DC Dance Collective is on a mission: to open the world of dance to everyone. And it takes that seriously—low-income dancers are encouraged to volunteer at the front desk in exchange for class credits. This communal spirit of creative exercise and collaboration realizes the dream of founder Nancy Newell, whose impressive 49-year dance career includes curating two Smithsonian series based on tap.
Dance Studio Life rightly describes DCDC as "an anomaly among studios in its region for both its collective approach and its vast offerings." In the lobby, which "feels more like a living room," the friendly instructors welcome people of all ages and backgrounds to pick from an eclectic assortment of dance styles, ranging from classics such as tap, ballet, and jazz to diverse styles such as hula, salsa, flamenco, belly dance, and Sri Lankan dance. Hip-hop and break-dancing classes help dancers find their inner funk without GPS, and Zumba fitness dance classes get everyone sweating to global party beats with Latin-inspired moves.
Founded in 1951, Adventure Theatre MTC has been the longest-running children’s theater in the Washington area and has earned a mantel-overloading amount of awards throughout the decades. Alongside professional and student productions, the theatrical powerhouse hosts camps and workshops to expand the performance arts, instill the love of the stage in children, and help teens to act like they care about the SATs.
Chevy Chase Ballroom & DanceSport Center’s professional instructors draw on competitive dance backgrounds to guide group classes that groove through a range of styles. Latin beginners learn the basics of the cha-cha, merengue, and rumba, and the argentine tango and beginner salsa classes rehearse dance-specific fundamentals, gradually adding steps until sure-footed feet cut right through the ballroom's sleek new floor. Onlookers can watch from benches lined against the wall, observing dancers as they perfect their moves or sneakily scout for new partners in the mirrored wall lining the studio. Check the full schedule for class times.
The instructors at Abe Ballroom Dancing want the world of dance to be accessible to everyone. That’s why they have dance classes for those of all ages, no matter their skill level or previous experience. Dances include ballroom, waltz, cha cha, samba, and West Coast swing. They even have a class to prep soon-to-be newlyweds for their first dance.
When it was founded in 1970, the theatre company Street ’70 didn’t have a home, instead serving as a nomadic outreach program for schools and community spaces. It would be seven years before they’d find their own space in the Round House Theatre, which would eventually become the company’s moniker. Since those early days, the ensemble has produced more than 200 performances per year out of their home theater in Bethesda and a black box theater in Silver Springs. Round House Theatre also spreads the drama bug through classes, workshops, and not washing their hands after handling freshly penned manuscripts.
Saphira, the matriarch and founder of Saffron Dance, didn’t even exist 20 years ago, much like “I survived Y2K” bumper stickers. Saphira was known as Rachael Galoob-Ortega, a lawyer who practiced in DC and Florida for a decade. But her high-power career and hefty paycheck couldn’t extinguish her passion for dance. And so she became Saphira, an international belly-dance artist and instructor with numerous accolades, including being featured in American Belly Dancer, a documentary about belly dance in the United States.
Saphira opened Saffron Dance six years ago, and along with 18 fellow instructors, channels her years of expertise into dance courses that get progressively more challenging from week to week. Welcoming all levels, her classes teach both Egyptian-inspired belly dance and community-focused tribal belly dance. Regardless of the class type, Saphira and her teachers encourage pupils to express their unique voices through dance, all while keeping proper alignment, mastering precision, and having fun.