During her time as a fashion model, Donna Michelle D'Aurio knew the importance of staying in shape. But, when she became a trained fitness instructor, she quickly learned the importance of being both fit and healthy. With this philosophy in mind, Donna established Bella Fitness as a mobile fitness company in 2006. Since then, the company has grown into a fitness business where a staff of personal trainers, dance instructors, sport coaches, and nutritionists designs customized fitness plans for everyone from kids to senior citizens.
Within the studio, clients can work up a sweat in semi-private Pilates, Barre, Zumba, TRX, and dance cardio classes that reflect Donna’s own group fitness certifications from the Arthritis Foundation, SilverSneakers, PiYo, and YMCA. For younger clients, kids' yoga and Zumba classes are also available. At the other end of the spectrum, personal training sessions provide one-on-one attention as exercisers focus on mastering specific fitness routines or strengthening their levitation abilities. Bella's facility is also equipped with a Korr Reevue breathing test, which determines resting metabolic rates, as well as plenty of space to host training courses on CPR and fitness instruction.
DanceGardenLA was created by Zahra Zuhair and Jenna, who have been belly-dancing since childhood and have travelled the world accumulating impressive professional credits. Zuhair has trained in traditional folk and Eastern styles—including Lebanese, Turkish, Moroccan, and Tunisian—but her specialty is Egyptian belly dance, which she has studied with some of the top teachers in Cairo. She has also been featured on the cover of Zaghareet! magazine and has written, directed, and choreographed productions as the artistic director of the Ghazella Dance Company and Po Na Na Dance Theatre. Jenna acted as a goddess bellydance instructor on an episode of Sex and the City, and made appearances on The Tyra Banks Show and the Food Network program Aarti Party. She has also starred in several bestselling belly dance-instruction DVDs.
Thanks to their more than 50 years of combined teaching experience and a talented team of award-winning instructors, the studio was named the Best Place to Learn the Art of Bellydancing in 2012 by LA Weekly. The site recommended instructor Princess Farhana's "witty repartee (and Hollywood rock-scene anecdotes)," and described the predominantly female atmosphere as "always encouraging, never intimidating." The crew teaches classes including classic and American Tribal bellydance as well as samba and Bollywood styles.
The staff at Brazilian Yoga & Pilates teaches more than just one style of therapeutic movement. With experience in Samba and Pilates, as well as vinyasa, hatha, and slow flow yoga, the team of instructors hosts numerous classes that meld a variety of techniques into one style. Brazilian yoga, the form the studio is named after, blends vinyasa flow with Samba and Pilates to nurture participants' mental well-being and core strength. Candlelight Flow yoga's slow, fluid movements offer a relaxing end to the day, and teach students how to slow dance with themselves. And no matter the class, the instructors are happy to provide personalized adjustments to make poses more accesible to any student.
Few professionals can credit Flashdance with rerouting the course of their career. In fact, Richard Giorla could be the only one. The unconventional dance moves he saw in the film motivated the former Pennsylvania Ballet Company member to hit the streets of his new home, Manhattan, and learn breakdancing from dancers at the heart of the movement, trading his own dance expertise as payment. Richard’s career was in full swing when, struck with an injury, he started teaching a ballet-barre class. Though he appreciated its stretching and toning components, Richard craved a more aerobic workout. So he created his own solution—Cardio Barre.
The unique workout consists of high-energy, zero-impact movements that sculpt the long, slender body of a dancer without a student ever having to step foot in a traditional dance studio. As they balance on the ballet barre, or whichever classmate is closest, pupils direct all their focus to one muscle group at a time, while the entire body stays in motion for maximum fat burning. His approach’s pudge-busting abilities have made the fitness method a favorite of many health magazines and celebrities.
This clean, modern studio offers 1,100 square feet of smooth hardwood floors, enabling enthusiastic rug cutting or slicing of welcome mats into tiny shreds. An impressive roster of instructors shepherds youthful lambs and aged cloven hooves through a selection of dance styles. Plié through Perry Brown’s classical ballet class, or learn the more relaxed style of modern dance with courses based on both the expressive Limón-based technique and the athletic Horton-based method. Bouncy big-banders and frenetic be-boppers can explore jazz-dance fundamentals with contemporary jazz teacher Joseph Decker, who has choreographed stage productions of Cabaret and Little Shop of Horrors, among others. Mix and match classes to sample the colors of dance, like biting into a crayon sandwich. Morning and evening classes are held Monday through Thursday and morning classes only on Saturday and Sunday; check out the schedule for a complete list of times.
Leigh Ann grew up as an actor who was also an athlete: when she was offstage, the SoCal native dove off springboards, jumped hurdles, and fought on the kickboxing mat. Her knack for blending art with athleticism led her to found BeSpun at the age of 25. Leigh Ann competes and receives top honors at national and regional pole-dance competitions, and she has produced and starred in a series of instructional DVDs.
At BeSpun, Leigh Ann and her fellow instructors—also pole-dance champions—teach an extensive array of classes that include single-session and multiweek workshops. Classes’ subject matter ranges from beginners' lessons to master workshops led by special guests. There’s also open-studio time, as well as classes that focus on specialties such as spinning, stretching, and whittling your own pole from a chrome tree trunk. Instructors focus on leading thorough sessions that use time efficiently, and they’re committed to blending fitness with dance training. A lighthearted FAQ page answers potential questions while giving a taste of the studio’s fun-loving atmosphere.