At Princess Mhoon Dance Institute, everyone is welcome—whether you're an aspiring professional dancer or just looking to have a good time while learning dance moves beyond the Macarena. Adults break a sweat in Zumba, African dance fitness, and stretching and toning classes, while younger students master ballet positions, tap steps, and leaps and turns. All the while, Princess Mhoon and her staff craft a welcoming environment that balances serious study with light-hearted fun. It's not just the students who sing Princess Mhoon Cooper's praises—the instructor and choreographer has been commissioned by the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and Dance magazine honored her in a 2006 list of 25 to watch.
Competition plays a peripheral role at Let’s Move Sportz. Coaches of the coed flag-football league, which welcomes kids aged 5–12, emphasize sportsmanship and camaraderie instead. Above all else, they aim to keep kids active and healthy, giving words of encouragement as budding athletes—clad in NFL flag-football jerseys—tackle the basics of noncontact football.
The dance floor at Roda Movements sizzles with the dance and martial-arts forms of Brazil and Latin America. In capoeira classes, students gather in a circle playing drums, the single-stringed berimbau, and the tambourine, taking turns moving to the center to perform acrobatic movements that blend sparring techniques with graceful sweeping motions of the native dance style. Brazilian jiujitsu teaches grappling techniques for fighting on the ground, and Zumba sets a calorie-blasting aerobic-dance routine to Latin rhythms. The ballroom styles of salsa teach quick-paced steps to guests dancing solo, in pairs, or with a musically inclined mop. In addition to Latin dance and martial-arts classes, patrons can build muscles while whittling their waistlines in yoga and African-dance classes. Also catering to the wee ones, kids-only versions of specific classes helped Roda Movements earn a Best of the Best award from the Takoma Voice.
At DC Fencers Club (DCFC), head coach Janusz Smolenski leads a team of athletes that molds young fencers into champions. Thanks to his formidable swordsmanship, he has trained Olympic fencers at the ASZ AWF Katowice in Poland and national champions and junior Olympians at DCFC. Working with Coach Smolenski, a trio of coaches brings unique backgrounds and styles to the classes. Dariusz Gilman was a member of the Polish national team and a World Cup finalist, Robert Suchorski was a Polish National Junior Champion and has trained under top Polish and Russian fencing masters, and Ilya Lobanenkov worked with world class Russian, Hungarian, and Polish schools and has led students to two silver meals in the US Open Women’s épée team.
The DCFC facility boasts 10 full-size electric strips on a sprung-wood floor where fencers can lunge, parry, and riposte for hours on end without incurring injury. When not parrying and jousting, the team repairs or custom builds swords for fighters who want better balance, or a foil that can shoot other foils out of the end.
High-energy beats from artists such as Flo Rida, B.o.B., and the Black Eyed Peas bounce forth from the spinning studio at Rock Creek Sports Club, where nationally certified trainers lead stationary cyclists through challenging routes. In addition to these pop-powered workouts, the studio hosts more than 50 other fitness classes, an array of options that prompted the editors of Bethesda Magazine to name the studio 2012’s Best Neighborhood Gym. Zumba classes encourage students to boogie away calories to latin beats, and boxing clinics incorporate one-on-one attention from Golden Glove winner Russell Davis. The team of trainers can also coach visitors through the weight-loss process, or helm small group workout sessions capped at eight participants. The gym also welcomes independent workouts, with equipment such as treadmills, benches, and weights awaiting a few breathless reps of their own.
Drenched 5K events soak participants in the name of good health, good fun, and raising money for local charities. Runners of all makes and models can skip monthly jogs through the neighborhood car wash to converge on 5-kilometer courses, which start out dry, but quickly become lively fetes fueled by H2O. Along the routes misters, sprinklers, and fire hoses activate as groups pass by. Spectators also do their worst, launching water balloons and spraying water weapons at runners from the sidelines. A final 75-foot water slide sends runners gliding across the finish line, where a festival stocked with refreshments, live entertainment, and other water-related activities greets them.