It's in the tiny sixth percentile of theaters built in the US before the year 1900, and there's a good chance its elegance will outshine those erected in the year 2100. The noble brick facade. The sash windows bordered by painted wood. The cast-iron parapet at the center of the roof. But it's not just the architecture that made Tarrytown Music Hall's 1980 inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places seem long overdue. It also possesses a rich history. Famous figures such as the Rockefellers and Vanderbilts patronized the theater in its early days, when the Tarrytown was one of the first venues to usher in the dawn of cinema. During the venue's "Millionaire's Colony" era, the stage even played home to Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, who regaled the crowd with speeches and their famous plate-spinning act.
When she opened her eponymous dance studio, Cinzia DeGregorio already had more than 20 years of dance experience under her belt. She’d studied and taught everything from ballet to cheer to hip-hop to salsa, and continues to explore and combine a variety of different dance styles. Today, her studio offers a range of hip children’s classes such as breakdancing and Bollywood dancing, as well as more traditional dance forms, including ballet and tap. Customers can also create custom dance classes that incorporate the Jabbawockeez style, or arrange private dance parties to test out moves of their own. Cinzia also helps her charges stay slim and fit with dance-inspired fitness classes, such as Zumba and Ballet Bootcamp, that are open to women of all fitness levels.
The consortium of professional instructors at the many 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 samba. 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.
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.
Adrienne Logan is a dance guru, and she's got the resume to prove it; she was a student of Fred Kelly (Gene Kelly?s brother), studied at the Broadway Dance Center and Steps on Broadway, and she's now the owner of Just off Broadway. Along with a faculty of talented dancers, she leads classes for students of all ages in disciplines such as jazz, musical theater, and tap. Aspiring ballerinas can study under resident ballet maestro Andrea Kron, who studied at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center, performed in Radio City Music Hall, and danced as a Rockette. Like eating a bowl of pure cane sugar for dessert, the need to dance has no age limit, which is why the staff also leads dance classes for adults, as well as fitness classes such as Pilates, Zumba, and barre fitness.
Nola Van Alstine believes that students learn to dance best when classes combine technique with imagination and a fun, carefree atmosphere. She and her supporting staff of in-studio pianists and instructors—many of whom commute from Manhattan—create this type of environment with a low student-to-teacher ratio that also allows them to pay ample attention to each participant. Their class curriculum includes parent-and-child dance classes for little ones to explore movement for the first time and pre-dance classes that prepare preschoolers for more skilled practice in tap, jazz, ballet, and hip-hop classes, offered for kindergarteners through teens at Dance Adventure.