Rouhi Savoji emigrated to the U.S. in 1995 for more than just a change of scenery. She wanted to share her passion for belly dancing and Persian dance, which she first discovered in a dance club in her native Tehran at age 16 and would continue to refine through a heralded dance career that included performing for the Shah of Iran and acting in plays, movies, and television shows. Her globe-spanning experience is on full display at Rouhi Dance Studio, where she and her talented troupe of dance instructors teach classes that unlock styles including salsa, hip-hop, Zumba, country-western, Argentinean tango, belly dancing, and Persian dance for kids and adults. Her studio also houses a clothing boutique, where dancers can outfit themselves with shimmery costumes and sashes that can help them stand out on the dance floor or earn a boy-scout badge for improvised semaphore.
Woodland Hills Athletic Club's enthusiastic trainers strive to cultivate a friendly atmosphere in which patrons can reach their fitness goals and achieve healthy lifestyles. Patrons pump up their muscles with free weights and boost their endurance on cardio equipment, including Star Trac elliptical machines, treadmills, and stationary bikes with mounted TVs. The clean facility also features a spinning room with Spinner NXT bikes and a fitness room packed with physio balls and punching bags that peevishly throw out insults about your mother. A team of fitness instructors motivates and monitors movements during personal-training sessions—helping patrons get fit with one-on-one exercise and nutrition tips—and a bevy of standard, cycling, and premium classes, which require an additional fee. After exercisers break a sweat, glassfuls of replenishing concoctions await them at the juice-and-smoothie bar.
Director Marianne Van Etten and her troupe of instructors help to inject steps with traditional American and international rhythms during interrelated lessons. The curriculum helps students of all experience levels to confidently navigate the dance floor without surgically removing a second left foot. Three-hour weekend workshops immerse students in the instruction of swing, Latin, and smooth techniques in one dose, and group classes gather guests for 55 minute sessions in styles including yoga and children's ballroom. Classes unfold inside the air-conditioned studio, which accommodates up to 75 dancers atop its spring-loaded wood floor. Further inspiring lofty steps, a stereo sound system floods the space, which overlooks views of mountainous terrain symbolizing the uphill battle faced when tangoing with both hands tied behind your back.
Born to a Moroccan family, Sagit got her start on stage at the age of 5, assisting her father during his magic shows. Though she continued to hone her stage presence, her interests shifted to belly dance at the age of 12, leading her to make a career of performing across the globe. Sagit eventually settled down in California to raise a family, but she has continued to share her passion for dance through more than a decade of teaching.
Her classes at Belly Dance 4 Fitness focus on easy-to-learn routines that can accomodate women whose only previous dance experience is the Hokey Pokey. The low-impact classes provide full-body cardio workouts that also increase muscle tone and self-confidence.