Oscar Ochoa's passion for salsa dancing sprouted at age 9, grew rapidly at age 18 when he began taking formal lessons, and blossomed at age 24 when he won first place at a salsa competition. Today, the founder of Miami Salsa Driven combines his dancing expertise with the physical discipline he's developed from years of practicing tae kwon do and Brazilian jujitsu to lead detail-oriented salsa lessons. His team puts a big emphasis on creating an environment in which beginners feel welcome and unintimidated by advanced dancers trying to show off complex moves, such as the iceless triple axel. Students have ranged from seasoned dancers to a first-timer police-department captain, who actually ended up joining a professional dance team. Located inside the Tempo Music and Dance Academy, Miami Salsa Driven's classes focus on improving students' self-confidence and fitness levels with hands-on instruction and practice. One of the studio's walls is completely covered in full-length mirrors, allowing dancers to adjust their posture to match the instructor's or enjoy uninterrupted eye contact with themselves.
Featuring instructors who have performed with the Ringling Bros. and Cirque du Soleil, South Florida Circus Art School's classes meld strength, beauty, and aerial grace. With each 60-mintue flying-yoga session, an aerialist expert will teach posing fundamentals and physical training to solidify core strength. Led by the well-balanced directives of professional circus performer and yoga specialist, flying-yoga classes alleviate pressure from the body, cleanse the spirit with inner balance, and relieve any stress in astronauts wistful for low-gravity environs. During each class, aspiring contortionists use hammocks to pose as circus aerialists for 30 minutes, resulting in full decompression of bodily lines. In addition to channeling their inner arachnids, participants spend the remainder of the time toning muscles through a series of floor exercises over padded surfaces.
The members of PAN Performing Arts Network bring a range of backgrounds to their international collective: some are experienced musical composers, guitarists, and singers, while others are established teaching artists and actors. Their expertise allows them to gather all the arts under one roof with an annual performance season and more than 40 regular classes each week. These classes span instruction in dance styles such as ballet, modern, Afro-Haitian, and Irish step, as well as training in creative movement, acting, instrumental music, and voice. Instructors tailor their classes to the needs of beginner through advanced-level adults, children, and children disguised as adults. They also provide classes suited to senior citizens and students with special needs.
The two founders of Aquachild Swim School—Scott Launer and Brian Lilburn—came to embrace aquatic education through disparate means. When Scott took his then 2-year-old daughter, Jaya, to swim lessons, he was amazed to see 10-month-old babies floating on their own and began his journey to becoming a youth swim instructor. Brian, who nearly drowned in a backyard pool as a toddler, learned to love the water rather than fear it after his mom enrolled him in swim lessons. Scotty and Brian now share their life-saving knowledge alongside a staff of instructors that are all certified in water safety, first aid, and CPR.
Through Aquachild Swim School’s specially designed lessons, infants as young as 10 months learn to roll from facedown positions to back floats where they can breathe easily, and 1-year-old students begin to swim with their heads down, then twist onto their backs for air. As kids progress, they learn the four major strokes (front crawl, backstroke, breaststroke, and butterfly), brush up on the basics to keep them confident, or start snorkeling. The instructors lead adult lessons to help older students learn how to paddle at pool parties or triumphantly retrieve their boss’s golf ball from a green’s lagoon during corporate outings.
The area’s newest comedy club, Bonkerz facilitates human laughter with a changing lineup of jokesters whose hijinks have appeared on Comedy Central, CBS, and HBO. Cackle at the self-deprecating humor and collection of medieval whoopee cushions of Dave Williamson—Bonkerz’s featured comedian, who has earned high ranks in national comedy competitions and opened for renowned funnymen such as Gilbert Gottfried, Jimmy Fallon, and Christopher Titus. Other performers include former marine biologist Forrest Shaw, master of sarcasm Pedro Lima, and Erik Myers, known for his machine-gun-like delivery. During the performance, patrons can transform belly grumbles into belly laughs with award-winning Cuban-Thai fusion cooking, or use their drinks to see who can do the fastest spit-take (food and drink are not included in this Groupon).
The SweetTooth Soiree spotlights the top bakeries, candy-makers, and dessert experts in South Florida. Vendors dish out samples of their signature sweets, including gooey brownies, artfully frosted cakes, and rainbow-colored candy. The entertainment ranges from DJ-spun tunes to dessert-making demos, which teach visitors to create confections more sophisticated than a mud pie covered in edible gold leaf.