DanceStudios.Ca's class schedule might look overwhelming at first, but that's just due to the sheer breadth of its offerings. From the spirited, sultry moves of bachata, cha-cha, and salsa to the crisp, formal spins of the fox trot and waltz, its classes each focus on a different aspect of dance. There are even belly-dance, burlesque, and Zumba classes to inspire a playful approach to movement.
Dozens of veteran gymnasts serve as instructors in Starr Gymnastics’ three Ottawa-area facilities, where they favour instruction that emphasizes the most beneficial aspects of gymnastics: enjoyment, physical fitness, and socialization. Since only a small percentage of gymnastics athletes ever cartwheel their way to the competitive level, Starr Gymnastics' instructors teach proper balance-beam technique and safe tumbling skills without skimping on the fun, reminding their gleeful charges of gymnastics' inherent power to imbue agility and a foundational skill set easily applicable to turbo-kicking bad guys in dark alleys.
Starr's high-spirited staff occasionally spices up the play by inviting pint-sized gymnasts to don costumes or by darkening the arena while pupils leap, flip, and bear glowing cuspids amid a sea of black lights. The gym's festive approach to youth fitness occupies vacationing students during school breaks with summer camps, and birthday celebrants frequently gather in colourful private rooms for party packages that include equipment access and a T-shirt for the guest of honour.
The consortium of professional instructors at Fred Astaire Dance Studios, which was cofounded by the legendary toe tapper himself, shepherds students of all ages and skill levels through lessons that span the style spectrum. Low-pressure private sessions allow enthusiastic teachers to fine-tune individual students' techniques and form, using their expert eyes and mechanical dancing shoes preprogrammed to do the Charleston. Patrons can learn how to cavort through classic waltz and fox-trot romps or swivel through the modern steps of salsa, swing, or samba. For dancers hoping to hoof it up in a social setting, the group practice parties provide a one-night extravaganza of instruction, demonstrations, and amateur firewalking.
The knowledgeable staff at Final Pass Pro Shop caters to both hockey players and figure skaters, stocking its shelves with professional-quality gear, clothes, and equipment. Patrons peruse the walls to find sticks and bags from brands such as Bauer along with NHL jerseys and figure-skating tights and guards. In addition to supplying skates for men and women, the pros keep blades ready to make quick stops and tight curves with professional sharpening, a service recommended if you haven’t used your skates since last winter except for pruning shrubbery.
Master Florin Fratean started training in martial arts in 1977, launching himself into a multi-decade career marked by work with iconic teachers, including Gen. Choi Hong Hi, the founder of Taekwon-Do. Fratean doesn't keep his accumulated wisdom and expertise to himself, though. Rather, he teaches a range of martial art disciplines, including Taekwon-Do, Muay Tahi/kickboxing, Brazilian Jiu jitsu, and MMA, to students of all ages in his 5,000-square-foot martial arts studio devoted to boosting health, self-confidence, and the ability to fend off attacks from wooden boards. For kids, he and his team supplement self-defense classes with crafts, monitored homework time, and games during an after-school program, which provides free rides from school by a licensed bus driver. They also offer CrossFit BootCamps, which blend techniques from a swath of martial art forms with movements from traditional fitness and body shaping regimens for an effective and well-rounded approach to exercise.
Eschewing the single-minded focus on form that often dominates other tennis schools, the trainers at The "Challengers" Tennis Academies of Canada take a holistic approach to the game. They lay the foundation for successful competition with individualized player-development plans. Zeroing in on personal fitness, the academies put students through intensive workouts that translate to on-court success, including running, footwork drills, and rewarding scurrying ballboys with sugar cubes. Video presentations and match analyses help budding stars dissect masters' performances, and technique drills imbue players with impeccable muscle memory for serves, volleys, and returns. An adult recreational league gives older racqueteers the chance to keep their play sharp, and a progressive tennis program for youngsters gently introduces kids aged 5–10 to the joys of the game.