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.”
Instructors lead muay thai, jujitsu, boxing, and wrestling classes, during which they challenge students in old-school and modern workouts, where 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.
The children's martial arts program, run by Pouncing Tigers, teaches respect and discipline with a focus on fun. 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.
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.
Created by former dancers Maxine and Peter Roël, Pilates Shop Yoga Garage tailors its bodywork sessions to individual clients. The Morningside Heights space offers in-house Pilates instruction on three specialized pieces of exercise equipment known as Peak reformers, which helps to provide resistance and increase movement for participants. The compactly-designed red and purple space uses a reception area and a frosted window to separate its customers from the prying eyes on Broadway, and can even accommodate group lessons of up to five people. Mostly though, this is single participation territory, with the occasional duets and trios (two or three students and one instructor) available as well. The studio schedules lessons on the hour, and is open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays, with relaxed weekend hours.
The personal trainers at Tribeca Health & Fitness lead calorie-burning classes and personalized workout regimes inside the pristine three-floor fitness facility outfitted with modern exercise equipment. Nautilus machines and free weights stand ready to help bolster muscle strength, rows of treadmills condition cardiovascular systems, and a fleet of StairMasters sates the human need to endlessly climb stairs. For group sweat sessions, the instructors host Latin-themed Zumba classes, kettlebell exercise sessions, and karate training courses within the bright, stark-white fitness studio. After pumping iron or sweating in fitness classes, patrons can seek out the juice bar, where staff blend nutrient-packed smoothies that replenish lost liquids and nourish tired muscles.
It all began with a party. When Z Club NY co-founder Claudia Salem was invited by business partner Edmee Cherdieu D’Alexis to a Zumba party at S.O.B.’s in New York, she was expecting a fun and invigorating workout. But the passion and energy emanating from the crowd made her realize that she was witnessing something more. Claudia and Edmee strive to recreate that same atmosphere at every Z Club location, by employing personable customer service reps, maintaining pristine facilities, and scheduling seven different Zumba variations. The schedule includes classes held seven days a week and a regular series of events.