Within the walls of the Farview Fire Company firehouse, the instructors of Best Foot Forward Dance Center guide children and adults through ballroom, latin, and swing-dancing moves. Students can attend private or group lessons, and can show off newly learned skills during dance socials complete with DJs and refreshments.
A nonprofit cultural and educational organization, the Art of Motion teaches and presents dance, theater, and vocal music, a mix of entertainment not seen since Shakespeare’s musical about kings and queens dancing to the death. The roster of instructors includes well-known choreographers and dancers who take a professional approach to classes—whether it’s a drop-in class, summer intensive, or yearlong program. They specialize in technique and training. Along with multiple performances by its repertory dance company during the year, the studio hosts semi-private and private lessons. Their spacious studio, furnished with well-equipped bars and floor space for dance and Pilates, also holds training programs for children and adults.
Edie Ollwerther grew up a touring dancer, with television and teaching credits to her name. When she married, she took a break—but it wasn't long before neighborhood parents knew of her history in dance. They encouraged her to begin giving lessons to their children, and Edie obliged by transforming her basement into a studio space.
That was in the 1970s. Today, Edie and her fellow instructors—some of whom are former students, now grown—act as the heads of a continually growing family of dancers. Their curriculum encompasses tap, jazz, ballet, and musical theater, as well as vocal coaching and hip-hop routines. Some of their pupils learn to shimmy as a hobby, and others aim to join the competition team, whose performances have taken them to Disney World and aboard a Carnival Cruise ship.
Since 1964, students of Rose's School of Dance have learned the timeless art of graceful footwork. Today, the schedule of classes represents a mix of old and new styles, and includes hip-hop as well as classic ballet and jazz. Though dance trends may change, the musical accompaniment remains the same; unlike many studios, Rose's School of Dance still boasts a live piano player during ballet, pointe, and tap lessons.
Susan Quinn. Amy Ernst. Sam Watson. To some, these are the names of great dancers, but to Deana Careccio-Gentile they are former teachers. Over her more than 25-year career, Careccio-Gentile has been a focused and accomplished dancer. It's only in the last six years that she has turned to teaching, and she came into the role with the same high industry standards with which she approached dancing professionally. Her supporting staff at DDA Dance Academy includes four former Rockettes, a former Miss North Carolina, Broadway veterans, and a finalist from the second season of So You Think You Can Dance. Together, the team guides students to perform with precise technique, yet the classroom atmosphere always feels fun and encouraging. Programs range from 30-minute dance classes for 2.5- to 5-year-olds to Zumba and Pilates for adults. Other classes include ballet, jazz, hip-hop, and tap for kids aged 6 and up, though the staff makes exceptions for younger kids who prove they can drink Gatorade out of their sippy cups without spilling.
It's all about self-expression at Backstage Performing Arts Center, where instructors enkindle the passion that their students feel for dance. Students as young as 15 months or as old as 21 will find a class for their age group in the studio's expansive curriculum. Small class sizes ensure that instructors can take time to tweak each participant's technique, whether the class is jazz, tap, ballet, or tumbling.