Leigh Ann grew up as an actor who was also an athlete: when she was offstage, the SoCal native dove off springboards, jumped hurdles, and fought on the kickboxing mat. Her knack for blending art with athleticism led her to found BeSpun at the age of 25. Leigh Ann competes and receives top honors at national and regional pole-dance competitions, and she has produced and starred in a series of instructional DVDs.
At BeSpun, Leigh Ann and her fellow instructors—also pole-dance champions—teach an extensive array of classes that include single-session and multiweek workshops. Classes’ subject matter ranges from beginners' lessons to master workshops led by special guests. There’s also open-studio time, as well as classes that focus on specialties such as spinning, stretching, and whittling your own pole from a chrome tree trunk. Instructors focus on leading thorough sessions that use time efficiently, and they’re committed to blending fitness with dance training. A lighthearted FAQ page answers potential questions while giving a taste of the studio’s fun-loving atmosphere.
A 30-year old institution situated in bustling West Hollywood, 3rd Street Dance rolls out a fleet of private and group lessons from its packed schedule that garnered the title of Best Ballroom-Dance Studio in 2009 from LA Weekly. Students study styles such as salsa, ballroom, and swing during 55-minute group and private lessons, where they put their new skills to use in one of five naturally lit studio spaces accented with sprung hardwood floors and wall-to-wall mirrors. Small class sizes ensure that fledgling twirlers receive individual attention from friendly, handpicked instructors and lessen the chances of tangoing with unresponsive walls. 3rd Street Dance's rentable spaces were the home studio of Dancing with the Stars and So You Think You Can Dance for four years, and they remain a go-to spot for wedding-dance practice.
Most gyms don't limit their membership enrollment, which is why Meridian's Bodies in Motion does. By managing their member count, the workout areas are less crowded and visitors can step right up to machines without wasting precious calorie-burning minutes waiting in line. The staff can focus on keeping the facility clean and getting acquainted with clients, adding personal touches such as greeting members by name every time they enter and swipe their membership card, which means "hello" in several languages.
At each facility, a team of certified fitness instructors encourages exercise efforts during an array of group classes, including Zumba, spin, yoga, Pilates, kickboxing, and cross-training. The certified personal trainers devise customized workout routines and monitor exercisers' forms as they carve muscles lifting free weights and slim down on cardio and strength-training equipment from Icarian, Hammer Strength, Precor, and FreeMotion. Special features—such as racquetball courts, swimming pools, saunas, indoor basketball courts, boxing rings, childcare, and cuddly kitten pits—vary depending on location.
The certified instructors at PoleMoves invented a curriculum that's highly personalized in order to rectify the most common complaints about pole-fitness studios. They sort their students into clearly delineated levels for small group and private lessons, conducting regular assessments so that advanced practitioners need not repeat quizzes about which way is up. By devoting individual attention to their students, who each get their own 12.5-foot pole during class, they foster a supportive environment for shedding inhibitions.
The studio's courses cover basic pole-dancing techniques, the advanced inversions and tricks of METHOD classes, stretch-and-strengthen conditioning, and the meditative rhythms of NIA. During specialized workshops, instructors might demonstrate chair-dancing choreography or tips for aspiring teachers on planning their routines. The staff's mission is to highlight the legitimacy and accessibility of their gravity-defying art, and they've been recognized for doing so by the American Council on Exercise, AFAA, and the American Pole Fitness Association.
Regardless of dress size or dance background, each woman who enters one of The Secret Pole Dance Studios becomes a part of a supportive community. At both the original Culver City studio and the brand new Hawthorne location, instructors dish out compliments as they guide women through choreographed fitness routines, empowering dancers to overcome inhibitions and let loose along the way. During the Pole Diva and Sensual Movement classes, instructors also encourage camaraderie, occasionally breaking participants into groups and have them perform for one another. Though it may seem intimidating, this opportunity to show off in front of a nurturing audience provides students with the opportunity to build self-esteem.
In addition to boosting mental fortitude, the studio's sensual fitness routines also build physical strength; pole-dancing classes sculpt arms and cores, and chair-dancing classes firm up glutes, quads, and newly emerged dorsal fins. Classes unfold in the studios or on location, but the fun doesn't necessarily end once the imaginary bell rings; groups of gals can even reserve the spaces for private dance parties.
Old, tired, and done: these words are banished from Martha Weinstein's vocabulary. The energetic 87-year-old's career, which includes hosting makeover shows in Buenos Aires, recording a fitness album in the 1950s, and penning skincare encyclopedias in the 1970s, adds evidence to the adage that you are as young as you feel. She brings this belief to Body Allure Day Spa, an intimate beauty haven.
Here, Weinstein and her skilled staffers—who nicknamed her "The Oracle of Brentwood"—employ anti-aging facials and signature skincare services, detoxifying body treatments, and soothing lullabies to foster youthful complexions. But the real rejuvenating secret on the menu is the facial toning treatment, which Weinstein invented herself. This painless, 30-minute service utilizes nanocurrent technology, which works to stimulate cellular activity while strengthening facial muscles and firming sagging skin. Weinstein also created the Stay Young System, which allows her clients to perform the treatment in the privacy of their own homes or carpool lanes.