of making dance lessons accessible to all, they use the medium as a means for pupils to get early starts on arts education, hone leadership and social skills, and encourage open-mindedness. Their students develop character in classes, summer camps, and birthday parties. At the end of each class session, friends and family gather while the kids show off during recitals.