Over careers spanning 25 years and 15 pairs of spontaneously combusted shoes between the two of them, Academy of Ballroom Dance instructors Jim and Jenell Maranto have chalked up a long list of professional-dancing and dance-instruction achievements. The pair entered the dance world from backgrounds as high-level college athletes, and after meeting and teaming up, they whirled through professional dance competitions, winning every major Open Professional Smooth contest in the United States and two consecutive US American Smooth Championships in 1993 and 1994. More recently, the couple has taken to training new generations of winning dancers, including several US Pro-Am and Amateur champions, and both have won teaching awards for their efforts and their ability to explain high-level physics while foxtrotting. Any level of dancer may receive private instruction from Jim or Jenell in any of 26 styles of dance.
The Pure Barre program promises that within one 55-minute class, participants achieve a total workout targeted at the areas of the body women struggle with most: bottom, hips, thighs, abs and arms. Gym owners and sisters Marirose and Veronica Weyand are trained sports and health professionals, so they focus on low-impact exercise, protecting joints by avoiding any bouncing or jumping. A post-workout stretch session helps keep muscles long and lean, while elements of yoga and meditation sprinkled throughout the session keep minds equally as active. Even the Pure Barre Phoenix setting is Zen-like, with a stainless steel and sleek wood entryway, and minimalist workout space that includes plenty of mirrors and – of course – ballet barres.
As toes twinkle onstage, visitors can bask in the renovated scenery of Symphony Hall, which couples hand-blown glass chandeliers with a quartet of designer tapestries. One of the largest machine-made draperies known to man, the theater’s colorful Grand Drape symbolizes the renewal of generations, creativity, and library books discovered during fossil digs.
The professional facilities at Arizona Sunrays include a massive gym filled with a range of gymnastics equipment, an area for preschool-age children with preschool-sized equipment, and a dance studio. During Kids Night Out, a highly trained staff will ensure that each child has the best instruction while enjoying diverse physical-education activities. Kids Night Out is subject to availability, so call ahead to reserve a spot. Parents or guardians must sign a release form.
Big cat Terry Schmoyer and his grooving kittens pound Fatcat Ballroom and Dance Company’s 5,800-square-foot floating hardwood floor with a variety of dance styles. Friday and Saturday group lessons begin at 7:30 p.m. each night, tangoing, waltzing, and swinging along for 45 minutes. The first class covers basic steps, and the second half works through more challenging dance patterns and introduces basic levitation. The Saturday-night party rewards class graduates with three hours of lively music, snacks, and ample space to practice new moves. Three 60-minute private lessons furnish solo shakers with in-depth technical instruction. Whether quickstepping through the foxtrot or preparing jaw muscles to clench rose stems throughout an extended tango, students easily gain and retain formal elegance thanks to traditional long-form teaching methods.
Studio manager, instructor, and musician Michael Jewell lives through rhythm. He sought ballroom dance as another means to express himself through music, and throughout more than a decade of mastering fancy footwork, he’s come to truly believe that anyone can learn to dance. That’s why he and his team of instructors welcome singles and couples of any experience level to their slate-blue studio's gleaming floors. They teach swing, latin, ballroom, and two-step styles in group and private lessons, and host biweekly social parties, during which students can show off their newly acquired grooves while mingling with other dancers. The instructors also take their students on group trips and “Out On The Towns,” where they can practice their moves in public settings, rather than putting on more performances in their bedrooms for audiences of teddy bears.