Josefina Garcia and Lisa Martinez have been studying dance since they were each 5 years old. Together, they started J and L Dance Center in 1992 to pass on their know-how and instill a strong sense of self-worth in each of their protégés. These days, they usher students to win awards and recognition at showcases and competitions throughout the country. Newbies of all ages train under these masters and a crew of skilled instructors who specialize in a range of genres including ballet, tap, hip-hop, flamenco, and jazz styles. Wood-sprung floors in all three dance rooms cushion the fall of toes and feet in flight, and wall-to-wall mirrors throughout the space enable students to dance-battle their reflections.
A comprehensive dance and movement facility, Manhattan Movement & Arts Center provides movers and shakers of all sorts a space for learning, rehearsing, and performing. MMAC classes are taught by renowned dance educators and dancing queens in obstruction-free studios, which are equipped with sprung floors and kept fastidiously free of rhythmically challenged Godzillas who “borrow” classmates’ leg warmers and return them all stretched out.
Wendy Traskos's career as a pole-dancing icon began with one fateful spin. Impressed by the strength of self-expression she glimpsed in accomplished pole-dancers, she tried the art for herself and was hooked immediately, so much so she has been honing her spinning skills for 16 years. Now a self-taught professional, she channels her background as a certified personal trainer and gymnast to enhance her routines. Wendy’s fitness knowledge landed her celebrity clients, including Montel Williams and Mary J. Blige, and her proficiency on the pole led Germany's version of America's Next Top Model to feature her as a dancing expert.
At NY Pole studios, Wendy passes on her spiraling prowess through her original Climb and Spin method. She believes that students should build a foundation of muscle and a repertoire of techniques as they progress to more advanced pole tricks, which require them to shed all rock-climbing gear. Her classes accommodate varying skill levels with choreographed routines, motivating participants to practice recently learned grips, climbs, and transitions. The studios also offer fitness classes, private parties, and workshops led by guest instructors such as Cleo “The Hurricane,” also known as Miss Pole Dance Australia.
The consortium of professional instructors at 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 fire walking.
From a perch overlooking Times Square, Roy Arias Studios & Theaters sets the stage for prime New Year's Eve partying in a large multipurpose space. From 9 p.m. to 1 a.m., revelers can peer down at the festivities building in the street below or stroll through seven themed rooms, each serenading guests with its own music incanted by DJs and holograms of Ludwig van Beethoven. Bartenders spend the night filling glasses with wine, beer, and spirits to enhance the evening's carousal. At midnight, each room will broadcast the ball drop on massive video screens that make the actual 3-inch bauble atop the Times Square building look gigantic.
Led by seasoned instructors Joel Dominguez and Maria Palmieri, the dance classes at Joel Salsa help feet movers master a repertoire of smooth and sexy salsa moves. In Salsa Bootcamp classes, students learn the basics of rhythm and timing by studying the music itself, then humming each song backwards from memory. More experienced dancers can sashay through Advanced Beginner or Intermediate classes, where instructors impart more elaborate maneuvers and basic sequin-aerodynamics theory. Though today's Groupon can be used on any combination of classes, the studio recommends scheduling all sessions within one level. Visit the website for class times and dates.
Head instructor and founder Kimberly spent a decade storming the stages of Texas, New York, and New Jersey before establishing StripXpertease's blend of seductive arts and strength building. Along with dancers from salsa and classical dance backgrounds, Kimberly leads adult women of all experience levels through private lessons, workshops, and courses that show how to strip, perform lap dances, or talk dirty with a specialized naughty thesaurus. Stripper Strength sessions focus on powering sultry moves with rock-solid muscles and building enough flexibility to change earrings with feet.