Growing up in the home of a professional wrestler, siblings Gina Abramson and Joseph Robledo were surrounded by varying pathways to fitness. However, though they understood the importance of a steady workout regimen, they couldn't seem to muster a long-term commitment to any of them. That was before they found Zumba's energizing dance routines.
Today, they run Move! as a nonjudgmental space for others in search of the exercise equivalent of their soulmate, whether it's Zumba, hip-hop, or the studio’s blend of yoga and Pilates. Their instructors—including a former cheerleader and a certified personal trainer—choreograph classes that accommodate all experience levels. They also schedule eight-week salsa programs, which lead beginners in dance-step fundamentals such as executing well-timed turns or constructing a Robocop suit, only for dancing instead of crime fighting.
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.
The experienced instructors at Amy’s All Star Dance Studio do more than just share the secrets of their rug-cutting skills; they also deliver a healthy jolt of confidence to the dancers with whom they work. The change in attitude—along with newfound fitness—comes about naturally when students of all ages and levels master the graceful flourishes of ballet and acrobatics or quick clacks of tap at weekly dance classes. The studio also houses guitar, piano, violin, and voice lessons, training the next generation of accompanists for dance recitals or Bollywood-themed bank robberies.
Belly Dance Little Egypt's seasoned hip shakers help students burn calories and boost their confidence through the undulating motions of the ancient Middle Eastern dance form. Inside, vibrant and colorful scarves wrap tightly around hips as a fringe of metal discs jangles with each sashay. Anyone with hips can drop in for a one-hour class or purchase a kit, which may feature up to 12 lessons and accessories such as coin belts, silk veils, and a CD of music for practicing at home or in the grocery line. An alternative to classic workouts or dance classes, belly dancing helps women enjoy "me time" while toning up musculature, getting hearts pumping, and freeing bellybuttons to sing karaoke.
As the Spanish translation of Raices de Arte Espanol attests, owners Carmen and Jose Linares each have strong roots in the arts. Born in Spain, Jose began playing guitar professionally at 12 years old, traveling the world to perform for icons such as President John F. Kennedy and Princess Grace of Monaco. Dancing by age 3, Puerto Rican–born Carmen trained in New York with the American Ballet Theatre, toured with the ballet companies of Philadelphia and San Juan, and began teaching flamenco in San Antonio in the 1970s. Today, the couple shares the art of flamenco with others at their studio, where students apply their own expressive twists to footwork and even wield castanets to clack out rhythms or Morse-code messages to one another as they dance.
Trilogy Dance Center's experienced instructors guide pupils of all skill-sets through calorie-burning workouts and fun dance routines. During Zumba workouts for teens and adults, dancers perform fast-paced body movements to heart-pumping bass-lines like attendees of an unsupervised 1950s sock hop. Each fitness-inspired session casts aside boring stair-stepper routines in favor of upbeat aerobic fusions of salsa, meringue, hip-hop, and flamenco. To keep young twinkle-toes dexterous, the Dance Basics class teaches 2.5- to 5-year-olds essential jazz and ballet techniques, preparing them for upcoming baby breakdancing contests. The Intro to Dance class helps students 5–7 years old delve deeper into the motor skills and classical movements required to master styles such as ballet, jazz, tap, and hip-hop.
With more than 20 years of combined dance experience, Studio One's seasoned instructors instill the techniques of a variety of dance forms in the minds and limbs of their pupils. During four group dance classes ($15 per class), first-time students can choose to learn the proper steps to styles such as salsa, ballroom, and country western. The group classes—available in difficulty levels for both fledgling fox trotters and seasoned salsaers—give dance disciples an opportunity to hone their foot finesse. Or, opt instead for the private dance lessons ($67 per lesson), which pair each budding dancer with an experienced professional skilled in the art of coaxing dance-floor deftness out of rhythm-challenged feet. Check the calendar for specific group class schedules, slip on your finest pair of non-stick shoes, and transform ungainly footwork into a work of choreographed floor-stomping.