Energetic instructors at Work It lead cardio, dance, and fitness classes seven days a week, cycling through yoga poses and spinning around poles in workouts that avoid gym monotony. Cadres of exercisers move to blood-pumping Latin–based choreography in cardio-heavy Zumba courses ($18/class), where alternating quick and slow tempos create a temporal distortion field previously accessible only to the funkiest physicists. Introductory pole-dancing courses ($25/class) let practitioners build strength and confidence as they twirl aerobically around metallic dance partners who never slip or insist on solo river-dancing routines.
Dancing and parties go hand in hand, and at Studio 44 Dance and Fitness, that’s especially true. Inside the 2,100-square-foot downtown Westport studio, artistic director Sue Benton and her team of instructors, many of whom are professional dancers, lead students of all fitness levels through easy-to-follow dance and strength-training classes. During Dance 44 sessions, students move to swing, rock-n-roll, and R&B. Unique classes include Grooveology, which gets bodies moving and shaking during easy-to-follow routines that blend techniques from street jazz, hip-hop, modern, and lyrical dance.
And while Sue heads up the dance side of Studio 44, owner Candace McCarthy helms the events side, which transforms the modern studio into an elegant space for birthdays, weddings, and creative endeavors such as photo shoots and fashion shows. With years of event-planning experience under her party hat, Candace is on hand to assist with event preparations including coordinating floral arrangements, developing creative themes, and scheduling catering services. During these soirees, guests can take advantage of Studio 44’s 1,500-square-foot common area, as well as the spacious studio’s stereo system and dance floor.
Named the 6th Best Thing to Do in Stamford by Mofflymedia.com, Metropolitan Dance Center was born of the combined experience and brainpower of John DePalma and Steven Dougherty—a television personality featured on America’s Ballroom Challenge and a national dance champion, respectively—who’ve both garnered revered reputations within the ballroom community through their extensive knowledge and training. Backed by a team of certified instructors, they teach students to glide across the dance floor through their progressive curriculum, which is certified by the Dance Vision International Dance Association. They map students’ progress as they teach them to sway and samba through Latin and ballroom moves during group and private lessons. They also help couples to perfect their first newlywed spin across the dance floor with private wedding-dance lessons customized to the beat of the couple’s wedding song or first shared Morse-code message. The studio also hosts open practice sessions, allowing burgeoning dancers to mix and mingle, practicing their new dance moves to a variety of tunes in a comfortable environment.
Over the course of four weekly scheduled dance classes, Maria Fiora's energetic instructors guide kids through graceful, rhythmic steps while divulging the secrets of mastering specific dance techniques. Monday evening's hip-hop classes teach pupils ages 7–12 the art of popping and locking, providing an arsenal of new moves to flaunt at school dances and after-school detention. Geared for youngsters ages 4–6, Tuesday's creative-dance classes develop introductory skills and encourage originality with movements that exercise imaginations. Pint-size hoofers ages 7–13 can also learn the basics of ballroom and Latin dance on Wednesday, and kids ages 7–12 can perform cha-cha, salsa, and samba steps during Latin jazz lessons on Thursday.
At Encore Dance Academy, tiny feet pirouette and leap across a safety-sprung wood floor during a classic ballet class. That’s just one of the ways the instructors get bodies moving in dance classes for wee ones as young as 6 months to adults. The roster includes jazz, tap, hip-hop, and musical-theater dance forms, led by experienced instructors certified in CPR and first aid. They create an energetic and friendly atmosphere in which dancers of all ages can feel free to express themselves through movement. To carve out toned physiques, adults can groove to the Latin beats of Zumba, which includes free babysitting so parents can bust a move without duct-taping their child to their chest.
The dance center also hosts birthday parties and camps, come summertime, that encourage kids up to age 8 to step into the rolls of divas and rock stars while learning a dance step or two.
For more than 25 years, Kings Park Dance Center has taught hip-hop, ballet, tap, jazz, modern, and musical-theater classes to dancers of all ages. In addition to dance instruction, the studio offers voice lessons, drama classes, Zumba, and acrobatics classes that emphasize gymnastics floor skills. On occasion, dancers can attend studio-hosted masters classes taught by professional dancers and choreographers including Tyce Diorio, Stephen “Twitch” Boss, and Wade Robson.
Toes tap, soles crisscross, and ankles point and flex as pairs of dancers whirl across Arthur Murray’s smooth floors, where Sacramento-area hoofers have practiced steps since 1947. A specialized curriculum imparts basics such as foot position and rhythm, as well as how to lead, follow, or trot across the ceiling during beginning classes, and eventually ushers students into bronze, silver, and competition-level gold classes. Graceful instructors certified through the World Professional Dance Teachers Association lead classes and events such as private lessons, group formation practices, core rhythms reviews, and weekly practice parties.