Director Ginny East's illustrious dance career has taken her around the country, from the Manhattan studios where she trained to schools and companies in Boston, St. Louis, and New York where she's taught and worked as a choreographer. Now she leads a team of lifelong dance lovers at ReFlex Arts in Sarasota, where she also co-directed the successful Flex Dance Studios for nearly two decades. It was while working at this latter location that, out of a belief that a studio should put just as much thought into its children's classes as its adult classes, she began developing her own youth-dance curriculum, known today as Kiddance. Like someone who was sent a link to a video of pandas rollerblading, the idea clicked: East soon began selling her syllabus to teachers from across the country, along with accompanying training videos and CDs. But even as kids' classes remain a focus for East—the Children's Dance Center teaches students ages two to eight basic dance skills and proper studio etiquette—she's found a way to incorporate into the center her additional expertise as a certified yoga instructor. Packed with exercises performed on suspended strips of cloth, the center's aerial yoga classes help students develop the gracefulness they need to execute a pirouette or climb a ladder on a unicycle. Since all the activities at ReFlex Arts involve developing the capabilities of the body, it makes sense that the center would also help visitors unwind with massage and body treatments. Services draw on techniques from around the world, from the popular gliding strokes of Swedish massage to the ancient Japanese healing motions of reiki.
Inside BeWell Salon, guests find a massive menu of aesthetic services backed by the expertise of a multitalented staff specializing in everything from chip-free manicures to permanent makeup. Stylists revamp locks with precision haircuts, Schwarzkopf color, and non-resin-bonded I-Tip hair extensions, and trained aestheticians utilize the BioGenesis system to revitalize dull complexions with gentle, crystal-free microdermabrasion treatments. They also wield azulene cream wax to quickly strip away unwanted fuzz without agitating sensitive skin and perform seven different Yon-Ka facials, each designed to target specific skin concerns ranging from acne to clown makeup that won't wash off.
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"I am fascinated with the way muscles work and move," says Renew U Massage & Skincare owner Katanya Taite, citing one of the reasons she became a licensed massage therapist. A sincere interest in helping people feel and live better is another reason: "Life is filled with so much responsibility, people don't take enough time to focus on themselves."
The escapist element is apparent from the moment clients enter into her elegant gold and earth-toned bodywork enclave, where the sounds of flowing water and ocean waves engulf senses in serenity. Organic and vegan oils and serums add an eco-conscious element to all services including massages—which Katanya customizes to each client's particular aches and pains—and slimming body wraps designed to tighten and tone hard-to-trim areas. Also a licensed aesthetician, she customizes facials as well, beginning with an in-depth skin analysis before moving on to tailored treatments that include special formulations for men's skin, teen skin, and sensitive bearskin rugs.
A retinue of medical professionals oversees Vytale Med Spa’s European-trained staff members as they unveil smooth, radiant demeanors with the gentle ministrations of organic facial treatments. Both facials commence with a skin cleansing, an exfoliation, and a massage, pampering the expression epicenter until it’s as fresh and relaxed as a vacationing baby carrot. Staffers then coat skin with the organic facial peel, imbuing the face with gentle enzymes that oust dead surface layers to allow nutrient-rich products to penetrate deeper into the pores and to smooth the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Newly radiant skin can be immediately worn in public, though mild reddening may occur up to 24 hours after the treatment or taking a cherry pie to the face.
A wildly successful alternative to traditional day spas—its more than 300 locations blanket 36 states and half a dozen countries—Planet Beach Contempo Spa is a futuristic relaxation station where state-of-the-art machines administer all the spa and tanning services. These friendly automatons sometimes replace familiar treatments, as in the Luminous facial, a light-based service that delivers blemish-busting results similar to those of a conventional facial. But other equipment maps out new spa territory entirely: the Hydro-Derma Fusion chamber moisturizes the whole body with nutrient-rich steam in order to offset the effects of a dry climate or a rear-end collision with a salt truck. Other machines whiten teeth, spray tan skin, and massage muscles.
Planet Beach operates on a gym-style membership system, meaning that members purchase packages or pay flat monthly rates. As members spend more time at the spa, they get to know the helpful assistants who are always on hand to demonstrate how to use the equipment without activating its ability to cry.
Natural Health Center's doctor of oriental medicine, Mary Kay Cetan, taps into the ideologies of traditional Chinese medicine, which dates back more than 5,000 years and conceptualizes the body as a landscape affected by emotional and physical climates. Holistic services and supplements combat both acute and chronic ailments. Hair-thin acupuncture needles safely boost blood and energy flow to assuage pain and enhance internal functions, such as the digestive process that turns blue cotton candy back into blueberries. A licensed massage therapist with more than 35 years of kneading experience aims soothing strokes at pent-up aches, tension, and knots. Honed over 2,000 years, homeopathy mediates bodily discordances with diluted doses of irritants, such as a naturally derived onion substance that wards off watery eyes or a pulverized Cupid's arrow that heals heartbroken clients.
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