The instructors and staff members at Peninsula School of Performing Arts all share a common goal: teaching students the art of dance. Children and adults alike flock to their studio, eager to learn dance styles ranging from classical ballet to tap, jazz, and hip-hop steps. More advanced dancers can even find placement––not to mention another creative outlet––on one of the school's dance companies.
At Heart & Pole, veteran, enthusiastic instructors lead classes of bodily mastery and sultry exploration. Designed as a pole primer, the Introduction to Pole-Dance class provides a taste-test of Heart & Pole's pole program, with a complete workout and teaching of basic tricks on the ever-elusive pole. The Girlie Burlesque class teaches students a routine that can easily be used at home, onstage, or at a home stage in the kitchen. There are three possible routines broken up by accessories: feather boas and stockings, pearls and gloves, and shirts, ties, fedoras, and Hulkamania foam fingers (check with Heart & Pole to confirm which routine will be taught in each class).
GROOV3 founder, Benjamin Allen, seems drawn to dance floors. At the school parties and bat mitzvahs of his youth, he was always showcasing his moves. Though he earned a degree in business and communication from Arizona State University, the call of the dance floor proved stronger than that of the corporate world. Soon after graduation, Benjamin moved to Los Angeles to devote fully himself to the art of the groove in numerous TV commercials, musicals, sitcoms, and stage performances. Benjamin shares his passion for dance with students at GROOV3 during non-competitive cardio-dance classes. GROOV3's fleet of experienced instructors and live DJs attempt to build a community of like-minded dancers and share their commitment to fun-filled calorie burning in a relaxed atmosphere. Classes help students of all fitness levels kick-start their hearts and torch a few calories with energetic dance experiences that tone up muscles along the way.
Romance and Dance Pole Aerobics welcomes women of every age, build, and fitness level to their studio, where 15 poles comprise a stage for empowering twirls. Each instructor strives to spark new self-confidence in the students through pole and chair dance as well as workout classes, which impart techniques from booty isolations to handstands. Private parties held onsite or at area homes teach small groups to channel seemingly weightless wiles. On alternating months, celebrity pole instructors captain specialized workshops, highlighting new tricks, such as how to make phone calls with your stiletto.
Melanie Archer-Dieveney took to Pilates instantly. As a new mother, she turned to the core-strengthening art to reshape her body, and in the process, she began to reshape her life. She was amazed not only by the transformation in how her body looked, but how it felt—she noticed an increase in her energy and focus levels, a very welcome change to the single mom of a 2-year-old. After getting her certification, she decided to create a studio where like-minded exercisers could bring their children to class. Archer Pilates & Wellness originally opened as a small labor of love in her garage. But today, alongside a team of licensed and certified instructors, she leads her classes in a serene studio with gleaming wood floors and numerous props, including Pilates reformer machines, medicine balls, and four brass poles for pole-dancing classes. She has developed a hands-on, customized roster of Pilates classes, ensuring that each guest performs workouts specifically tailored to their goals, whether they want to lose inches or build core muscles strong enough to deflect a sprinting child less than 60 pounds. As adults lengthen and strengthen their muscles, the instructors also lead kids through Pilates and yoga classes, taking a more active and engaging approach to traditional childcare.
Regardless of dress size or dance background, each woman who enters one of The Secret Pole Dance Studios becomes a part of a supportive community. At both the original Culver City studio and the brand new Hawthorne location, instructors dish out compliments as they guide women through choreographed fitness routines, empowering dancers to overcome inhibitions and let loose along the way. During the Pole Diva and Sensual Movement classes, instructors also encourage camaraderie, occasionally breaking participants into groups and have them perform for one another. Though it may seem intimidating, this opportunity to show off in front of a nurturing audience provides students with the opportunity to build self-esteem.
In addition to boosting mental fortitude, the studio's sensual fitness routines also build physical strength; pole-dancing classes sculpt arms and cores, and chair-dancing classes firm up glutes, quads, and newly emerged dorsal fins. Classes unfold in the studios or on location, but the fun doesn't necessarily end once the imaginary bell rings; groups of gals can even reserve the spaces for private dance parties.