Although Monterey Dance Studio is staffed by internationally competing ballroom dancers and a National Dance Council judge, it doesn’t cater exclusively to professionals. Rather, the instructors employ their collective wisdom to share the art of ballroom dance with students seeking to enter competition and participants simply looking for a sociable way to stay fit, have fun, and hold hands in public. Couples seeking training and choreography tips for their first wedding dance can also benefit from the studio’s private instruction.
Leo Sidorenko and Olga Agafonova started dancing at age six. They were teaching dance by the ages of 14 and 15. After an international competitive dancing career, they have opened their own studio in order to teach others the art of ballroom dancing. They offer a variety of techniques such as tango, swing, salsa, and waltz, and offer classes for students of all levels from casual wedding dances to professional competitors.
As she twinkle-toed her way across stages in countries from France to Brazil to Japan, internationally lauded dance teacher and choreographer Joy Smith's moves have enraptured audiences in music videos, TV shows, and music tours. At her studio, Santa Cruz Dance Company, she strives to impart a similar passion for dance in students of all ages and abilities. She fosters an encouraging environment in which they can learn the steps and lay the foundations for a lifetime of fitness. Along with a team of instructors, she teaches budding performers the fundamental techniques of ballet, contemporary jazz, acrobatics, and musical theater. The instructors incorporate these techniques into choreographed dance pieces and help students learn to express themselves through the movements—a skill they can use to show their feelings about their favorite roller coaster being put to sleep.
She also calls on her years of dance experience to help whip adults into shape during Zumba classes, an effort which has earned her Good Times' award for Best Aerobic Instructor. As a master trainer, she fires up fitness dance parties with her easy-to-follow blend of aerobics and Latin dance. She takes her training a step further by certifying and licensing Zumba trainers throughout Northern California as a Zumba Education Specialist.
Gymnastics Learning Center's experienced instructors engage energized tots with an array of challenging athletic activities that aid children in motor- and social-skill development. KinderGym, JuniorGym, and parent-assisted MiniGym courses teach tots younger than age 6 the fundamentals of muscular movement and how to finally earn their cat's respect. Sixty-minute beginning gymnastics or trampoline classes imbue older pupils with stretching and bouncing basics, and 90-minute intermediate gymnastics or trampoline courses explore more advanced balancing and bounding techniques. Small class sizes ensure that enthusiastic staff can safely escort whippersnappers as they navigate beams, spring from vaults, dangle from rings, or employ the silent treatment on disobedient pommel horses. Customers should check Gymnastics Learning Center's schedule to determine the most appropriate class time and fit.
Students at Motion Pacific learn innovative dance techniques by artfully moving limbs in classes ranging from tap dance to Afro Caribbean contemporary, as well as watching professionals glide onstage during Santa Cruz Dance's fall season. In a new facility, which combines 1,200- and 1,400-square-foot studios with sprung ash floors, Motion Pacific students learn how to shuffle-ball-change and pirouette from American Ballet Theatre–certified teachers and world-class hokey-pokey medalists. Motion Pacific’s Flex Dance Company class brings in company dancers to lead students, and its Pilates class provides an opportunity to strengthen and condition dancing limbs. Students can observe the graceful moves of Santa Cruz Dance pros in acts to be announced mid-August, and Motion Pacific’s fall session begins September 12.