Since age 3, Dana Bailey has been twirling to her own beat, progressing from childhood cha-chas to appearances in promotions for Pepsi and JC Penney. After studying under instructors in California and New York City, Dana now offers pintsize patrons the same opportunity to get a head start in the performing arts with child and teen dance classes. She enlists working industry pros to wrangle kids as young as 2.5 in tap, ballet, and tumbling classes atop pliable wood and marley floors.
The boys' tap, jazz, and hip-hop classes accommodate a demographic often overlooked by the dance industry and prepare a studio team for local and national performances. Instructors regularly glean pointers from top national choreographers to craft classes such as Teen Hip Hop, which equips students with basic moves and combos that, much like the prom held outside the Grammys, are set to a soundtrack of current hits.
Led by Laura Coronado, a decorated dancer with more than 30 years of experience and the earner of a bachelor’s degree in dance education, the instructors at Laura’s Dance Dynamics aim to promote character growth in their students via team-based dance skills. They adjust their classes, which range from ballet to hip-hop, to cater to all ages and ability levels.
For 27 years, Doubletake Dance Studio has been teaching dance and helping students build confidence. Moving across the suspended floors constructed to prevent and reduce injuries, dancers of all ages refine their techniques under the guidance of experienced instructors. The teachers lead students starting at the age of 2 through ballet, tap, hip hop, and jazz, and as students get older, they focus in on skills, learning leaps, turns, and pointe.
At Hip Hop Heels, high-heeled shoes aren't dainty accessories, but fierce dancing tools. Owner Geena Ngaaje encourages her students to don comfortable heeled boots for her signature classes, thereby increasing the workout for their lower bodies and injecting the choreography with style. Geena and her team practice a combination of hip-hop, street, and burlesque dance, often channeling the moxie of celebrities such as Beyoncé and Ciara. They also pull from personal experience as performers—their resumés list back-up gigs with the Black Eyed Peas, LL Cool J, and Pitbull.
Their sessions aren't geared entirely toward stars on the rise, however. Whether they're demonstrating sensual hip rolls during Pumps and Grinds or the seductive shimmies of Cabaret, they cater to women of all experience levels, from first-timers to fellow pros and animated characters that are drawn to dance. They also host workshops for beginners, which focus on becoming confident in heels. Private parties allow guests to choose their preferred dance style for a customized lesson, and special-event workshops cover entire routines, including holiday-themed performances set to "Santa Baby."