Within Abba! Bellydance's downtown Water Street studio, experienced belly dancer Blyth—a.k.a. Valkyrie Myst—schools hip-movers in the methods and techniques of traditional Middle Eastern dance. Under Myst's watchful eye, barefooted body-shakers begin to master their musculature, gradually gaining the ability to isolate their hips from their legs, their head from their shoulders, and their green M&Ms from the rest of the worthless bunch. The undulating, snake-like movements of this ancient art form can cultivate a sense of sensuality and femininity in the dancer, and can provide an intense and enjoyable cardio workout. Abba! Bellydance's courses aim to capture that consciousness, while at the same time introducing dancers to the foundations in isolations, veil movements, and zill patterns.
The consortium of professional instructors at Fred Astaire Dance Studios, which was cofounded by the legendary toe tapper himself, shepherds students of all ages and skill levels through lessons that span the style spectrum. Low-pressure private sessions allow enthusiastic teachers to fine-tune individual students' techniques and form, using their expert eyes and mechanical dancing shoes preprogrammed to do the Charleston. Patrons can learn how to cavort through classic waltz and fox-trot romps or swivel through the modern steps of salsa, swing, or samba. For dancers hoping to hoof it up in a social setting, the group practice parties provide a one-night extravaganza of instruction, demonstrations, and amateur firewalking.
Laeral Dance Academy works with dancers of all ages and abilities to hone the energy of restless feet into graceful and artistic movements. Inside a naturally lit studio adorned with wall-size mirrors, a coalition of professional instructors—many of whom have been dancing since the age of 3—train students in the fine art of stylishly stamping out floor fires during classes ranging from classical ballet to hip-hop. Ballet classes for students between 2 and 7 will focus on the Melody Bear method, which helps develop concentration and motor skills by integrating fun dance movements with shapes, counting, stories, and music. Tykes can also develop their jazz and tap abilities, finally enabling Morse code communication with downstairs neighbors. In addition to children's ankle workouts, Laeral Dance Academy hosts adult dance and fitness classes, including a calorie-scorching salsa aerobics class.
Cinderella Dance’s energetic instructors call on years of experience in the fields of dance, acrobatics, and pageantry as they guide mother-child duos through basic somersaults and shimmies during one-hour Mommy and Me Tumbling classes. Children aged 16–35 months can join their progenitors in fun, physical activities spanning four weekly sessions, in which an array of exercises and graceful tumbles introduces youth to the foundations of fitness and discourages them from future careers as patio-furniture cushion-testers. Small class sizes ensure individual attention, and positive interaction with peers improves social and sharing skills. While flipping and flailing around the studio, children should wear leotards, stretchy shorts, and footless tights, and mothers may dig out their old spandex wedding dresses.
Under the guidance of experienced groove guru Richard Roberts, Strictly Ballroom teaches fledgling foxtroters and seasoned sambaers fundamentals of dance, foot position, rhythm, timing, and leading or following in the dance center's customized, private dance lessons. Wielding a decade's worth of competitive dancing instruction, Richard specializes in several styles—including lively shimmies such as the swing and cha-cha, as well as elegant waltzes, tangos, rumbas, and more. Classes are tailored to each student's individual skill level and stance on spandex, and Richard breaks steps down via four basic elements of ballroom and directional movements.
Bailamos Dance Fitness fuses fun and fitness with a wealth of high-energy cardio classes that motivate students to tone their bodies and burn fat with dance and full-body movement. Patrons groove to Latin music in Zumba classes, and punch and kick their way to good health during cardio kickboxing.