Nia Underground, included in Seattle Metropolitan magazine's Best of the City 2008 feature, gets pulses pounding with a knockout combo of irresistible rhythms and graceful moves. In Nia sessions, eager exercisers execute boogie steps and martial-arts drills to infectious bursts of world beats and pop smashes. Like extreme water skiing, Nia is customarily practiced barefoot to teach toes balance and agility.
Dance for Joy! gets visitors moving in single-session workshops, ongoing group classes, and private lessons. Instructors draw on professional dance experience to teach students the ins and outs of waltz, East Coast swing, blues, foxtrot, Latin, and zydeco dancing. Classes are open to participants of all skill levels, allowing beginners to receive as sharp an education as seasoned rug-cutters. Dance for Joy! also plays host to numerous special events and activities, including a dance summer camp and an annual Viennese Ball.
Profiled in the documentary A Wink and a Smile, Miss Indigo Blue’s Academy of Burlesque keeps the sensual burlesque dance-form alive during one-day and muti-week classes. The academy’s faculty includes not only the accomplished Miss Indigo Blue, but also professional burlesquers Inga Ingenue, Elsa & Ernie von Schmaltz, Ruby Mimosa, and Waxie Moon—whose names hint at the playful nature of burlesque. The diverse class schedule offers something to bring out the sensual side in nearly anyone, female or male, earning praise from Seattle Woman magazine for its breadth of topics and from Examiner.com for its receptivity to all genders. Visiting instructors, special workshops, and performances mix up the already packed calendar of classes.
The experienced dance instructors at Century Ballroom teach novice and veteran hoofers alike on its 2,000-square-foot dance floor, schooling on the basics of a variety of toe-tapping numbers. Aspiring rug-cutters select a dance style for the five-week course ($60), with options including the East Coast swing, energetic Lindy hop, and sultry tango. In 60-minute classes, learn the basic foot patterns and seductive steps of salsa—a blend of Afro-Cuban and Latin moves set on the crunchy surface of a tortilla chip—or glide across the floor in a sophisticated waltz set to the music of Strauss. Century Ballroom shares a building with The Tin Table restaurant, allowing dancers to replenish calories expended during energetic sashays and face-melting jazz hands.
Abdoulaye Sylla started his dancing career as a child in the West African nation of Guinea, recruited by the government to represent the country in dance competitions. He won numerous awards with his evocative moves and infectious smile, later going on to perform with Les Ballets Africains and train the dancers of folkloric troupe Les Merveilles D’Afrique. In 1994, he relocated to the United States, where he began to share his gifts through performance and teaching. At One World Arts Exchange, he helps students learn high-energy dance techniques with step-by-step instruction. Classes are often accompanied by live drumming and explanations of the dances' cultural meaning.
A group routine at Culture Shakti is intended to be greater than the sum of its individual parts. To accomplish this, Artistic Director Katrina Ji introduces students to the innovative and improvisational art of American tribal-style belly dance. The method draws inspiration from the Romani migration through India, northern Africa, and Spain, combining Flamenco-style arm movements and Egyptian-style hip undulations to create a graceful, seamlessly flowing, and internationally influenced dance style. Most importantly, this type of dance emphasizes the collective and coordinated movements of the group as a whole. Classes cater to students of all ages and skill levels, introducing them to the basic steps and advanced transitions that define the art form. Additionally, the studio offers lessons in Bollywood choreography that explore the dance steps, facial expressions, and hand gestures that comprise a typical routine.