Arthur Murray Dance Studio 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.
Within Stone Age Rock Gym's indoor facility, 4,500 square feet of textured climbing walls help visitors ascend to new heights. Bouldering, 32-foot lead routes, and top-rope climbing areas await gym guests, surrounding them in technicolor handholds that creep up the walls at challenging angles. Elsewhere, a simulated ice-climbing wall absorbs the blows of axes, and a gear shop preps climbers to ascend walls with the dexterity of Spiderman.
A staff of certified guides lead classes that teach students as young as 6 the fundamental skills needed to ascend simulated peaks. Alternatively, the experts head up guided climbing trips to sites across the state. They help eager climbers scale the 30-foot Wolf Rock in Mansfield Hollow and reach the Sasquatch hugs awaiting them atop Ragged Mountain's 120-foot cliff.
Pole For The Mind, Body, and Soul's staff teaches pole-dancing workouts and other flirty fitness classes to tone and tighten the entire body. Spirited instructors certified in CPR and first aid lead one-hour pole-dancing sessions, imparting the know-how to perform graceful spins, strength-building moves, and more tricks than a skateboarder who can pull a rabbit from a beanie. Each student works out on her own X-Pole Xpert pole, whose 50 millimeters of shiny chrome inspire sultry twirls and R2-D2 impressions. The maximum of nine spinners per class ensures that participants nab personalized tips on form and safety. The studio also bolsters bodies with relaxing candlelight-yoga sessions and fun-filled Zumba classes that torch calories during an hour of sultry, Latin-inspired dance moves.
Eric Jutras, a personal trainer and an experienced strength-training specialist, helps clients to build lean, strong muscle and ironclad confidence at Advanced Core Training Tactics. As one of the exercise gurus on NBC 30’s The Biggest Loser Connecticut, Jutras has helped exercisers to shed pounds with an approach known as tactical awareness combat conditioning. The studio’s boot-camp classes challenge guests by combining weight-wielding exercises with aerobic movements and agility training. Students sweat as they develop sinew, speed, and stamina, meeting fitness goals through workouts tailored to leverage strengths and pulley weaknesses into submission.
Court House Fitness & Wellness boasts more than 40,000 square feet of conditioning facilities and equipment, as well as an array of tailored wellness programs, supplying gym-goers with a direct conduit to a healthy lifestyle. A sprawling floor of free weights, cardio equipment, and strength machines allows visitors to fly solo. Group fitness instructors lead more than 110 classes a week, including the Latin calorie conquistador Zumba and mind-body benders yoga and Pilates. Basketball, volleyball, and racquetball courts sing their competitive siren songs to athletic passers-by, and an 86-degree pool hosts an array of rousingly submersible activities. During the four one-on-one personal-training sessions, certified muscle-molders develop an exercise routine, teach proper form, and push clients to succeed at their fitness goals. The gym keeps the same hours of operation for every day on the Gregorian and Mischievous Kitten calendars.
Visitors never have to wait in line to workout at Cardio Express—each of the six clubs boasts a ton of Cybex strength-training machinery, an arsenal of free weights, and more than 80 pieces of cardio equipment affixed with personal 15-inch television screens. Compassionate instructors imbue gym visits with a human element as well, leading classes such as Core Fusion, Total Tone circuit training, and spinning sessions at the Southington, Vernon, and Manchester locations. Each year, the staff members carry the same motivational energy they use in their studios to recruit members and friends for the Multiple Sclerosis Bike Tour. Cardio Express has raised a grand total of nearly $400,000, and it also acts as title sponsor for the 2012 benefit.