The passionate, experienced instructors at Tonawanda Dance Arts, which houses two air-conditioned studios, transform pint-size fumblers of any skill level into prima ballerinas with a bevy of enriching classes. Dancers can choose from a blossoming assortment of styles, opting for the rigorous-yet-graceful ballet, the passionate and expressive lyrical, or the stoic and dignified standing still. Hosts of classes populate Tonawanda’s busy schedule, allowing budding Fred Astaires to express themselves in myriad manifestations.
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. Clients who arrive to lessons partnerless will be paired up with other classmates as the instructors assess their current skill level and make recommendations on the most appropriate program. 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.
"I try to make my students tap into their inner child," says Suzy Miller. "Just be silly and have fun!" As the owner of Suzy's Jazzyobics, she brings that philosophy to each 70-minute class that she teaches. Of course, just because she focuses on fun doesn't mean she's not leading serious exercise classes. She infuses the cardiovascular workout with muscle-toning and metabolism-enhancing variations, helping students improve balance, flexibility, and coordination, all while they burn calories.
Equipment: No equipment
Students should bring: Bottle for water, exercise mat,
Average class length: 60-90 minutes
Number of Staff: 1–5
Class location: Indoors only
Registration required: No
Good for beginners: Yes
Guests allowed: Yes
Parking: Parking lot
At Blueheel Dance Studio, instructors encourage students to find the dance that’s pulsing within. Using the internationally recognized Professional Dance Vision International Dance Association syllabus, instructors begin by emphasizing simple steps, syncopation, and rhythm. After establishing a firm base, students are set free to explore their skills in group lessons and social dance parties staged on the studio’s expansive hardwood dance floor. Instructors open the door to dance forms that convey a gamut of emotions ranging from love and joy to passion and wild indifference.
Owned by veteran performer and choreographer Perri McCall—whose former students include Dancing With the Stars professionals Mark Ballas and Derek Hough—Performers Dance Studio's faculty teaches all ages the art of body movement in more than 10 disciplines. Within the 3,000-square-foot facility, classes of 15–20 students glide across two studios that sport flooring specifically engineered to support dance. Perri's accomplished faculty represents a diversity of performance backgrounds and specializes in instilling creativity in younger pupils while emphasizing the technical foundations necessary for all ages to be proficient in dance styles such as jazz, musical theatre, hip hop, tap, and Morse code tap.