Once a professional belly dancer, fitness instructor Rachel Roth has spent years practicing dance. While balancing swords and swinging her hips in clubs, restaurants, and festivals, Rachel stumbled upon the world of Zumba and became hooked. Today, she leads her own Zumba dance fitness classes, which help students burn calories and strengthen their muscles. These dance classes have been known to slim down torsos so students can feel confident at the beach or escape alien attacks by crawling through narrow air ducts.
The seasoned event coordinators from Dance San Francisco and SalsaCrazy channel their experience into Taste Fridays, a weekly festival that combines bustling gourmet local fare and with infectious Latin rhythms. Each Friday night, guest mixologists or local fare vendors assemble on an outdoor patio to dole out samples of handheld fare, gourmet cocktails, or demonstrations of their craft, and performances of the pancake-flipping scene from Hamlet. While the festival’s vendor list rotates weekly, past guests include Alicia's Tamales, Rocket Fish, and The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen. After attendees eat, they filter into inside to the Café Cocomo's dance floor, where instructors lead them through the footwork of salsa and bachata, ensuring feet obey their masters without the need for obedience training. As live music from guest Latin musicians and bands fills the space, guests can mingle and dance until 2 a.m.
The experienced staff at The Peninsula Ballet Theatre Conservatory of Dance nurture awkward appendages into free-flowing figures with their dance and fitness classes. Learn the sultry style of Latin-based beats during the beginning folklorico course with Norberto Martinez, or join flow yoga with Patti Stafford to elongate a rigid endoskeleton. The beginning ballet class enables novice dancers to pirouette to work and the grocery store, and the synergy Pilates class swiftly strengthens the core for upcoming sit-up competitions against the neighborhood snap bracelet.
Dr. Aruna Chinnakotla has her feet in two seemingly opposite worlds. During the day, she's a primary care physician, studying and utilizing medical science to help others feel their best. But when she leaves her office, she trades her stethoscope for sequins, helping to energize others through Bollywood fitness dance. Fusion Beatz combines the doctor's passion for dance and medicine in a fitness program that exercises every muscle in the body. These high-impact dance moves also help students avoid injury unlike typical exercise regimes, which include cartwheeling through rings of fire.
For longtime dancers Rachel Jackson and Aderemi Rucker, the creation of Destined 2 Dance Studio & Performing Arts took a leap of faith. They had performed together as a gospel-infused praise-dance duo for several years, and had been asked many times about offering classes. In 2003, they decided to give it a try, and since then, they've helped both adults and children express themselves through dance. Classes include ballet, jazz, modern, hip-hop, and praise styles, and the studio also has its own dance company.