Students of all skill levels learn to shimmy with grace during Pittsburgh Bellydance Academy's comprehensive bellydance classes. Beneath the pressed-tin ceilings of a renovated theater-turned-studio, experienced instructors lead dancers in beautiful movements that can also help tighten and tone the body. Besides combinations, choreography, and head-to-toe technique, many sessions include flexibility and strength training. Others enhance the aesthetic experience with props such as the single and double veil, zills, canes, and fan veils. Students also receive training in musicality, interpretation, improvisation, and performance skills, helping prepare them for biannual showcase performances where they can show off their new moves.
The proud and pliable recipient of a yoga mat's worth of accolades, Amazing Yoga spreads its limber arms to embrace all practitioners, welcoming stretching sophomores and savants alike. Talented, passionate instructors lead an array of classes over a flexible schedule at each of Amazing Yoga's four studios. Clients can frequent the studio of their choice and stack their chakras in classes such as the Basics, a beginner's power-yoga class that emphasizes foundation postures, helping practitioners build up a strong foundation to withstand floods, high winds, and tickling attacks. Amazing Yoga recommends bringing your own water bottle and a mat to classes, though rental mats are available for $2 per class.
Beginning in 2001 as a small fitness operation in the basement of an office building, Pure Barre has since blossomed into a widely acclaimed, widely publicized approach to exercise with a nationwide following. Dancer, choreographer, and fitness buff Carrie Rezabek Dorr founded Pure Barre more than a decade ago in Birmingham, MI. Since then, Carrie has traveled around the country, hopping from gym to gym demonstrating the innovative program that draws techniques from ballet. Much like angering a witch with a penchant for frog spells, performing the Pure Barre technique can be a fast and effective way to transform your body. Motivating music slices through the 60-minute workouts, each of which utilizes a ballet barre and small isometric movements designed to burn fat and tone muscles.
Dominique Ponko sits at the head of the class, leading yogis through muscle-lengthening postures with the steady flow of her deep, rhythmic inhales and exhales. It’s been a long journey for Dominique. She first sought out yoga at the age of 26 to help her cope with life-threatening seizures and a slow-growing brain tumor. Yoga comforted her through three difficult years, welcoming her into a space for healing spiritually before she was able to find the proper medicine to help her heal physically. Though still a little shaky, Dominique has triumphed and opened four yoga studios—voted Best of the ‘Burgh in 2010—to inspire her students to ease their ailments, build strength, and find inner peace.
During her studio's heated Vinyasa-flow classes, an enthusiastic and supportive instructor guides students through a series of strengthening postures that work to increase flexibility and build muscles. Warm, balmy air courses through the studio, pricking beads of sweat on brows to help detox bodies and loosen stiff muscles into deep, soothing stretches.
Personal trainer Ariana Chernin and choreographer and fitness instructor Jillian Lorenz, designed their signature Barre Bee Fit workouts for women's bodies. At their chain of boutique studios, instructors teach the fitness system's unique cocktail of ballet barre work and calorie-torching choreography, which can incorporate free weights and kettlebells. To keep routines engaging, the team introduces new props and moves weekly, and sets each workout to a motivational soundtrack.