Ann Kamhi Toran credits Pilates practice with saving her dancing career. After a major back injury threatened her ability to continue performing, Ann devoted herself to Pilates, and the exercises helped rehabilitate her body so effectively that she was eventually promoted to soloist after recovering. Although she stopped professionally dancing more than 20 years ago, Ann still practices Pilates daily.
Ann?s husband, Dr. Errol Toran, also is a believer in the rejuvenating capabilities of Pilates, and he suggested it to his chiropractic patients, incorporating the exercises into their physical rehabilitation. Together, Ann and Dr. Toran decided to create a studio that shared these benefits with the general public, introducing the time-honored exercise techniques that improve posture and build lean, toned muscles.
The studio boasts four locations throughout the New York area, each featuring an arsenal of traditional Pilates equipment. The signature apparatus, the Reformer, generates gentle resistance with a system of springs, pulleys, and miniature black holes. Students push and pull against this resistance while performing sequences of relatively simple movements that require unwavering mental focus to maintain the ideal technique and alignment. By emphasizing controlled, quality movements over flailing your body against a boulder, Pilates exercises can evenly tone muscles across the entire body, with a particular emphasis on the core muscle groups.
Ann and Dr. Toran encourage their instructors to take initiative when leading classes and tailor the pacing or sequence to accommodate students, but each studio does host sessions for particular skill levels. Introductory and Level 1 classes work to develop form and technique, whereas the more advanced sessions begin to include modified exercises or long-division flashcards to ensure a more challenging workout.
Roshelle “Rocky” Wilder, NYC Dance Arts’ founding director, began dancing and choreographing dance pieces when she was still in high school. She has performed with underground hip-hop artists such as Denzil Porter, Deena Jones, and The Future, and her students at NYC Dance Arts have performed on Broadway, earning mention from ExpertsColumn.com.. With a team of teachers, Wilder guides students through the steps of contemporary hip-hop, classical ballet, heart-healthy Zumba, and other dance-centric classes.
Ballet classes boost students’ balance, concentration, and coordination while strengthening core muscles. Modern/contemporary dance rebels against the traditional aesthetic of classical ballet with abstract, emotive movements—or by cutting class, sneaking out, and taking the works of Jean-Paul Sartre very seriously. Break dance 101 introduces students to urban street dance, focusing on inspiration and creativity. Yoga fitness classes combine a cardio workout with deep-breathing exercises and yoga poses. In addition to regular classes, NYC Dance Arts offers special workshops with visiting choreographers and professional dancers, and organizes dance flash mobs—groups of dancers who meet in a public place to perform a dance routine.
Praised in NBC New York's Hip & Healthy Blog and featured on Better in addition to other publications and media, Kettlebell Kickboxing merges Muay Thai martial-arts maneuvers with Russian kettlebell training for a full-body, female-only workout. Classes are led by creator and lauded fitness expert Dasha Libin, equipped with a master's in sports science and over a decade's experience in martial arts. Dasha, this year's official trainer for the Miss New York USA & Miss Teen USA brands and fitness brand ambassador for lululemon athletica Soho, leads sixty-minute classes that may burn up to 1,000 calories array attendees in a mirror-lined studio as they learn specialized moves, including weighted squats, lunges, and swings that hoist the kettlebells skyward. As the nonimpact regimen tones hard-to-target muscle groups, clients can hone their balance and agility without needlessly squashing their joints or practicing perilous tightrope sprints. Classes strive to strengthen and sleekify distinct body areas: the Swing/Kick session bolsters limb leanness, whereas a Punch & Knee course employs mat exercises to kindle the burn in arms, abs, and glutes. Patrons can also flock to a total body scorcher class for kettlebell-heaving drills that incorporate both cores and appendages.
21 years ago, Ellie Herman worked as a professional dancer and choreographer, running her own company in San Francisco. She loved her work, but she had bills to pay. So, naturally, she took on a side job; she became the professional wrestler known as "Ruth Less." As soon as she began tossing fellow wrestlers around, she incurred a serious knee injury that threatened to end both of her careers. Luckily for her, the nearby St. Francis Hospital of Dance Medicine offered surgery-free rehabilitation through Pilates. Ellie did the workouts for months, and returned to her company an even better dancer than she'd been before her injuries. Later, as a masters student at NYU, Pilates once again helped her recover from hip pain. She discovered an ability to innovate within the bounds of Pilates, and resolved to become a teacher.
She opened the aptly named Ellie Herman Studio, where she continues to teach today. True to her inspiration, she uses Pilates as a basis on which to innovate better forms of corrective movement. So far, she's written nine books on the subject. She invented her own piece of equipment, the Pilates Springboard, which compresses the size and cost of the more traditional Pilates wall unit. She also developed a blend of Pilates and gait training, to help people stave of injury by becoming conscious of the way they move their legs in every day life, which helps to prevent things such as rolling ankles or randomly kicking strangers.
Having shed 115 pounds through his own fitness regimen, Syncere "Syn" Martinez became a CrossFit devotee driven to help others discover their dream physiques. His tenacity has propelled him to complete several triathlons and earn certifications in disciplines such as running, Olympic weightlifting, and kettlebell training. Along with his experienced team of coaches, he fosters a competitive atmosphere in their trademark Brutality course, in which he motivates patrons in intense functional training and furious bouts of Battleship. In this course, he pushes patrons to reach their peak endurance, strength, and agility with running, free-weight lifting, and gymnastics maneuvers. Encouraging patrons of all backgrounds, their Afro Brutality line of clothing and CrossFit team celebrate diversity among their client base.
Syn and his team ascribe to CrossFit's ever-shifting workout-of-the-day program, and emphasize the development of sound technique to better execute the intensely challenging workouts. Tailored Brutality classes may aim for weight loss, strength, or stamina, and Brutality camp charts a custom fat-burning plan of exercise, nutritional guidance, and really, really hoping. The universal scalability of CrossFit maneuvers ensures that dedicated guests of all experience levels can enlist in CrossFit Harlem's class series.
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Click here for an online schedule of classes. This deal is valid at the Battery Park and Washington Square Park locations only.
Stacy draws from more than 17 years experience in outdoor fitness training when leading her classes atop the pavement and under the trees of New York City parks. Using a background in tae kwon do, capoeira, kickboxing, and boot-camp drills, Stacy creates high-intensity routines that combine cardio and strength exercises that can be adjusted for various fitness levels. She forgoes fancy machines and instead uses the environment, sculpting strong arms with 15-pound weights brought in by clients or wiping sweat from the brow with a nearby leaf.
Stacy doesn’t just stay active through boot-camp instruction: She also leads an active lifestyle speaking at workshops and corporate events. Furthermore, she contributes articles to the Huffington Post, leads retreats, and teaches fitness while traveling to international locales, such as India.