For the staff at Cathy's Dance Studio, dance instruction is about more than just perfecting a tap routine or executing a proper pas de chat. It's also about building character. Each session encourages young people to bond, gain confidence, and form enduring friendships in a noncompetitive environment. This has been a part of the school's mission ever since Miss Cathy Dooley founded it in 1956, with the aim of sharing the joy of dance with aspiring students throughout Queens. Under the direction of Miss Michelle–who studied under such legends as Gregory Hines and Brenda Bufalino–this tradition continues. For over 57 years, the studio's combination of quality instruction and friendly atmosphere has earned it accolades from sources from tap legend Charles "Honi" Coles to Mayor Bloomberg. Students commute from all five boroughs to attend its ballet, jazz, hip hop, and tap classes and show off cutting-edge moves at an extravagant year-end gala performance.
Choreographing the much-beloved tango scene in Scent of a Woman is a shining point on anyone's resum?. For Paul Pellicoro, it is one of many distinctions awarded to him and his staff of professional dance instructors at DanceSport, the go-to studio for Latin and ballroom dance. Their choreography and performance work has graced the diverse sound and theater stages of The Today Show, A River Runs Through It, and the Harlem Jazz Dance Festival, among many others. Their lessons have benefited Chris Cuomo and Good Morning America anchors Diane Sawyer and Robin Roberts.
Rousing group classes take place across nine air-conditioned studios, each one outfitted with a wood-sprung floor carved from an oak tree wearing a tutu. Whether leading these sessions, helping couples prepare their wedding dance, or contributing to charitable causes such as Gilda's Club, Big Brothers Big Sisters, or Night For Ni?os, DanceSport's sure-footed staff flourishes with skill, patience, and compassion.
At The Ball NY Dance Studios, a team of dance instructors strives to motivate dancers of all skill levels to achieve flawless motion and timing on the dance floor. Up to 150 people per class gather throughout three separate ballrooms, each of which is fully mirrored, features professional Dura Dance sprung floors, and is free of obstructive columns attempting to cut in with your partner. The studio’s variety of classes range from traditional ballroom- and Latin-dance classes to wedding-dance lessons and dance-fitness sessions. The studio also houses a boutique with dance wear and costumes, in addition to a café with a private business center, where students can check their email, make calls, or send Morse-code messages via tap dance.
The Nuyorican Poets Cafe began in 1973 as a literary get-together in the living room of college professor and celebrated scribe Miguel Algarin. By 1975, sick of cleaning up dangling clauses left all over his house, Algarin began renting the Sunshine Café to give local writers and performers a venue to develop their craft. In 1980, the non-profit organization moved to its current home in a century-old tenement on East Third.
Today, the Nuyorican Poets Cafe plays a crucial, street-level role in New York's art scene. Randomly selected audience members judge weekly poetry slams, and the venue plays host to small theatrical productions on many Thursdays through Sundays. Other evenings may feature hip-hop concerts, snappy Latin jazz, and freewheeling open mic nights.
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 foxtrot 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.
Founded by 25-year music- and dance-industry veteran Safi Thomas, The Hip-Hop Dance Conservatory instills the values of professionalism and hard work through the art of hip-hop dance. The instructors hold an encyclopedic knowledge of hip-hop history and technique, which means they can fill the intensive conservatory program with sessions in everything from choreography to kinesiology to the technical aspects of production. Weekly open classes extend the teaching staff?s knowledge to the community, ensuring that everyone can at least follow along once all political debates have been replaced with dance contests.