Melanie Dale’s passion for dance is infectious. After graduating college with a degree in ballet performance, she extended her repertoire by exploring partnership dancing. She has since seasoned her artistry with over 29 years of experience in ballroom and Latin styles, participating in international competitions and becoming a certified championship judge. Today, the former ballerina shares her love of dance with her pupils at her studio A Step to Gold International Ballroom. She welcomes tentative and experienced dancers alike, teaching them fancy footwork to debut at an upcoming party or wedding. Along with a full staff of professional dance instructors, she whisks students to their feet to execute dozens of styles including the beat-driven cha-cha, passionate tango, and elegant Viennese waltz. In addition to technique-centered classes, she offers dance-inspired workouts such as Zumba, which fuses Latin music with body-sculpting dance moves.
Laced with elements of yoga, Pilates, and gymnastics, the women-only classes at Aradia Fitness sculpt lean, toned physiques. And though physical fitness is a cornerstone of the studio, it's not the only one. Classes such as Striptease and Lap Dance foster a certain amount of unrestrained confidence that, as Aradia puts it, “teach[es] women to unapologetically love their body and themselves.” At 17 locations across the country, Aradia's staff of certified instructors, including world-record holder Amanda, lead women of all shapes, sizes, and experiences through sessions ranging from pole-dancing classes that teach aerial lifts and holds to Sexy Fit classes that forgo the pole for yoga fusion, boot camp, and lap dancing. No matter the class, the environment at Aradia is always light hearted, nurturing, and more supportive than a stainless-steel hammock.
Each of the professionally trained instructors at Carolina Ballroom of Cary has more than 10 years of experience, which they use to teach two categories of dance—smooth jazz, and rhythm. Smooth jazz encompasses the waltz, foxtrot, tango, Viennese waltz, and quickstep, while rhythm includes dance styles such as the salsa, cha-cha, rumba, various versions of swing, shag, and jive. They coach students through a variety of fashions, including private lessons, group classes, and practice parties. Every month, the staff also hosts a night out on the town that allows students and faculty to visit a local dance club and showcase their moves.
Endorsed by Tony Dovolani of Dancing with the Stars fame, the consortium of professional instructors at Fred Astaire Dance Studio shepherds students of all ages and skill levels through lessons that span the style spectrum. Cofounded by the legendary toe tapper Fred Astaire, the school specializes in low-pressure private sessions that allow enthusiastic teachers to fine-tune individual students' techniques and form, using their expert eyes and mechanical dancing shoes preprogrammed to do the cha-cha. Patrons can learn how to cavort through classic waltz and foxtrot 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 fire-walking.
Within the colorful walls of the Academy for the Performing Arts' 10,000-square-foot facility, enthusiastic instructors instill confidence in the leaders and creative thinkers of tomorrow. Kids benefit from small class sizes and a high teacher-to-student ratio during dance classes such as tap, ballet, hip-hop, and cheerleading, or half-day preschool programs that incorporate dance, music, and visual art. Kids aged 2–4 fine-tune their gross motor and social skills while older children can prepare for recitals or become members of the center's dance company.
The academy also keeps parents in shape with adult fitness classes such as boot-camp sessions led by a personal trainer or high-energy Zumba workouts. The crew hosts children during a bimonthly parents' night out that allows adults to take some well-deserved time for themselves and finally engage in a critical debate of Kung Fu Panda.
Amber Turner-Weeks has been dancing since the tender age of 3. A passion for movement led her to explore many facets of dance such as its history, improvisation skills, and child development. After graduating with a dance degree and a concentration in private studio teaching, Turner-Weeks traveled with the Meredith Dance Theatre and toured with the North Carolina Dance Festival. As the owner and artistic director of DanceArt, she now has the opportunity to transform her positive childhood memories into memorable dance experiences for students of all levels, ranging from toddlers to adults.As the mother of a young daughter, Turner-Weeks aims to create a noncompetitive environment where children feel safe and have room to explore their talents. She tells students, "Whatever experience and path you take in life, dream big and always make the most of what life has to offer you.” A team of caring instructors encourages parent interaction, teaching kids self-discipline and confidence in a variety of classes and at annual recitals and other events. The family-oriented facility boasts four spacious studio rooms with disco balls and shock-absorbing sprung floors, cheerful turquoise and purple couches, and a two-way-mirrored area where parents can observe youngsters in action without distracting them with proud victory dances.
Gotta Dance is a performing-arts school dedicated to teaching children dance, drama, and voice technique. The school's 5,000 square feet of danceable space contains four spacious studios, a theater room, and one janitor's closet exclusively reserved for dancing with mops. Taught by a diverse staff of experienced dancers and performing artists, classes instill students with the ability express themselves visually, vocally, and dancefully, whether perfecting pointe in beginners' ballet, honing street-smart feet in hip-hop, or learning to tear down the fourth wall for the preschool theater rendition of The Seven Year Itch. Check out the full class lineup, which includes styles as varied as jazz, boys' Tap 'n' Tumble, and even a sprinkling of acrobatics.