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 '30s 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 Dance 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.
A functional-training studio staffed by experienced CrossFit coaches and former college athletes, Integrated Fitness Training transforms exercisers of all levels into fit, focused athletes. Barbells, gymnastics rings, and rowing machines welcome students to a 3,000-square-foot training floor, where they cultivate the type of strength and coordination they need to meet their fitness goals or slow-dance with a manatee. A variety of group fitness classes matches exercisers with boot camps, scalable CrossFit classes, and cardio-heavy kettlebell workouts. Like a pair of sharpied-on eyebrows, CrossFit workouts increase intensity, incorporating gymnastics-inspired moves such as burpees, muscle-ups, and handstand pushups.
Moonglow Yoga's team of certified yoga instructors guides students through a collection of heated and nonheated classes to hone strong bodies and minds. The studio's schedule boasts classes for students of all experience levels, including beginners Vinyasa classes, in which newbies learn foundational poses, breathing techniques, and how to weave baskets from sticky mats. Teachers dial the studio temperature up to a balmy 95 degrees during Hot Vinyasa sweat sessions, challenging savvy stretches with advanced poses such as half moon, wheel, crow, and robot.
Though he has studied, practiced, and taught yoga in such far-flung locales as Mexico and Southeast Asia, Zeb Homison counts his childhood living room in western Pennsylvania as the site of his fondest yoga memory. That's where, as a tottering pre-kindergartener, he worked through poses alongside his mother. After studying dance and theater, Homison—now the owner of Bikram Yoga Pittsburgh— moved to San Francisco, where he rekindled his relationship with yoga while working at a Bikram yoga studio.
The heat, combined with the repetitions of the postures, focused his mind while conditioning his body, and he was hooked. Studying under Bikram Choudhury, the father of Bikram yoga, was another clarifying experience and one that taught Homison to open up and accept the inevitable. That could mean working through intensely fatigued muscles to push toward greater flexibility, or performing all 26 poses at a black-tie dinner party whenever guests clink their glasses and shout "Pose!"
"When studying yoga, you have to be patient with yourself," says Homison, echoing the philosophy that his staff repeats to encourage students to take their time learning the practice. Together, the team works with patrons, inspiring them through bouts of frustration. "Yoga can be a lifelong process," Homison says, "and you just have to be open to it."
Adrenaline Barre Fitness's new, upscale fitness boutique hosts dynamic classes designed to shape both mind and body. Using a ballet barre for support, students perform small, isometric, dance-inspired movements to tone the body from head to webbed swan toes. Open gym time is available seven days a week for students who would rather bench-press to the beat of their own drum. Separate showers and changing areas are available.
Dedicated to helping ladies get in shape, the staff of certified instructors at Fitness With a Twist lead body-sculpting sessions designed to boost women's self-esteem and sultry quotients. During pole fitness classes, the instructors divulge pole-dancing techniques, including tantalizing spins and core-strengthening transitions from pole to floor. For an emphasis on sensual choreography, students don a pair of heels and ankle-length burlap sacks while dancing through burlesque-style routines with the help of a chair. In addition to flirt-enhancing fitness sessions, the studio also offers boot camps, Zumba, and full-body toning classes, as well as social gatherings for gals—including birthday bashes and bachelorette parties.
Highly educated trainers—each of whom has a bachelor's or master's degree in exercise science—help clients at bodyXchange fitness tone their bodies and transform their lifestyles with nutrition and exercise programs. Rows of dumbbells weighing 5–135 pounds ring the walls of the 5,000-square-foot gym, where members can swing kettlebells, push sleds, or struggle with a 550-pound tractor tire as well as pumping iron on more conventional Hammer Strength and Icarian strength-training machines. Life Fitness treadmills, stationary bikes, and other cardio equipment populate a separate theater, where wall-hung plasma TVs keep minds busy as bodies sweat and mouths hum the theme to Chariots of Fire.