Though Elite International Dance Academy began with only a few classes and a handful of students, the studio earned a growing following with its combination of accessible instruction and enthusiastic teachers. Since its opening, the studio has tripled its curriculum to include 15 dance styles, including the hustle, fox trot, belly dancing, bachata, and salsa. Both kids and adults gather in the academy’s noncompetitive environment, where instructors teach dance steps with easy-to-follow directions. The schedule also includes summer camps and workshops, as well as Zumba classes—cardio workouts using Latin-inspired dance routines to sizzle more calories than toasting marshmallows dipped in lighter fluid.
Coach Isabelle Bienvenu knows ballet is more than an art form—it’s also a way to keep the body healthy and strengthen it for other sports and activities. A choreographer, dancer, and competition judge as well, she brings her wealth of knowledge to each one-on-one session, wherein she helps her students develop their skills and improve their abilities.
Step N Dance founder Tony Duarte began dancing as a child in Nicaragua. Soon after moving to Miami at age 16, he developed an interest in styles ranging from the waltz to the hustle. With the new discovery of so many new steps came a passionate love of one particular style, however, and Duarte soon mastered the art of salsa. Over his career, Duarte’s skills have been seen on PBS, Univision, and every time he crosses the street. Classes at his own studio lean strongly towards salsa and other Latin styles, each enlivened with a smattering of jazz, hip-hop, and Afro-Cuban influences.
From performing on Broadway to trodding the boards of cruise ships, the instructors at Encore Dance Theatre have graced some of the discipline's most popular venues. Under the tutelage of artistic director Anne Brodsky and her colleagues, Encore's students have pranced into similar careers on Broadway and aboard ships, not to mention in films and during Disney's Christmas Day Parade. To prime their students for such diverse opportunities, Encore's teachers strive to shape pupils into well-rounded dancers versed in every genre. Inside the three dance rooms at the school's 3,000-square-foot facility, students work on everything from the percussive steps of tap to the tiptoed trots of balletic pointe.
The certified dance instructors at Arthur Murray Dance Studio teach beginner-level ballroom, Latin, swing, and social-partnership dance classes in group settings, and also offer private lessons to singles, couples, and singles perched on the shoulders of couples. Instructors emphasize technique, style, and variation of dance patterns during 45-minute group lessons. Group classes also give the opportunity to dance with a variety of partners, develop good dancing habits, and meet other students in the studio. The size of group lessons varies from as few as four students to as many as 20, enabling rhythmic upgrades for both small families and aspiring battalions. Classes take place Tuesday and Thursday evenings at 7 p.m. and 7:45 p.m.
Excellence breeds excellence. The dance instructors at Feathers Ballroom Dance Studio believe in this philosophy, which is why they expect the best from all their students, from children with dreams of dancing professionally to adults just trying to learn a new skill. Whether in group classes or private lessons, students can practice Latin steps, such as salsa and cha-cha, as well as classic styles, such as jive and waltz. Children ages eight and older can try Latin, ballroom, and hip-hop dancing in youth classes, and recently engaged couples can arrange for special lessons that choreograph elegant father-daughter, mother-son, or mad scientist-Frankenstein dances for their wedding receptions.