Shiny silver poles serve as each student's dance partner during Awakenings' pole dance fitness classes, which are designed to, "awaken your inner goddess". But the classes aren't just about learning the art of seduction. By mastering graceful moves on the stationary apparatus, students get a full-body workout that combines elements of yoga, aerobics, dance, and strength training. Aerial arts classes deliver similar benefits, but instead of using a pole, students lift off the ground with the help of silks and aerial hoops that allow them to perform yoga poses and inversions in the air. But Awakenings also has classes for those who prefer to keep their feet on solid ground—burlesque classes, for example, teach the age-old art of the tease, and incorporate the use of traditional props such as chairs, boas, and Nixon masks.
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.
The Philadelphia School of Circus Arts offers a wholly inimitable experience featuring acrobatic engagement with the big top’s most artistic and athletically invigorating equipment. In the Groupon-exclusive, 60-minute Intro to Circus Arts class, the school’s seasoned instructors lead students through the ups, downs, and upside-downs of disciplines including juggling, fabric performance, trapeze tight-wire, and plate spinning. Active, free-spirited, and safe, the class pushes participants through light physical challenges, intermediate tests of focus, and never-ending wrestling matches against Father Gravity. Beginning on January 15, sessions run from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Saturdays and are open to all levels of talent and curiosity.
Arthur Murray has been a leading name in franchise dance since 1912, when the entrepreneur began selling mail-order dance lessons. Expanding his reach, he enlisted teachers to spread his signature dance lessons on first-class steamships and skyrocketed to fame in the 1930s after introducing the public to such dances as the Lambeth Walk and The Big Apple. By the 1950s, Arthur and his wife, Kathryn, were hosting their own highly popular TV show on ABC, The Arthur Murray Party, which ran for 12 years. Today, Arthur Murray's team prepares students for rug cutting at special events and weekend nightclub jaunts. Throughout lessons, instructors teach the foundations of two to four dances from a long list of styles that range from latin to country-western, helping students to learn basic step patterns, timing, and the ability to lead or follow.
The band of instructors at Aloha Style Polynesian Dance cultivate a relaxed ohana, or family atmosphere, that encourages students of all experience levels. Hula classes meld the ancient (hula kahiko) and more contemporary (hula ‘auana) form of the dance, while also delving into Hawaiian history and culture. Click here to view the full list of hula classes.
If there is a major dance competition out there, Scott Lazarov has probably placed in it. Along with gracing the cover of Philadelphia Magazine and performing at the Academy of Music, the founder of DanceSport Academy has won four US and World Pro-Am championships and was named champion of US Salsa, Rising Star, and Grand National championships. At DanceSport, Scott and his fellow instructors teach dance as both a social outlet and a competitive art form, and break down complicated styles into simple steps. Private and group classes teach a foundation of balance, posture, and timing that can then be mapped onto styles as varied as mambo, swing, merengue, or the Viennese waltz. Serious students can also gear up for competitions through a comprehensive training approach that addresses choreography, costuming, and production of the oversized foam fingers given out to the judges.