Mestre Mariano Silva, a dancer and student of the Brazilian martial art capoeira, has always believed that "if you can walk, then you can dance." This positivity permeates everything he does, from his work with underprivileged youth to his time professionally dancing. It was this contagious optimism that caught the attention of master Amen Santo in Brazil, who invited him to tour globally with the renowned Ballet Folclorico do Brasil. As it turned out, Mariano was a huge hit, playing to sold-out crowds all over the world. His skill and popularity on the stage led Amen to convince him to relocate to Southern California and bring his passion for Afro-Brazilian dance to the States. Today, Mariano owns Capoeira Batuque Santa Barbara along with the Brazilian Cultural Arts Center of Santa Barbara, sharing his talents and affirmative worldview with adults and children through a slew of classes and community-outreach programs.
Each of mestre Mariano's fast-paced classes introduces pupils to the rhythmic techniques and cultural significance of traditional Afro-Brazilian dance forms. Capoeira—considered Brazil's second national sport—fuses martial-arts techniques with the rhythmic and collaborative elements of dance. He teaches stylistic combat maneuvers, which weave in aerial acrobatics and various instruments. During his Afro-Brazilian dance class, he'll calibrate students' hips to swivel to movements that fuse traditional African dance with Brazilian moves, and in his Samba classes, he introduces students to the history, culture, and traditions inextricably linked to each movement. He also lets dancers try their hand or fourth toe at banging timbaus, repiniques, and other Brazilian drums in the Brazilian batucada drumming course.
Arthur Murray Dance Studio 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 an instructor as the teachers 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.
At House of Dance, a 3,200-square-foot floating dance floor, a professional sound system, and lights combine to create an entertaining dance ambience. Experienced instructors ensure that the clean, safe ballroom is a great place for guests to move and groove while burning calories along the way. Zumba fitness classes blend Latin and international dance moves with the music of salsa, merengue, and more to bring the best beats to the cardiovascular party, allowing singles to salsa their way into new friendships, couples to add cha-cha to their relationships, and seniors to release their inner break dancer before it smashes another vase. Click here to view the class schedule.
Cosmotion fusion fitness system integrates martial arts, healing movement, and dance into high-energy cardio classes. Each session builds a unique pattern of 52 basic moves to cultivate core strength, while improving flexibility and stamina. The studio also offers a full schedule of dance-centric workouts, which range from Bollywood-fusion and belly dancing, to hokey pokey workouts performed in full suits of armor.
In 2006, StageLight Studios opened as a small exercise outfit that taught burlesque and pole-dance classes exclusively. Today, its certified instructors lead small groups in a private, mirror-lined studio, where seven chrome poles rise from the polished wood floor to accommodate a class of up to six students and one instructor or seven firemen. They also use the space to host parties, workshops, and instructor certification, in addition to boot camps and private training. Outside of the classroom, StageLight's boutique outfits students with pole-appropriate gear, including clothes, shoes, and accessories.
The Camarillo Academy of Performing Arts’ instructors bring an impressive list of awards and professional credits to their roles at the facility, where more than 10,000 square feet of sprung floor welcome toes of all ages. Within the six studios, all equipped with floor-to-ceiling mirrors and surround-sound music systems, aspiring dancers join group lessons, intensives, and recreational adult classes. Traditional dance curricula range from ballet to hip-hop; aerial classes teach students to spin in the air on suspended silks. There's a program available for every age, style choice, number of extra legs, and desired level of studiousness, whether pupils are looking for an after-school activity or hoping to land a spot in the resident dance company.