A family owned, family friendly studio, For the Love of Dance trains students in a variety of styles and in a manner that fosters a love of movement and art. Studio director Lesley Ruzon and her team of instructors—Tara, Dani, and Kasey—join forces and work with students as young as 2 years old. They provide private lessons, as well as group classes throughout the week, including ballet and tap, jazz, and hip-hop.
The Santa Clara Ballet Company enlivens the holiday season with its annual production of the family classic The Nutcracker, now in its 37th year. This traditional production invites children and adults into Clara's escapade with gingerbread soldiers, the Mouse King, unionized sugarplum fairies, and a fructose-powered federation of candy-coated countries. The production promotes the organized distribution of holiday cheer with a gift boutique, raffle, and concessions. Parking is free at the Santa Clara Convention Center.
At Stepz, professional Bollywood dance instructors imbue students of all ages with dance moves inspired by Eastern India. They foster an environment of support and encouragement as dancers soak up fundamental foot positions and learn to express themselves through fluid movements and flowing hand gestures. Students looking to shed excess pounds can speed up routines in one-hour aerobics classes, which lead groups though rigorous dance routines specifically designed to tone muscle.
As strobe lights slice across the stage, masked dancers descend from scaffolding and undulate to Lady Gaga’s “Just Dance.” Minutes later, a troupe of 6-year-olds takes to the same stage in traditional Indian shalwar, or loose trousers, and launch into a frenetic dance set to fast-paced bhangra music. These divergent routines—performed at Mona Khan Company’s student showcase—hint at the scope of dance styles that instructors bring to their classes. Though traditional folk and classical South Asian dance make an appearance, instructors also incorporate styles such as salsa, modern, and hip-hop.
This Bollywood dance philosophy has propelled Mona Khan Company into the national spotlight. The company’s professional dance troupe has performed with Bollywood demigod Shah Rukh Khan and dancer Shaan, and dazzled a live audience on America’s Got Talent.
Though classes at Mona Khan Company occasionally lead to professional dance careers, the studio strives to make Bollywood dance accessible to every aspiring dancer. For example, Jollywood dance classes train performers age 65 and older, and the Jeena program trains special-needs students. “It’s more than just dance,” says Ms. Shankar, the company’s dance captain. “We try to build a whole community around it."
Cheryl Burke took the dance world by storm in 2006 when she won "Dancing with the Stars" twice, once in the winter and again in the fall. In addition to fame, her performance on the show also netted her two Emmy nominations for Outstanding Choreography. When she's not busy with the show, an acting gig, or a magazine shoot, she still finds time to teach at her eponymous dance studio, Cheryl Burke Dance, which she co-founded with her mother in 2009.
The facility features three dance studios, including a sprawling 4,118 sq. ft. studio, as well as a veteran team of instructors, some of whom are National and World dance champions. Together, in private or group settings, they teach nearly 20 different styles of dance, including the Waltz, Rumba, and the Lindy Hop. Once students feel confident enough with their dance skills or the swelling from the surgery to repair their second left foot subsides, they can attend one of the studio's dance parties to show off their new moves.
The instructors at Firebird Dance Studio, who have been teaching for 22 years, share their passion for dancing through lessons for students as young as 14 months. Aspiring dancers learn contemporary, ballroom, folk, Latin, and modern dance styles. Classes also give students opportunities to perform. Additionally, the studio has won the Best of Mountain View Award for two consecutive years.