On a 3,000-square-foot floating floor, head instructor Alfredo’s feet execute the graceful steps of waltzes, the energized hops of East Coast swing, and the sinuous turns of Latin styles, luring students from all over the United States and Canada to his Ohio studio. He's been passing these dance moves down to others for more than 30 years, guiding competitors to the stage floor and convincing wallflowers to refrain from hiding in a nightclub’s corners when the music starts up. He and his staff aim to nimble up the leg joints of first-timers, wedding parties, or squeaky tin-men during group and private lessons, as well as judgment-free dance parties. They also host guest seminars led by national and world champion dancers to expose protégés to elite-level twirls.
Before opening The Ballroom Company with her husband and fellow dance instructor David Myrice, championship ballroom dancer Jacki trained under world-renowned dancers including Sam Sodano and Shirley Ballas. Well-versed in a range of ballroom-dancing styles—and the recipient of a Mid-West Professional American dance title in 2009—she spends many weekends in the studio leading group and private dance lessons. Under the tutelage of the studio’s instructors, students of all ages and skill levels can master the rhythms of dances such as the cha-cha, the tango, the waltz, and the rumba. Rotating instructors also lead first-dance seminars for newlyweds. Friday-night dance parties, which run from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m., provide a fun break from typical Friday-night routines, such as counting the number of pixels on your television screen.
For Amber Gilbert, dancing isn't just an alternative to walking. She sees dance as a chance to explore one's personality and express it through movement. As owner and director of The Dance Academy, she presides over staff members as they help students of all skill levels to unlock artistic potential through dance classes. The team of seasoned instructors teaches styles including hip-hop, Hawaiian, and classical ballet amid the studio's barres and mirrors. During classes for youngsters, pint-size students hone motor skills through activities that pair music with moves culled from the worlds of ballet, tap, and jazz.
In addition to torching calories during salsa and swing classes, adults can sculpt svelte physiques through relaxing yoga and Pilates sessions and Zumba workouts packed with Latin-inspired aerobics. The studio's competitive training program prepares dancers for national contests and helps them to look natural when they get a single red rose stuck in their teeth.
Arthur Murray has been a leading name in franchise dance since 1912, when the entrepreneur began selling mail-order dance lessons. Expanding his reach, he enlisted teachers to spread his signature dance lessons on first-class steamships and skyrocketed to fame in the '30s after introducing the public to such dances as the Lambeth Walk and The Big Apple. By the 1950s, Arthur and his wife, Kathryn, were hosting their own highly popular TV show on ABC, The Arthur Murray Dance Party, which ran for 12 years. Today, Arthur Murray's team prepares students for rug cutting at special events and weekend nightclub jaunts. Throughout lessons, instructors teach the foundations of two to four dances from a long list of styles that range from Latin to country-western, helping students to learn basic step patterns, timing, and the ability to lead or follow.
Nestled within the University of Michigan's central campus, Dance Theatre Studio has built an excellent reputation over the 30 years it's been in business. Adults can check out ballet, hip-hop, and dance classes or strengthen their bodies in Zumba or body-sculpting, while kids make the most of their summers in camps that focus on art, tech, video, and acing the obstacle-course portion of college applications. All lessons take place in three large dance rooms that feature mirror-lined walls, a sprung sub-floor, and a marley surface floor, and nearby rooms also contain portable ballet barres. The studio's high level of comfort extends even before and after class, when dancers dress in men's and women's changing rooms.
Driven by a genuine passion for dance, the instructors at Come Dancing strive to train students in a consistently relaxed atmosphere, placing the focus on fun rather than competition. Inside the studio, they teach the principles of international or American-style ballroom, Argentine tango and milonga, and other Latin dances. The team helms group classes, private lessons, and dance parties, which allow attendees to socialize and demonstrate how well they're adjusting to their new rocket-powered legs. Their specialized classes also provide dance training for brides and grooms, as well as aspiring competitors.