A class at Josie?s International School of Dance is like a passport to the pulsating rhythms of the world. You can groove to the sultry beats of Latin music, sway through a traditional belly-dance routine, or slow-dance with a saxophone during a jazz class. Youth and adult classes explore these and other disciplines in depth with teachers who have studied everywhere from the Joffrey Ballet School in New York to private dance schools in Egypt.
The experienced dance instructors at Steeltoes Dance Studios have been teaching little ones to gracefully twirl and leap across the dance floor for 29 years. They strive to boost each student’s self-image as they dole out personal attention and technique corrections in their studio’s friendly, noncompetitive environment. Their small-group classes range from vocal to ballet and tap to hip-hop, and are divided by age into junior, teen, and adult classes. During hip-hop sessions, the staff teaches current moves from modern stars such as Usher, Beyoncé, Selena Gomez, and Bing Crosby. They’ve rounded out their class roster with musical theater and pre-school creative dance and interpretive-dance classes, which help kids express themselves.
Just like its namesake, Fred Astaire Dance Studio of Bedford Hills reflects the best of dancing’s midcentury heyday by schooling dancers in styles such as swing, foxtrot, and tango during classes and parties. Russian dance champions Yuri and Elena Tsarev tap their feet—but never impatiently—as they instruct private and group lessons. The duo wins the trust of its students by creating a supportive environment where pupils can try hip-shaking samba routines. Specialty lessons take the stress out of preparing for weddings and cruises, giving pupils time to learn the basic steps with the undivided attention of an instructor prepared to fire a six-shooter at feet to prevent missteps.
Arthur Murray has been a leading name in franchise dance since 1912, when the entrepreneur began selling mail-order dance lessons. Expanding his reach, he enlisted teachers to spread his signature dance lessons on first-class steamships and skyrocketed to fame in the '30s after introducing the public to such dances as the Lambeth Walk and The Big Apple. By the 1950s, Arthur and his wife, Kathryn, were hosting their own highly popular TV show on ABC, The Arthur Murray Dance Party, which ran for 12 years. Today, Arthur Murray's team prepares students for rug cutting at special events and weekend nightclub jaunts. Throughout lessons, instructors teach the foundations of two to four dances from a long list of styles that range from Latin to country-western, helping students to learn basic step patterns, timing, and the ability to lead or follow.