Step N Dance founder Tony Duarte began dancing as a child in Nicaragua. Soon after moving to Miami at age 16, he developed an interest in styles ranging from the waltz to the hustle. With the new discovery of so many new steps came a passionate love of one particular style, however, and Duarte soon mastered the art of salsa. Over his career, Duarte’s skills have been seen on PBS, Univision, and every time he crosses the street. Classes at his own studio lean strongly towards salsa and other Latin styles, each enlivened with a smattering of jazz, hip-hop, and Afro-Cuban influences.
Led by head instructor Roger Krahl, who has three decades of martial-arts experience, the staff at MMA American Top Team Sunrise teaches students how to defend themselves. Their youth programs introduce martial-art fundamentals to kids as young as 3, which is about the time that all people make their first enemy. For more advanced lessons, the adult programs delve further into Brazilian jujitsu, muay thai, boxing, and mixed martial arts.
At Baby Otter Swim School, a team of nationally certified instructors demystifies the water for infants and adults alike, thwarting tragedy with techniques for lifelong safety. After raising their own children to fear neither pools nor natural bodies of water, owners Mindy and Marlene pioneered their flagship Turn, Kick, Reach program—a method that teaches children 10 months and older how to handle a spill into the water—as a tool for preventing drowning. For other classes, they follow a five-day model that demonstrates basic and advanced aquatic skills, such as mastering strokes or putting out fires with nothing more than a drinking straw, a glass of water, and elbow grease. Their curriculum has helped firefighter and police cadets, three-month-old babies, senior citizens, and celebrities. Baseball Hall of Famer Andre Dawson grew so enamored of the program after it taught him to swim that he became the school's spokesperson and set out on a water-safety campaign featured in the Sun Sentinel. Gwyneth Paltrow has also praised the instructors for the "tremendous confidence" that her daughter, Apple, gained as a result of the training.
Our professionally developed, non-competitive programs have been designed to build motor skills in a fun and nurturing environment, while fostering enhanced emotional, intellectual and social skills. Children are encouraged to try their best, not be the best.
John Wai is a living bridge between the ancient and modern styles of kung fu. Born in Hong Kong and schooled in the orthodox traditions of martial arts, Wai was already a kung-fu master by the time he opened his first academy in 1997. He has managed to stay relevant by combining the ancient approach with a modern, practical outlook that draws in a wider range of students. His classes—which include fitness kickboxing and Brazilian jiu jitsu as well as kung fu—focus on things such as exercise, stress-relief, and self-defense, and he also offers a summer camp where kids learn discipline, self-confidence, and how to open a care package with a single well-timed kick.
Prestige Dance Company’s owners, Uwem Ekpo and Annie Mercedes, believe that dance should take place in a fun-filled environment. That explains the high energy that charges through each of their Latin-dance classes, which include salsa, bachata, and mambo styles. The duo also teaches Zumba, a dance-based fitness program that coalesces Latin dance and cardio more effectively than tango partners who practice on a treadmill. Regardless of style, all dance lessons serve the studio’s mission to help students find confidence on the dance floor.