As a child in Argentina, Nancy Gerardi soaked up the Spanish and Italian songs of her grandmother—many of them filtered through her father’s spirited accordion playing. Naturally, this musical upbringing led her to discover her talent for dance at a young age. It wasn’t until she arrived in the United States, however, that she decided to combine this talent with her skills as a businesswoman to open her own dance studio.
Today, at My Passion Dance Studio & Entertainment, Nancy translates the music of her youth into fun and fluid dance steps. Whether in private classes or small groups, her students strut and stomp on helpless piñatas as they learn spirited Latin dance styles such as merengue, bachata, tango, and flamenco. Nancy’s studio doesn’t limit its offerings to the styles she grew up with, though. Students can also learn the graceful moves of ballet, jazz, or hip-hop, or take lessons in piano and guitar.
Josefina Garcia and Lisa Martinez have been studying dance since they were each 5 years old. Together, they started J and L Dance Center in 1992 to pass on their know-how and instill a strong sense of self-worth in each of their protégés. These days, they usher students to win awards and recognition at showcases and competitions throughout the country. Newbies of all ages train under these masters and a crew of skilled instructors who specialize in a range of genres including ballet, tap, hip-hop, flamenco, and jazz styles. Wood-sprung floors in all three dance rooms cushion the fall of toes and feet in flight, and wall-to-wall mirrors throughout the space enable students to dance-battle their reflections.
East Coast Fitness’s 20,000 square feet house separate rooms for martial arts, spinning, group workouts, massages, and general exercise. On the main floor, strength-training machines, cardio machines, and free weights occupy separate areas, with additional room sectioned off for stability ball exercise and a herd of eight punching bags. Certified trainers and instructors also lead more than 15 classes that range from spinning and Pilates to yoga, kickboxing, agility training, and Zumba. In the lobby, a juice bar refreshes hungry athletes and a separate room offers free childcare.