Lynn Li and Abi Liu know a thing or two about swimming; between the two of them, they have earned four Olympic medals, set several world and Chinese national records, and won awards for their coaching skills. Together, they oversee and train each of the coaches that become part of Saratoga Star Aquatics’ staff at the 12,500-square-foot indoor facility. Two swimming pools and a comprehensive training studio are climate controlled, so their students can take lessons and practice with the elite swim team year-round.
Like a belief in the Tooth Fairy, Scott Rempfer's belief in the power of martial arts and fitness started when he was a kid. However, instead of fading, his belief strengthened with each youth and adult class he completed. Today, 20 years and one 4th degree Black Belt later, he continues teaching fitness classes, personal training, therapeutic corrective exercise, Karate, Tai Chi and Kickboxing at Med-X Health & Fitness Center. But it's not all kicks, punches, and hair-biting. He and his staff also offer sports and fitness training classes along with summer sports camps for kids. MED-X Health & Fitness also offers Yoga, Pilates, Cross-Training and Massage Therapy for adults.
Dr. Aruna Chinnakotla has her feet in two seemingly opposite worlds. During the day, she's a primary care physician, studying and utilizing medical science to help others feel their best. But when she leaves her office, she trades her stethoscope for sequins, helping to energize others through Bollywood fitness dance. Fusion Beatz combines the doctor's passion for dance and medicine in a fitness program that exercises every muscle in the body. These high-impact dance moves also help students avoid injury unlike typical exercise regimes, which include cartwheeling through rings of fire.
The talented instructors of Nach K Dekh call on years of dance-floor experience to impart the rhythmic gestures, fast footwork, and pulsating energy of Bollywood dance in classes for children, teens, and adults. Weekly classes begin with basic steps, then build on the skills learned in past sessions to help students eventually perform an entire Bollywood number, incorporating lively music and props to entertain the public at a theater or nearby Taj Mahal. Intimate sessions of no more than 12 students allow one-on-one coaching from instructors, helping dancers develop their skills quickly and correctly. For a more sweat-focused session, Nach K Dekh's BollyBurn class challenges participants to high-impact cardio workouts and muscle conditioning set to Bollywood music.
At Stepz, professional Bollywood dance instructors imbue students of all ages with dance moves inspired by Eastern India. They foster an environment of support and encouragement as dancers soak up fundamental foot positions and learn to express themselves through fluid movements and flowing hand gestures. Students looking to shed excess pounds can speed up routines in one-hour aerobics classes, which lead groups though rigorous dance routines specifically designed to tone muscle.
As strobe lights slice across the stage, masked dancers descend from scaffolding and undulate to Lady Gaga’s “Just Dance.” Minutes later, a troupe of 6-year-olds takes to the same stage in traditional Indian shalwar, or loose trousers, and launch into a frenetic dance set to fast-paced bhangra music. These divergent routines—performed at Mona Khan Company’s student showcase—hint at the scope of dance styles that instructors bring to their classes. Though traditional folk and classical South Asian dance make an appearance, instructors also incorporate styles such as salsa, modern, and hip-hop.
This Bollywood dance philosophy has propelled Mona Khan Company into the national spotlight. The company’s professional dance troupe has performed with Bollywood demigod Shah Rukh Khan and dancer Shaan, and dazzled a live audience on America’s Got Talent.
Though classes at Mona Khan Company occasionally lead to professional dance careers, the studio strives to make Bollywood dance accessible to every aspiring dancer. For example, Jollywood dance classes train performers age 65 and older, and the Jeena program trains special-needs students. “It’s more than just dance,” says Ms. Shankar, the company’s dance captain. “We try to build a whole community around it."
Larry Lam devoted his life to martial arts, a pursuit that yielded multiple black belts, 20 gold medals from the North America Sport Karate Association, and roles in movies such as The Last Samurai and 300. He founded Studio Kicks to share his high-energy interpretation of martial arts. He and his staff pass on the 5,000-year-old sport to students ages 5 and older, instilling them with weapon techniques from around the world, along with self-defense and safety awareness skills, flexibility, and fitness benefits.