In the spirit of building a dance community, Upstate Strut teaches lessons and programs in dance, fitness, and recreation for children and adults of all experience levels. Kids try their hands and feet at jazz, ballet, hip hop, and other styles, and an after-school pick-up program makes sure kids are safely ferried from class to dance class. For more students looking to become professionals, the competitive program takes dancers to both regional and national meets, letting them tap, leap, and twirl toward potential victories and trophies. Dancers can start as young as two years old, and an all-boys hip hop class lets little gentlemen let loose without having to worry about which girl's cooties to fear most.
Arthur Murray has been a leading name in franchise dance since 1912, when the entrepreneur began selling mail-order dance lessons. Expanding his reach, he enlisted teachers to spread his signature dance lessons on first-class steamships and skyrocketed to fame in the '30s after introducing the public to such dances as the Lambeth Walk and The Big Apple. By the 1950s, Arthur and his wife, Kathryn, were hosting their own highly popular TV show on ABC, The Arthur Murray Dance Party, which ran for 12 years. Today, Arthur Murray's team prepares students for rug cutting at special events and weekend nightclub jaunts. Throughout lessons, instructors teach the foundations of two to four dances from a long list of styles that range from Latin to country-western, helping students to learn basic step patterns, timing, and the ability to lead or follow.
At Gyrotonic Vista, stressful, body-damaging workouts are shunned in favor of nonimpact, muscle-toning exercise using the Gyrotonic Expansion System, a fitness method founded by Romanian ballet dancer, gymnast, swimmer, and yogi Juliu Horvath. Maxing out at 20 muscle-molders, Gyrokinesis classes employ fluid movements reminiscent of yoga to oxygenate the body, loosen the musculature, and increase flexibility. In an open, 1,600-square-foot studio, a master or certified trainer guides each session, beginning with a spinal warm-up atop a stool before moving to the floor for an ab, hip, and back unlocking. Over the course of roughly 100 relaxing yet sweat-inducing movements, joint health can improve, blood can flow more freely, and contortion contests against acrobats can be won more easily.
For three decades, Greenville Ballet has set the stage for plié practitioners to develop lifelong fitness, learning, and arts appreciation through engaging classes. The schedule of 90-minute adult ballet sessions (a $17 per class value) helps hoofers ease into position once a week, laying a foundation for further studies in bodily expression. Pre-ballet classes (a $13 per class value), offered on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons, gift little legs 45 minutes of creative fun each week, teaching basic elements of movement and discipline that can be applied to other activities, such as sports, education, and mastering a perfect teeter-totter landing.
The consortium of professional instructors at Fred Astaire Dance Studios, which was cofounded by the legendary toe tapper himself, shepherds students of all ages and skill levels through lessons that span the style spectrum. Low-pressure private sessions allow enthusiastic teachers to fine-tune individual students' techniques and form, using their expert eyes and mechanical dancing shoes preprogrammed to do the Charleston. Patrons can learn how to cavort through classic waltz and fox-trot romps or swivel through the modern steps of salsa, swing, or cha-cha. For dancers hoping to hoof it up in a social setting, the group practice parties provide a one-night extravaganza of instruction, demonstrations, and amateur firewalking.
Goins Dancing's experienced instructor Kathryn Goins coaches children and adults in varied shimmying styles, leading classes in ballet, tap, clogging, jazz, and hip-hop. Sessions for 2- to 5-year-olds are more freeform, whereas school-aged children focus on technique as well as dance as fun self-expression. Adults can hustle in hip-hop seminars that double as cardio workouts, and tap and clogging lessons impart the most proficient methods for disrupting earthworm book clubs. Goins Dancing's small class sizes ensure that students receive individual attention tailored to their needs as they perfect their rug-cutting skills.
Let's Dance's dedicated team of instructors boasts a remarkable breadth of professional-dance accolades, including being voted Best Dance Studio by The Greenville News in 2010 and 2011. From a finalist appearance on So You Think You Can Dance to years of Broadway touring, the team shares a wealth of experience in a wide range of disciplines—ballet, jazz, hip-hop, and modern, to name a few. At their spacious studio, they call upon shared wisdom and passion to develop pint-sized dancers into stars like themselves. Each of their studio’s dance rooms is outfitted with a one-way glass observation window, which gives parents the chance to watch their budding performers spin, twirl, or interrogate uncooperative tap shoes. Costumes and music lend an air of age-appropriate elegance or whimsy to the proceedings, and raised Marley dance surfaces reduce the chance of slippage or injury.