At Let's Dance Ballroom Dance Studio, the studio's 2,000-square-foot sprung floorspace jostles beneath the feet of first-time visitors practicing the basics of ballroom. During classes, newcomers step through simple choreography that emphasizes positivity and support. Certified instructors, all of whom oversee lessons at the studio full-time, maintain the same comfortable ambiance throughout their other group and private classes. Whether they are demonstrating the sensual dips of tango, the hip pops of the hustle, or the buoyant leaps of swing, they strive to infuse their pupils with lasting confidence in their moves.
The studio’s curriculum includes waltz, fox trot, cha-cha, and mambo, in addition to disciplines such as theater arts and country western. Instructors eagerly take on special projects as well, including coaching couples through their wedding dance. Friday-night parties allow students to socialize with fellow dancers outside of the context of clubbing or tucking notes into each other's tutus onstage. Occasionally, the studio even schedules live music to sync up with its sessions.
Academy Ballroom co-owner Jeremy Norris knows his students. "When it comes down to it, everyone really dances for one reason: to have fun," he states on his school’s website. Co-owner Emily Loyless and their staff of fellow NDCA-registered instructors share his sentiment. In addition to teaching salsa, west coast swing, and country dancing, their dance studio turns into a ballroom dance party on Friday nights where students practice moves from their lessons. Norris and company also schedule Zumba dance fitness classes, whose calorie burn far exceeds that of completing 100 Macarenas.
Founded by husband-and-wife and USA-Dance competitors Philip and Ann Carter, Dance Dimensions teaches fledging rug-cutters to dance while focusing on fitness and fun. In one-on-one lessons, student and teacher will engage in a delicate dance of instruction, learning basic movements and steps in dance variations such as tango, waltz, and foxtrot. Group classes take place every Friday and Saturday from 7 to 8 p.m. and continue to teach the basics while allowing hip-swinging pupils to meet one another. Every group lesson is followed by a dance party, giving dancers a fun, smoke-free environment to show off their new moves and mingle with fellow aficionados of rhythmic movement. As an added bonus, the active, sustained dance at Dance Dimensions’s parties can burn hundreds of calories and inspire higher self-esteem. Dancers are counseled to wear comfortable clothes and avoid rubber-soled shoes.
SalsaKnox owners and instructors Waldo Solano and Jacqueline Sellers direct students of all experience levels in the art of salsa and the slower, more sensual bachata dancing. Students attend group classes to learn dance fundamentals such as how to properly lead and follow, leading to laser-like precision in post-class games of Simon Says. Solano and Sellers share professional techniques that emphasize footwork and add stylistic flair to body movements. The pair also tutors dancers in important body signals that help partners to synchronize steps and silently discuss the stock market. First-timers can groove confidently without need of a partner.
Absolute Ballroom’s knowledgeable instructors specialize in a wide variety of dance styles, catering to terpsichorean newbies during 45-minute introductory classes. Absolute Ballroom’s certified and trained teachers pride themselves on unearthing a student’s missing right foot, believing that dancing can be taught to anyone, regardless of a lack of rhythm or a fevered insistence that the floor is made of lava. Dancers can learn the basic steps of several social dances under the watchful gaze of a private instructor, alternating between the wistful glides of the waltz or the elusive woodland rhythms of the foxtrot. Students can also master the over-the-shoulder saltation of swing, rumba’s mellifluous hip movements, or how to properly chomp a rose for tango.
At Aerial Space, workouts unfold in midair. Practitioners weave through suspended silks, flow through yoga poses supported by hammocks, or practice acrobatic moves on the static trapeze and lyra, a suspended hoop. Aerial Space's aerial circus-arts classes, offered privately and for groups of children and adults, instill equal parts grace, fitness, and newfound skill.