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.
Paddles churn the crystal waters as a rainbow of boards slips silently across the surface of Mountain Island Lake. The shoreline, dappled with trees that shiver with cavorting wildlife, falls away behind the board's passengers as they stand in the middle of the aquatic expanse. Though the view is much different from the oceanic coastlines more commonly associated with the sport, the meditative calm and athletic challenge remain.
With roots in Hawaiian culture, the unique method of riding a board takes advantage of the surfer's panoramic viewpoint and ability to avoid far-off swells and bossy tugboats. The act of constantly balancing and paddling, while simple, tones core muscles and enables participants to silently observe surrounding wildlife. Sup Charlotte keeps adventurers afloat on Riviera boards, which they sell and use in lessons to keep riders of all experience levels gliding more gracefully than swans looking for parking.
At Curves, exercisers of all fitness levels move around a circuit of hydraulic-resistance machines that have been designed to work with women's bodies and promote weight loss, protect against osteoporosis, and deal with arthritis. An experienced trainer is always nearby to help manage machine-maneuvering and muscle making. Instead of fiddling with weight stacks, filling medicine balls with medicine, and losing your momentum, the hydraulic machines account for different body weights and fitness levels to create resistance that matches one's abilities, which thereby decreases the risk of soreness or injury. Because traditional lift-and-lower motions create bulky muscles, each machine uses push-and-pull motions to create toned, lean muscles perfect for crushing a grapefruit without looking like you can.
An abundant number of recreational activities fill the space at Purple Planet 3-D Mini Golf. With black lights illuminating patches of neon paints, the indoor and always air-conditioned cooled mini-golf course bends the mind with challenging greens and mind-bending visuals such as aliens and floating satellites. As they navigate the course?s vortex tunnel and fog-filled corridors, golfers wear 3-D glasses, making obstacles appear to pop out and transforming every hole into an even deeper hole. Purple Planet visitors can also hone their billiards skills with games of pool or try their hand at the games at an on-site arcade.
Some artists spend months working on huge canvases, but the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden one-ups them all?its canvas is the earth itself, and it hopes to paint approximately 380 acres of it. In fact, the organization has a 50-year blueprint for cultivating gardens, streams, forests, meadows and other grounds along the banks of Lake Wylie.
The mission is already well underway: more than 110 acres are open for visitor exploration. During fall, hundreds of plants bloom and cover the Encore Azalea Garden in a vibrant display. The white petals of the West Gardens make for an idyllic summer wedding locale, whereas the tunnel fountain in the Allee Garden delights younger visitors with its whimsical, overhead streams. The Orchid Conservatory, meanwhile, defies seasons and geography. Inside the glass house's 8,000 square feet, orchids grow alongside an ever-changing collection of tropical plants.
These are but a small sampling of the flowers, trees, and other wonders on living display at the garden. Visiting groups of 15 or more can sign-up for a guided tour in advance, or visitors are free to search the garden on their own, which affords behind-the-scenes looks at upcoming trails and interviews with butterflies in their dressing rooms.
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Staff Size: 1 person
Parking: No parking
Most popular offering: Family package
Pro Tip: Learn a lot of history about the area
Q&A with Joyce Reavis, Owner
What makes your business stand out?
I'm a member of the local historic society and have studied the paranormal for more than 40 years.
What inspired you or the owner (if that?s not you) to start or run this business?
I love to interact with people, and I love history.
What?s your favorite part about your job?
Showing people that Charlotte is as rich in history?and ghosts?as any other part of America.