No one has ever trained for the lead in Swan Lake just to tighten their abs, but dancers, choreographers, and Atlanta Zumba Dance instructors Faaridah and Nahari both agree that it comes with the territory. That’s why they’ve channeled their experiences in the performing arts into a platform for dance-based fitness instruction. Faaridah was particularly drawn to Zumba because of her Caribbean and Hispanic heritage, and Nahari has been a student of Middle Eastern dances for nearly a decade, so their curriculum of Zumba and belly dancing was a natural fit.
Students can shed pounds and throw on their shiniest layer of sweat during Zumba classes, a 60-minute dance-based aerobic workout with easy-to-follow choreography performed to a soundtrack of Latin rhythms. The dance moves are an amalgam of styles that includes elements of salsa, cha-cha, merengue, flamenco, and tango. Classes at Atlanta Zumba Dance always begin with a warm-up, followed by intervals of faster and slower tempos. Visits conclude with a cool-down and stretch session. In addition to group classes, patrons may rent the studio for a private-lesson Zumba party or to spin around in an office chair without anyone telling them that they’ll get sick.
Asiya Khasnutdinova knows the dance world. As a five-time Latin dance champion in her native Russia and top-20 contestant on So You Think You Can Dance, she'd mastered the combination of artistry and strength needed to wow her crowds. However, she also knew it would take more than just dedication to own a dance and health club. So in order to realize this dream, she decided to partner with her mother, enlisting Svetlana Khasnutdinova's experience running her own medical practice.
The result? Valeo Dance Fitness Studio, where Asiya helps clients lose weight and have fun during dance-based cardio classes that incorporate elements of strength training, interval work, and resistance exercises. These ValeoFit 1000 workouts help clients burn up to 1,000 calories and tone their entire bodies through dance routines that may include weighted hula hoops, weights, and resistance bands. When muscles get weary after workouts, clients can also pick up a Valeo Beauty Bar, an all-natural skin care product designed by Svetlana to ease away pent-up toxins and bust stubborn cellulite.
Known for guiding the women of The Real Housewives of Atlanta through ab-strengthening moves, the instructors at the Nazeem Allayl Belly Dance Studio started as a professional dance troupe before opening a studio in 1999. Now with 32 classes offered under one roof, the Nazeem Allayl Belly Dance Studio aims to boost the self-confidence of its all-female students during drop-in Shimmy Fit classes and five-week technique courses. Instructors disguise calorie-blasting exercises with engaging choreography so that students can tone muscles without spending the day trying to slip an oiled-up pig into a wetsuit.
At Tango Evolution, passionate, experienced dance-floor denizens whisk students of all ages and shoe sizes through six hip-swiveling sessions of Argentina's sultriest export. Luxuriate in risqué rhythms and fiery footwork via one of three class series: walking and turning, musicality and rhythm, or leading the cross and ochos. Class sizes range from 20 to 40 students, and dance partners switch throughout the lesson, which means tango newbies need not cajole their spouses, roommate, or rhythmically inclined patent lawyer into partaking. Students will also receive 50% off one of Tango Evolution’s milongas, monthly tango dance parties in which footwork fledglings can flutter across the floor, displaying their blossoming tango talents and impressive wingspan in a lively, sociable atmosphere.
Ten career women step into their hot shorts, high heels, and alter egos when teaching at Vertical Joe's. They go by monikers such as The Headliner and Sexy Locs, teaching pole dancing, twerking, Pilates, and cardio kick classes all while encouraging students to jettison their inhibitions. To create a comfortable atmosphere, the studio hosts groups of bachelorette partiers or girls-night-outers for private sessions that teach the techniques behind pole dancing, lap dancing, and sexy tax prep. Vertical Joe's brand of flirty fun has even made guest appearances on The Real Housewives of Atlanta and Braxton Family Values.