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.
Wind-leashed high-flier and Skybanditz founder Francisco Escudero has blown spectators away at such competitions as the Velocity Games and the Bahamas kite race. He is the North Miami Beach area coordinator of the Florida Kitesurfing Association and founder of Skybanditz, where he and his trained staff conduct all manner of surf- and sky-borne expeditions. They outfit maritime adventurers with all the proper kiteboarding, kayaking, and paddleboarding gear, as well as lead kayak tours through Marine Stadium and several small islands. They also give guests the option to explore the high seas on their own or with friends. Instructors, meanwhile, cover safety and proper techniques during kitesurfing programs that range from beginner level to Level X, an echelon they reserve for students who are ultra-advanced or genetically related to flying squirrels.
US 1 Fitness has sculpted local physiques for nearly 20 years in a 24-hour workout facility equipped with helpful staff and parent-friendly childcare. Designed for students of all skill sets, 25 weekly classes sling supportive group workouts that make muscles burn with satisfaction, like an insult uttered from the lips of a sarcastic fire swallower. Spinning students pedal toward fitness goals atop Johnny G bikes, as Zumba workouts incite a metabolic brushfire with fiery dance moves inspired by salsa, samba, and tango. Like a three-legged race with Sigmund Freud, yoga classes unite both mind and body with sinew-stretching poses, strength work, and focusing exercises, and Absolute Abs chisels cement-like stomachs with 15 minutes of intense core-centric conditioning. Consult the class schedule for specific dates and times.
Y JetSki indulges aquatic adventurers with a fleet of luxurious boats and action-ready jet skis. Voyagers of the excursion will cruise along the shores of Miami from Star Island to the high-rises of downtown in a 60-foot Gulf Craft yacht. Tunes, complimentary drinks, and snacks make it a floating party, like a hot air balloon filled with cocktail wieners. During the nighttime outing, softer music accompanies the journey as the city lights bathe the boat in a peaceful glow. Alternatively, plot your own course with 90 minutes atop an ocean-carving jet ski. Seven days a week, the high-powered watercraft propel wave wizards along Miami's dazzling coastline and all over the ocean bay. When fatigue sets in, jetters can anchor, relax, and illicitly sand-castle-smash at the nearby sandbar.
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.
Miami Exotic Workouts Pole Fitness believes getting fit doesn't require spending hours in a gym and performing monotonous exercises. Through their pole-fitness classes, which range from beginner's to advanced sessions, and their alternative-fitness classes, such as Booty Aerobics and Sexi Flexi, they help ladies burn calories and strengthen muscles without lifting a single weight. That's not to say the studio's workouts aren't challenging. Classes such as Pole Kitten require students to suspend themselves in the air simply with their thigh muscles, and Sexy Chair Fitness & Pole combine a variety of exercises that test students' leg and ab muscles for a full 60 minutes. If the studio and a traditional gym do share one quality, it's the confidence that they instill in their clients. Miami Exotic members come away with a boost in their self-esteem, making it easier for them to confront the banana spider that's taken over their living room.
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