Internationally acclaimed dancer Amaya isn't regretful of her romantic impulse to run away and join the circus, a decision that sparked her notable and diverse career. The passionate performer was awarded Dancer of the Year by the International Academy of Middle Eastern Dance in 1998, and her documentary Gypsy Fire—which explores Spanish gypsy dancing—earned Amaya a Giza Award. Now, she channels more than 30 years of teaching experience and knowledge of several international dances, including Mexican folk, African, and a rare form of hot potato, into her dance classes. During these sessions, she overhauls boring cardio routines with basic belly-dancing techniques and Danza Mora moves—a marriage of Arabic and Spanish gypsy dance—which she infuses with cultural insights, inspiring philosophies, and nutrition advice. She also hosts women-only dance retreats to distant locales, during which she grants participants one-on-one dance training, spiritual guidance, and other opportunities such as the chance to observe a private Native American ceremonial harvest dance.
Amaya also believes in empowering young girls and women to reach their full potential. A portion of her DVD sales benefit The Girl Effect, a charity dedicated to empowering women and fighting for equal rights across the globe.
While teaching jazz dance in the 1960s, Judi Sheppard Missett decided to step away from tradition by offering an experimental class that allowed her students to simply dance without the judgment of mirrors or the constraints of rigid technique. In these sessions, she began infusing popular dance moves with specific fitness workouts to forge a distinctive blend of cardio exercise, strength training, and dance instruction. Little did she know that this ?just for fun? class was the prototype for what would become the national fitness sensation known as Jazzercise.
Today, Jazzercise takes its aerobic techniques from a variety of sources that include jazz dance, hip-hop, resistance training, Pilates, yoga, and kickboxing. The class formats, which vary according to different toning goals, are just as diverse as the program's move set. Instructors cultivate a noncompetitive atmosphere where all exercisers?with the exception of those marked as cursed by jazz-hand palm readers?are welcome regardless of age, build, or fitness background.
Certified massage therapist and healing artist Kerry Leigh traces her specialty in core synchronism back to the system?s developer, Robert Stevens, who first trained her to assist nature with techniques that promote inner-organism harmony. Kerry honed her massage skills as a backstage therapist at rock concerts, as the founder of the Odwalla Juice Company's on-site massage therapy program, and with the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health before starting her own practice at Actualize Your Health.
These days, Leigh and a team of therapists connect minds and bodies with cellular nutrition, aromatherapy with essential oils, and natural flower essences selected for their health-giving vibrational energy. Their background in athletics gives them a firsthand look at what hardworking muscles and spirits need to recover after grueling workouts or fisticuffs with inner demons.
Owner and instructor Julia Bowen spent more than a decade investigating anti-aging methods, natural healing, and movement of energy through the body before discovering the marriage of all three in yoga. Investigating yoga resulted in a new passion, which prompted her to open Yoga by Julia, enabling her to share yoga with others.
Julia's staff of 5 yoga instructors fill the week with a variety of levels of yoga class, from beginner to advanced, some sessions tailored to specific goals. The friendly teachers are knowledgeable, supportive, have undergone advanced training, and strive to make all classes fun and approachable. They supplement their schedule with the core-reforming regimens of Pilates and Yoga Sculpt, a vigorous class that combines cardio, yoga, and weight-lifting. All classes take place within their hardwood-floored studio, amid the sparkling light of sunshine and the bright glow of paper lanterns.
At Cloud Nine Therapeutics, LLC, guests can relax as they receive top-notch cosmetic treatments in an environment that maximizes comfort. Treatment tables with memory foam padding and 600-thread-count linens provide a pillowy perch as clients receive hot-stone massage or a Twinkle Toe salt scrub from Stephanie O'Connell, who's licensed and certified in a number of aesthetic and wellness treatments including massage therapy and microcurrent physiology. Cloud Nine's services also include a body-sculpting therapy that harnesses microcurrents designed to stimulate weight loss and contour bodies. The increased cellular metabolism may last up to 72 hours, helping clients feel energized and refreshed. A series of treatments is recommended for best results, since treatments are cumulative.
New Mexico Fit Personal Training's owner, Michelle Morath, curates a curriculum of 11 different classes six days a week. Most sessions last only 25 minutes, like dates with a snowman wearing his sharpest wool cardigan. These brief but challenging blasts of cardio, strength training, or stretching fall in line with Michelle’s belief that anyone can improve his or her health with proper exercise. She helps older adults and those in the midst of rehabilitation ease back into workouts, whereas her fellow staffers work with young adults and teens. The staff also includes two massage therapists who customize sessions to your particular aches in order to re-balance bodies.