Angie Acosta, founder of Queen City DanceOut, has a simple motto for her students: "If you're moving, you're doing it right." This encouraging, low-pressure attitude attracts people of all ages to her dance-inspired fitness classes, which meet at 18 public locations. Angie and her instructors aim to make exercise feel like a celebration and a refreshing break rather than a dreaded routine. To this end, their classes incorporate intuitive dance moves and invigorating music. DanceOut, the signature course, blends genres as diverse as swing, hip-hop, and reggae into a workout, relying on repetition and basic choreography to keep everyone grooving. Other highlights of the curriculum include the Latin rhythms of Zumba; the Dance Impact class, which fuses dance and kickboxing; and JamStrong, a mixture of core-conditioning, dance, and fun.
Community is a central aspect of every DanceOut class. As pupils practice their twirls, they can follow both the teacher and the Jam Crew—a team of regulars who help make the steps easy to follow and can assist fellow dancers. In addition to group workouts, instructors host skill workshops such as Booty Bootcamp, where attendees learn rump-shaking techniques and how to turn any chair into a rocking chair. They also put on performances and lead private classes for special events and parties.
Led by two ACE-certified personal trainers, Carolina Adventure Boot Camp takes men and women of any age or fitness level through regularly scheduled 60-minute outdoor cardio romps. Groups are limited in size for each session, helping students get to know one another and allowing trainers to personalize each exercise to individual abilities. The bare-bones structure of each class builds routines around body-weight resistance, running, yoga, and obstacle courses, requiring each participant to bring only water, a yoga mat, and a pair of dumbbells. When not providing positive reinforcement, instructors counsel students on nutritional matters, helping craft nutritious meal plans and sharing healthful cookie recipes that replace chocolate chips with Flintstones vitamins.
Like many good ideas, the one for this business came from Dan Rather. A group of friends interested in starting a business venture together were watching CBS Evening News one night when a report on the high costs of dry cleaning drew their attention to the profession. With an entrepreneurial spirit, the founders scoped out local dry cleaners and developed a business model that allowed them to clean all garments for a fee that’s as flat as the planet we walk on. Today they clean more than 1,200 items each day and continue to grow, thanks to their onsite, environmentally friendly equipment that cleans consciences as well as garments.
The loving staff at the AAHA- and AVMA-certified Caring Hearts Animal Hospital recognizes that pets are treasured members of the family. At the head of the facility are Drs. Lorie White and Laura Morefield, who oversee a practice equipped with comprehensive medical and surgical facilities. With more than 22 years of veterinary experience each, Drs. White and Morefield treat pets with acupuncture, behavioral medicine, dentistry, and emergency care. To that end, their animal hospital contains a lab and pharmacy, as well as radiology, surgery, examination, grooming, and boarding areas. Trainers also lead puppy and behavior classes, ensuring pups can lead obedient lives and will never eat dessert with a salad fork.
Great Dane Friends of Ruff Love rescues great danes and other mixed-breed dogs, especially those with specials needs or health problems. Volunteers pick up the dogs from local shelters and evaluate them for temperament and health. After caring for any treatable conditions, such as heartworms or injuries that require surgery, the volunteers place the dogs in compatible foster homes. The foster families supply the dogs with food and toys, transport them to and from the vet, and bring them to events to meet potential adopters.
Renew Natural Weight Loss Center’s staff not only empowers clients with the knowledge they need to achieve and sustain weight loss, but does so with a detailed plan. A weight-loss coach meets with clients every week to evaluate progress, offer encouragement, and keep clients accountable as they progress through their program. The bedrock program that the center revolves around includes recenter, which starts with a one-hour health assessment before a month or more spent learning to eat a balanced diet of real food; and renew, which aims to keep weight off permanently and explore naturopathic pathways to better health. To ensure that their physician-guided plan is working effectively, the coaches have clients take at-home tests that determine if their bodies are correctly converting fat into energy or incorrectly converting it into Jet-Puffed Marshmallows. They don't tailor each plan simply around shedding pounds—they also design it to boost overall health and keep metabolisms up and running consistently.