As soon as you set foot in the studio at Madrasat al Raqs Denise Cultural Center, it feels as if you’ve entered an exotic palace. Gauzy backlit fabric billows overhead like the inside of a circus tent, illuminating floor-to-ceiling mirrors.
The onsite merchandise bazaar carries belly-dancing costumes and accessories, including veils, zills, and scarves to help students immerse themselves in Middle Eastern culture.
The paradise has been delivering seminars throughout the US and Canada since 2004 and has featured among its instructors some of the top names in the MMA world including Chuck Liddell, Matt Hughes, BJ Penn, Matt Serra, Dan Henderson, Cung Le, Sobral Babalu, Jon Jones, Rashad Evans, Bas Rutten and many more.
As the principal instructor at Blue Starz Productions, Miss Michelle's teaching credentials are backed by an impressive résumé of industry experience, including stints touring with pop acts and dancing as an original member of the LA Follies chorus line. She and her staff share their expertise with kids as young as 16 months during dance and theater classes. Be it a hip-hop, ballet, or show-choir class, wee ones develop the skills necessary to build self-confidence, nail an audition, and become the shortest Rockette ever.
From authentic, artistic belly dance to cardio-driven TAProbics, Anisa has been teaching and performing a wide variety of Belly Dance for more than four decades. Over the years, the School of Dance has grown to include dance styles with Spanish and Argentinean influences, plus modern dance, ballet, jazz, tap, and LaBlast. In addition to these traditional genres that are the studio's focus, it teaches contemporary dances that boost cardiovascular activity, including Zumba and Jazzercise. The goal is to make dance accessible to everyone; the schedule offers evening and weekend classes to accommodate working students.
In 2003, the teaching staffs behind the Butler-Fearon and the O?Connor-Kennedy Schools realized something: though both academies nurtured the physical, mental, and competitive skills of scores of young Irish dancers, they could form a more robust program by combining forces. Once united, the team of Rose Fearon, Vincent O?Connor, and Kathleen O?Connor?each a certified Irish dance adjudicator?implemented a revised curriculum reaching students from both American coasts to the solid-ice skyscrapers of Ontario. Today, Butler-Fearon-O'Connor trains everyone from girls buckling their jig shoes for the first time to experienced adults, many of whom?such as 2011 world champion Emily Penner?have danced competitively at home or across the pond and landed spots on touring companies for shows such as Riverdance.
Focusing on perfecting traditional form and technique, classes are kept as small as possible, ensuring personalized attention from one of the school's 10 experienced, decorated instructors. Students also learn stamina, flexibility, and presentation, with an emphasis on avoiding motions that tend to draw judges' ire, such as clumsy arm placement and badgering the audience. Many locations also host more casual classes for adults and groups such as Girl Scout troops.