There are two ways to learn to pole dance at Fit Candy Studio. The women's gym hosts no-commitment drop-in classes, along with four-week Pole University sequences. The latter meets weekly, which fosters a sense of community among classmates, and allows the teacher to steadily ramp up the intensity of the routines. Through classes in either style, though, students can expand their pole-dancing repertoire, from floor work and fundamentals to inversions to finally getting the pole to dance on its own. The instructors complement their signature pole classes with other flirty fitness styles, too, such as chair dancing and Zumba.
Classically trained and culturally diverse, Ballethnic Dance Company blends traditional ballet with the artistic influences of ethnic cultures. Its classes include ballet at all levels, hip hop, and jazz, along with more unique offerings such as African and ballethnicize, an original dance style developed by cofounder Waverly Lucas.
Francisco Antonio Rodrigues da Silva⎯better known to his students as Mestre Fran⎯began his journey with Caopeira at age 10, studying the ancient dancelike martial art under a seasoned teacher in Sao Paolo. After years of learning the hypnotic rhythmic moves of Capoeira and studying the African dance rhythms of Macuele, Mestre Fran took his art to the streets of Londrina, Brazil, giving impoverished youth a positive outlet for their creative energies with public performances and classes. After developing a successful martial arts organization in his home country, Mestre Fran set out for the United States in 2002, introducing Americans to Caoperia through cultural shows throughout the Atlanta area and instructing newcomers through beginner, children's, and adult classes.
Like punching a portrait of your smug fruit bowl, capoeria combines both art and fighting. The practice develops the mind, body, and spirit by instilling self-confidence, building agility and strength, and teaching students about the vibrant culture of Brazil. Capoeiristas twist and bob to the rhythm of drums as they execute gymnastic kicks and turns, or they show off their newfound knowledge at the studio's Friday-night Samba, Macuele, and Portuguese language classes.
No one has ever trained for the lead in Swan Lake just to tighten their abs, but dancers, choreographers, and Atlanta Zumba Dance instructors Faaridah and Nahari both agree that it comes with the territory. That’s why they’ve channeled their experiences in the performing arts into a platform for dance-based fitness instruction. Faaridah was particularly drawn to Zumba because of her Caribbean and Hispanic heritage, and Nahari has been a student of Middle Eastern dances for nearly a decade, so their curriculum of Zumba and belly dancing was a natural fit.
Students can shed pounds and throw on their shiniest layer of sweat during Zumba classes, a 60-minute dance-based aerobic workout with easy-to-follow choreography performed to a soundtrack of Latin rhythms. The dance moves are an amalgam of styles that includes elements of salsa, cha-cha, merengue, flamenco, and tango. Classes at Atlanta Zumba Dance always begin with a warm-up, followed by intervals of faster and slower tempos. Visits conclude with a cool-down and stretch session. In addition to group classes, patrons may rent the studio for a private-lesson Zumba party or to spin around in an office chair without anyone telling them that they’ll get sick.
Asiya Khasnutdinova knows the dance world. As a five-time Latin dance champion in her native Russia and top-20 contestant on So You Think You Can Dance, she'd mastered the combination of artistry and strength needed to wow her crowds. However, she also knew it would take more than just dedication to own a dance and health club. So in order to realize this dream, she decided to partner with her mother, enlisting Svetlana Khasnutdinova's experience running her own medical practice.
The result? Valeo Dance Fitness Studio, where Asiya helps clients lose weight and have fun during dance-based cardio classes that incorporate elements of strength training, interval work, and resistance exercises. These ValeoFit 1000 workouts help clients burn up to 1,000 calories and tone their entire bodies through dance routines that may include weighted hula hoops, weights, and resistance bands. When muscles get weary after workouts, clients can also pick up a Valeo Beauty Bar, an all-natural skin care product designed by Svetlana to ease away pent-up toxins and bust stubborn cellulite.
The sounds of jazz, hip hop, and other contemporary genres fill the four large studios at Gotta Dance Atlanta's 9,000-square-foot facility. Instructors describe the dance and fitness center as a "home away from home" for dancers of all abilities, and it's not hard to see why. Beginners can learn how to cut a rug or mow a hardwood floor in "Explore" classes that require no prior knowledge of dance terminology. Even dancers who have already worked up to the professional level can find a class to match their style, be it salsa or ballet. Students of all abilities benefit from classes such as Awesome Abs and Cardio Hip-Hop, which use dance as a jumping-off point for fitness workouts that tone and shape the body.