Mestre Mariano Silva, a dancer and student of the Brazilian martial art capoeira, has always believed that "if you can walk, then you can dance." This positivity permeates everything he does, from his work with underprivileged youth to his time professionally dancing. It was this contagious optimism that caught the attention of master Amen Santo in Brazil, who invited him to tour globally with the renowned Ballet Folclorico do Brasil. As it turned out, Mariano was a huge hit, playing to sold-out crowds all over the world. His skill and popularity on the stage led Amen to convince him to relocate to Southern California and bring his passion for Afro-Brazilian dance to the States. Today, Mariano owns Capoeira Batuque Santa Barbara along with the Brazilian Cultural Arts Center of Santa Barbara, sharing his talents and affirmative worldview with adults and children through a slew of classes and community-outreach programs.
Each of mestre Mariano's fast-paced classes introduces pupils to the rhythmic techniques and cultural significance of traditional Afro-Brazilian dance forms. Capoeira—considered Brazil's second national sport—fuses martial-arts techniques with the rhythmic and collaborative elements of dance. He teaches stylistic combat maneuvers, which weave in aerial acrobatics and various instruments. During his Afro-Brazilian dance class, he'll calibrate students' hips to swivel to movements that fuse traditional African dance with Brazilian moves, and in his Samba classes, he introduces students to the history, culture, and traditions inextricably linked to each movement. He also lets dancers try their hand or fourth toe at banging timbaus, repiniques, and other Brazilian drums in the Brazilian batucada drumming course.
Arthur Murray Dance Studio 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. Clients who arrive to lessons partnerless will be paired up with an instructor as the teachers assess their current skill level and make recommendations on the most appropriate program. 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.
The instructors at Santa Barbara Festival Ballet have honed their teaching skills just as much as their dancing ones. All of them have been extensively trained in tutoring dance, and they coach their students using the renowned Cecchetti Method?a syllabus that progresses from fundamentals to professional-level techniques. The school welcomes dancers of all ages to learn from their practiced staff.
When he’s not collaborating with Debbie Allan or with director Marty Thomas on music videos, Tamarr Paul stars as one-sixth of Rhythm Dance & Fitness Studios’ decorated staff. Mirrored walls reflect the studio’s honey-colored floors and the funky moves that emerge in dance classes. Beginning Hip-Hop pairs prancers with a new song and full choreography in each session, and Cardio Hip-Hop promises to elicit sweat droplets from the most advanced dancers. Urban Burlesque sends students sauntering through jazz moves. If the full schedule of drop-in dance classes isn't enough, experienced hot-footers can enlist in the Rhythm Dance Company, whose performers use their energetic shimmies to power the county's schools.
Sino West Performing Arts serves as the meeting place of two disciplines: dance and kung fu. Under the tutelage of four experienced instructors, kids and adults learn, hone, and perfect skills in a variety of art forms. Atop sprung floors of recycled rubber and beneath ceilings of repurposed clouds, they practice in one of two airy, well-lit studios. Curricula under the dance umbrella include Chinese dance, tai chi, ballet, Zumba, and yoga, while martial-arts practitioners take classes in Shaolin kung fu, MMA, and weaponry, among others. The class selection is diverse, but no matter the chosen course, enrollees report increased levels of confidence, self-discipline, and bragging rights.
The instructors at Balera Fitness Studio assure future pole-dancing students that, although they will be engaging in a style of dance that?s known for its come-hither maneuvers, "Nothing comes off but your shoes!" That's because they hone in on the unique fitness aspects of pole dancing, guiding students through exhilarating spins and limbering stretches that improve strength, balance, and flexibility. They welcome students of all ages and body types to their fun, sweat-manufacturing workouts. At private parties, they teach core-firming moves to celebrate special occasions such as birthdays, future marriages, and Stop Sign Impersonation Day.