Internationally acclaimed dancer Amaya isn't regretful of her romantic impulse to run away and join the circus, a decision that sparked her notable and diverse career. The passionate performer was awarded Dancer of the Year by the International Academy of Middle Eastern Dance in 1998, and her documentary Gypsy Fire—which explores Spanish gypsy dancing—earned Amaya a Giza Award. Now, she channels more than 30 years of teaching experience and knowledge of several international dances, including Mexican folk, African, and a rare form of hot potato, into her dance classes. During these sessions, she overhauls boring cardio routines with basic belly-dancing techniques and Danza Mora moves—a marriage of Arabic and Spanish gypsy dance—which she infuses with cultural insights, inspiring philosophies, and nutrition advice. She also hosts women-only dance retreats to distant locales, during which she grants participants one-on-one dance training, spiritual guidance, and other opportunities such as the chance to observe a private Native American ceremonial harvest dance.
Amaya also believes in empowering young girls and women to reach their full potential. A portion of her DVD sales benefit The Girl Effect, a charity dedicated to empowering women and fighting for equal rights across the globe.
Teaching hips to swivel to new circumferences, trained dance instructors impart their masterful moves unto students in the respected tradition Arthur Murray has upheld since 1912. On the Albuquerque studio's more than 3,100-square-foot floor—a dance destination since 1952—students can tackle ballroom, social, or Latin dance, bringing a partner to their private lessons or flying solo and dancing with the instructor. Protégés may find their new moves applicable in a number of settings, such as when prepping for a wedding dance or when blending into an airport crowd that breaks out in a cha-cha. Regularly scheduled dance parties let students practice what they learned in lessons, slicing and dicing rugs with new fleet-footed friends.
StudioNia Santa Fe's entourage of expert instructors trains students to meld body and spirit through a holistic, dynamic studio-fitness approach. Harvest the stillness of tai chi masters, the strength of taekwondo, and the agility of modern and ethnic dance to whip bodies into shape and craniums into a state of contentment. Align kinesthetic movement while fostering a sense of personal power to promote weight loss, cardiovascular conditioning, and stress relief in a fitness system safe for all levels and abilities. Like poorly executed tap dance, the Nia method is traditionally performed barefoot, and teachers decide the focus of each session. Classes typically host 5–25 students and unfold in a sunny, mirrored studio.
Latin tunes and hip-hop beats rumble through Salsa Baby's studio as footloose instructors lead students of all experience levels and ages through the twists and turns of fitness and social dances. Group salsa classes teach beginners the basics of leading and following, whereas sessions for intermediate movers dip into more complex and nuanced approaches, such as alternative timing or how to dance your way out of a bar fight. A quintet of instructors choreographs fun and challenging Zumba, salsa aerobic, and striptease workouts, and the onsite hip-hop troupe, Iron Bred Kidz, gets both funky and fresh while teaching the latest yard-stomping moves at schools and parties. Aside from group classes, Salsa Baby also hosts private lessons for myriad dance styles, such as the tango, waltz, and rumba.
By exploring styles of movement from around the world, Movement Studios blends fitness and performing arts. A roster of semi-private and age-appropriate classes includes those designed to improve overall health, such as core-toning Pilates and flexibility-enhancing yoga, as well as those that introduce new ways of creative expression, such as dance and Move Fit! Ballet Barre. Classes are truly multicultural, including European ballet and "Dance Around the World for Kids". Special events throughout the year complement the regular class offerings.
Myra Krien has belly danced since she could walk. Coming from a family that produces zen philosophers and artists, she harbored a natural curiosity for the arts, and when her mother brought her to her first belly-dancing lesson at the age of 3, Myra never toddled away. In the intervening years, Myra has studied with some of the Middle East's most prolific and respected dancers, and her dancing has earned her gigs opening for musicians and other artists throughout the United States.
Now, as the owner and director of Pomegranate Studios, Myra and her team of instructors introduce new dancers to the art and refine intermediate dancers' skills in myriad classes. Students can learn styles spanning from Asia to urban America or tone up muscles in sessions designed for fitness. The studio's dance company trains performers aspiring to become professional dancers, and Myra's afterschool S.E.E.D.S program helps young women avoid the normal afterschool hopscotch gambling rings while teaching them about empowerment and educating them in the arts.