Though he grew up entranced by the Latin music of his father's flamenco group, Michael Cahn didn't discover his love for salsa dancing until he studied Spanish in Cuzco, Peru. That trip instilled in Michael a desire to learn as much as he could about the dance, which prompted him to train in Cuba, Ecuador, Mexico, and America. With several awards under his belt—he's consistently placed in the top five at such salsa competitions as the Gemini Salsa Championship and the Jack & Jill competition—he danced off the stages of several prestigious salsa congresses and into his own studio.
At Sueños de Salsa, he teaches his students to focus on their connection with the music and their partner as they develop a deep understanding of rhythm, timing, and body mechanics. His comprehensive instruction includes basic footwork, multiple spin drills, and advanced dance combinations, helping students of all skill levels feel the rhythm more effectively than if they slept under sheet music. He also teaches bachata and footwork classes to small groups of students and hosts monthly Lifts & Tricks workshops that explore aspects of acro-yoga and circus performance.
Since 2000, Camp Jitterbug has grown from an intimate soiree with only about 100 students to a leading force in the swing-dancing world. It now occupies spaces throughout Seattle, inviting swing bands to play non-stop for four days as a multitude of dancers hone their skills in workshops and evening dance sessions. These workshops cater to specific skill levels, combining expert instruction with live music for a three-day learning experience. Evening dance festivities then begin around 8:30 p.m. and go until the last horn falls silent at around 5 a.m., giving dancers eight-and-a-half hours to put their newfound skills to the test. The next day, the organizers invite dancers back to do it all again, encouraging them to allow the joy of dance to overshadow any lingering exhaustion or soreness from the day before.
Meanwhile, the dancers of Jump Session Show punctuate the weekend with performances and demonstrations. The rug-cutters wow crowds with intricate, precisely timed dance moves, just like desperate presidential candidates during their final debate.
A sign hangs over the entrance of MKG Martial Arts International: Leave your ego at the door. It’s the first indication of the group-minded, family-like camaraderie among the students and highly trained instructors, and it's a sentiment that holds true in each of the gym’s three areas of expertise—adult martial arts and kickboxing, cross-training fitness classes, and youth programs for tykes as young as 4. MKG's MAX10 Fitness & Boot Camp program challenges fitness-goers to reach new goals.
Known as MAX, the 4,500-square-foot studio's cross-training classes help students get into shape during boot-camp- and kickboxing-inspired workouts. Sessions, such as Bag Combat or MAX Strength, torch calories and tone muscles while keeping boredom at bay with continuously changing routines and punching bags that explode into butterflies every time they’re hit.
Started in 2001 as a small operation in founder Bryce Phillips?s Seattle apartment, evo has since grown into a full-fledged retail store voted Best Ski and Snowboard Shop three years in a row in CityVoter?s King5 Best of Western Washington poll. Inside, Bryce and his crew of more than 100 winter- and summer-sports enthusiasts help visitors gear up for adventure with equipment by makers such as Armada, K2 Burton, and Lib Tech and outerwear from The North Face and Patagonia. A team of technicians also keeps equipment in top condition with tune-ups and other services, sharpening skis and waxing snowboards to keep them from growing fur. At evo?s flagship Fremont/Wallingford store, the staff relays the company-wide values of style, a balanced lifestyle, and authenticity by hosting events such as movie screenings and art showcases and devoting extra time to serving nonprofits throughout the community.
Things are always looking up at Seattle Bouldering Project, a south city climbing gym where both indoor and outdoor rock climbers enjoy the challenging ascents. The space offers typical bouldering (rock climbing without harnesses or ropes, using only special climbing shoes and techniques to ascend) courses on any of their multi-level artificial climbing walls, plus bouldering classes for all skill levels. Seattle Bouldering Project focuses on climbers aged four to adult, with special times and programs for the little ones, plus all of the necessary safety precautions. Occasional climbers can buy a day pass for use of the entire sprawling facility, while avid climbers have a choice of membership levels. There are climbing shoes and crash pads for rent at the gym, and instructors also teach the occasional yoga and fitness class.
In 1987, indoor climbing was as unpopular in the Seattle area as breeding labradoodles. But Vertical World––a pioneer indoor climbing gym––introduced the city to the up-and-coming sport of rock climbing in a controlled environment. Since its inception, the gym has expanded to three other locations in Everett, Tacoma, and Redmond, the latter hosting eastside climbers for more than 20 years.
A team of experienced route creators challenges climbers with more than 200 bouldering, lead, or top-rope routes in a wide variety of difficulty levels. The gym hosts competitive youth teams that have gone on to national or world tournaments. The gym's staff of climbers and guides also leads outdoor excursions that build confidence and teach novices how to identify a rock wall in the wild.