For Maria de Sousa, tango dancing was part of her Argentinian heritage. She embraced the style as a way to reconnect with her native country, and traveled back and forth between her American home and Buenos Aires to master her steps. Conversely, for Pierre Baston, his passion for tango began as a foreign fascination. He watched a dinner show while visiting Buenos Aires that enraptured him, inspiring him to immerse himself not only in dance lessons, but historical and cultural research—he still collects authentic tango sheet music from the early 20th century. Both dancers became certified through a master's program at the Escuela Argentina de Tango in Buenos Aires, and now elucidate the art of dipping and spinning at eight Philadelphia locales.
Maria and Pierre walk students of all experience levels through tango's passionate choreography. They host group classes for social learning experiences, and lead private seminars at their studios or a venue of the client's choice. Because they coordinate all the necessary partner match-ups and music, their protégés needn't bring a companion or play Keep Away with a violin's bow to make it whine.
• For $49, you get a six-session dance course for one person (a $386 value). • For $99, you get a six-session dance course for a pair (a $460 value). With 35 years of experience in shimmy-shaking education, the academy draws on 35 years of experience and a three-part learning system choreographed to help students master the basics of ballroom and Latin dance styles. Two 40-minute private lessons let arms shake hands with and feet tiptoe into a slew of foundational steps under the individual attention of a patient, devoted instructor. After private lessons, schedule two 45-minute group classes to mingle with up to seven other students and pair up with different partners.
Starting in 1998 in the Philadelphia suburbs, the women behind Art of Exotic Dancing have strutted and hip-rolled their way to the forefront of a surge of interest in fun, sensual movement. Dedicated to fostering a comfortable space where all participants feel safe, the certified instructors proffer encouragement and reassurance as they teach dances that emphasize self-expression, personal power, and natural movement. Women learn to dance to a full song during the 90-minute CoreMoves class, while the Signature Workshop fortifies confidence via flirtatious techniques such as sensual walking and slow-motion winking.
Led by seasoned hatha yoga practitioner Valerie Rushmere, Studio 1831 immerses guests in an environment focused on fitness and spiritual health. Also a master belly dancer who performs under the stage name Valarina, Rushmere leads classes that cover the beguilingly, sinuous shimmies of Egyptian and cabaret-style belly dance as well as friendly, open yoga sessions. In addition to classes, Studio 1831 offers Art of Burlesque girls' nights out, wherein groups of up to 20 learn exotic dance moves.
Drawing from diverse backgrounds in choreography, sports, and dance, the instructors at MasterJay Moves Dance Studios and Philly Premier Pole Dance lead a schedule of coed classes for dancers of all skill levels. The team helps participants to exude allure while practicing Spider-Man impressions on 20 shining poles or hip shaking along to Latin rhythms. Whereas classes impart new skills, private parties allow students and their friends to practice striptease and sensual pole movements in a low-pressure environment so they can celebrate engagements or figure out how to entrance local volunteer firefighters.
Darlin Garcia, the first-place finisher at the 2010 and 2011 Philadelphia SalsaFest, founded Art In Motion Dance Academy to provide a world-class environment in which dancers could form a community built around excellence and teamwork. Home to the Art In Motion Latin Dancers dance team, a squad that has traveled around the world to teach and compete, the academy also offers dance classes to outside students.
Pupils learn salsa, mambo, merengue, and any number of other Latin dance styles under the tutelage of trained and friendly instructors. Men, women, or mannequins with a strong sense of rhythm can also participate in Zumba sessions, which blend elements of Latin dance with exercise routines.
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