Leila Parello has been teaching ballet for more than 40 years. At The School of Ballet Arts, which Leila founded in 1974, she and her team of professional instructors cultivate a noncompetitive environment in which students can learn the joy of dance through the lens of classical ballet. They teach proper ballet technique, pointe, classical variations, stretch, and jazz, culminating in a well-rounded curriculum for dancers of all ages and skill levels.
Arthur Murray has been a leading name in franchise dance since 1912, when the entrepreneur began selling mail-order dance lessons. Expanding his reach, he enlisted teachers to spread his signature dance lessons on first-class steamships and skyrocketed to fame in the '30s after introducing the public to such dances as the Lambeth Walk and The Big Apple. By the 1950s, Arthur and his wife, Kathryn, were hosting their own highly popular TV show on ABC, The Arthur Murray Dance Party, which ran for 12 years. Today, Arthur Murray's team prepares students for rug cutting at special events and weekend nightclub jaunts. Throughout lessons, instructors teach the foundations of two to four dances from a long list of styles that range from Latin to country-western, helping students to learn basic step patterns, timing, and the ability to lead or follow.
Welk Resorts is proof that opportunity can strike at any moment. In 1964, Lawrence Welk was in San Diego with the intention of investing in a grove of orange trees, when he decided to take a drive. Inspired by his exploration, he changed his course; instead of procuring a grove, he bought a motel and a nine-hole golf course. As he began hosting shows and building additions at his recreation haven, Welk Resorts grew, and eventually became an international resort company with locations in California, Missouri, and Mexico.
Today, guests can swim in one of the resort pools, take in water sports, catch a show in one of the on-site theaters, or collect all the round, white jewels on the golf course. They can also explore each resort's hosted events, which range from Fathers' Day barbecues to farmers' markets.
Cherry-picked from preeminent schools, programs, and circles, the instructors at Academy of Performing Arts share not only their extensive experience as dancers, but also their knowledge from their time spent in the world of professional dance. As leaders of a number of classes, they get participants moving during sessions suited for a range of experience levels and grouped as such. The studio offers both traditional dance classes such as Irish dancing, modern, hip hop, jazz, tap, and ballet, as well as fitness-oriented Zumba, pilates, and yoga.
Veteran ballet dancers Lauri-Michelle and Benjamin Houk run a duo of prominent dance academies designed to aid children in the pursuit of toe-tapping excellence. Five four-hour days of dance camp break up the drudgery of summertime like an ice-cream truck breaks up a cul-de-sac water-balloon fight. Jazz Contemporary Hip-Hop workshop and the Ballet Summer Intensive offer various age-specific seminars for young hoofers all the way up to older teens, and the Mary Poppins Musical Theater Camp trains the starry eyes and limbs of Broadway-bound 6- to 12-year-olds. The academies' Dancing Princesses camp teaches 4- to 6-year-olds how to gracefully sway with any glass footwear or beast dance partner.
A childhood peppered with basketball, football, and volleyball couldn't keep Mary Murphy out of the ballroom after she was struck by the athleticism of the sport while watching a championship performance in her early twenties. She began to compete around the world, eventually slowing down enough to found Champion Ballroom Academy in 1990 and finally teaching there full-time in between stints on Fox's So You Think You Can Dance.
Mary has plucked like-minded instructors for her studio, some of whom created Core Rhythms, a Latin dance-based aerobics program. Many of the other teachers are competitive-dance champions or black belts in hula hoop. Aside from running a flourishing dance studio, Mary's palpable passion for the art form has also driven her to play a leading role in San Diego's Chance to Dance program, a curriculum that introduces school kids to the artistry and strength-building foundations of dance.