Amid the illuminated signs, speedo-clad cowboys, and web-slinging superheroes of Times Square, it can become difficult to stand out. Ral’eau Salsa Dance Company, one of the neighborhood’s many businesses, has just the solution—teaching students to express themselves through a variety of energetic, sensual dances that originated in Latin America and calorie-torching Zumba classes. Teachers demonstrate the steps of New York- and LA-style salsa with patience and positivity, using easy-to-follow cues to help students master each swivel, spin, and air-guitar solo. They also teach other styles of movement, including tango, hip-hop, and swing, which students can take to the streets during field trips to dance clubs and cruise ships.
In addition to hosting signature Salsa classes, Ral’eau Salsa Dance Company opens its spacious, climate-controlled studios to those who want to tone muscles and burn fat through Zumba classes. Fostering a community of 1,000-plus members, the company hosts more than 300 classes per month across various disciplines while maintaining intimate class sizes. With five levels of progressive advancement, students will meet new people, improve dancing techniques, boost self-esteem, and stay fit while swiveling their moves in a lively environment. To accompany a wide array of fitness classes including pilates, yoga, and mixed martial arts, instructors lead private dance lessons to help couples gear up for weddings, proms, or three-legged races on the set of Soul Train.
Zack’s Dance Loft’s founder draws inspiration from the Latin and ballroom dance styles popular in the Big Apple. Back when he worked as a financial analyst at PricewaterhouseCoopers, Zack began teaching Latin dance at the company. Now that he’s founded his own business replete with a spacious studio sporting oversize mirrors on the walls and a floating dance hardwood floor, Zack and his staff train clientele in salsa, wedding dance, pole dance, and more.
Happy hour classes begin with an open bar and provide an hour of dance instruction in salsa, swing, tango, or other styles. The sessions conclude with socializing and drinks, much like ballet recitals or successful heart surgeries. Throughout each workshop, Zack cultivates a casual atmosphere. In 2006, he told New York magazine he often makes friends with his students, and the magazine went on to declare that his “private lessons are as technically sound as anyone’s—and way looser and more fun.”
Since its founding 15 years ago, Synergy Fitness has advocated for wholesome lifestyle changes through rounded programs and guidance. Rather than setting their members adrift in a sea of befuddling equipment, their nationally certified lifestyle coaches equip them with the planning tools to forge healthy habits both during and beyond workouts. Their advice can cover exercise, nutrition, and endurance, emphasizing the importance of variety in any health regimen. They keep abreast of the abreast of the fitness world's most recent developments with mandatory classes in their areas of specialization—which include diet, yoga, and MMA.
On the gym floor, machines from Hammer Strength and Life Fitness whir along with limbs, and individual television screens on some machines threaten patrons with footage of their grade-school choir solos if they don't keep jogging. Group fitness classes at certain locations take advantage of indoor cycles and boot-camp drills to condition physiques, and MMA programs tutor muay thai, kickboxing, and jujitsu.
A right jab to the jaw sends a mist of perspiration across the blue boxing ring before Joe Louis's eyes. His looming visage peers down at sparring athletes from the walls covered in old flyers, magazine cutouts, and posters recalling the sport's storied history at Church Street Boxing Gym. Legends including Evander Holyfield and Lennox Lewis have trained here, but the staff, which boasts experience in more than 300 combined fights, guides men, women, and children of all skill levels in the combat arts.
Instructors lead muay thai, jujitsu, boxing, and wrestling classes, during which they challenge students in old-school and modern workouts. On the wrestling mat, they demonstrate gripping an opponent in a headlock, and those training for boxing or muay thai skip rope and pummel heavy bags until they agree to stop throwing fights. Athletes can attend classes to prepare for serious combat competition or to get in shape with exercises designed to sculpt the whole body.
Drawing on big- and small-screen success, such as appearances in Tom Selleck's Her Alibi and on Late Show with David Letterman, as well as more than 25 national commercials, acting guru Mark Stolzenberg transforms amateurs into screen-savvy performers at the New York Acting School for Film and Television. Thespians hone their acting chops through monologues, improvisations, and cold readings in Mark's classes, preparing for time spent on television or the big screen. Essentials classes introduce neophyte film actors to the intricacies of playing to the camera, whereas advanced pupils refine their techniques by co-starring in a two-person short film directed by Stolzenberg, learning to handle more difficult scene work and larger crowds of crazed fans. For more targeted practice, Mark hosts one-on-one, on-camera coaching sessions to prep audition material or monologues for upcoming performances.
With more than three dozen instructors leading more than 100 classes each week, New York Yoga requires more than a little elbow room. And so the business splits its classic-yoga and hot-yoga classes into separate studios, ensuring its throngs of beginner and advanced students have enough room to really stretch out. The separation also allows the 85th and Lexington location to keep itself programmed to 105 degrees at all times, helping students boost their stamina and discouraging abominable snowmen from loitering around the exits. Restorative classes forgo strenuous physical exertion in favor of a slow, calming practice performed at a comfortable temperature and enhanced with props, whereas a slew of one-time workshops introduce yogis to specialized forms of practice, such as prenatal yoga or introductory sessions for first-timers.
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