Led with confidence by salsa crusader Erika Occhipinti, the agile staff at Salsa Caliente Dance Studio teaches students of all experience levels to strut their stuff within a structured curriculum. During beginner sessions, the dance floor becomes a kinetic classroom where pupils and gyrating lecterns rehearse the ins and outs of the basic step, as well as lead and follow techniques. Midlevel apprentices of the saucy art find a challenge in intermediate and advanced classes, in which dance senseis impart the secrets of their most devastating boogies. The studio encourages students to attend a beginner-level class first; students with salsa-dancing experience should arrive 15 minutes early to be evaluated and find out the best starting level for them. Take a step toward dancehall dominance by choosing a class on the schedule or invading a local dancehall with an armored conga line.
Helmed by an owner with 20 years of dance experience and a BA in dance education, Dance Arts Center’s instructors motivate bodies into motion with more than a dozen dance styles. They lead adult hobbyists and career-minded 3-year-old dancers alike in styles including classical ballet, tap, jazz, and acrobatics. In kids’ classes, instructors teach sprouts up to 18 years old the fundamentals of dance techniques in a non-competitive environment and challenge more advanced students to join the performance team, which takes to the stage at competitions, community performances, and workshops. Students in both the regular classes and the performance team gather to showcase their moves during the center's annual concert, which is one of the last remaining dance events in the country without a panel of sneering celebrity alien judges.
In addition to ballroom, hip-hop, and flamenco dance classes, staffers lead adults in yoga and Pilates regimens to help whip them into peak performance shape.
Having seen an upswing in interest in one of the world’s oldest dance styles, Johanna and Karen started a belly-dancing collective in 2004 as a way to create a community for both professionals and students and an audience for monthly showcases. They gave these enthusiasts a brick-and-mortar hangout in 2008 when they opened their first center for classes and events, which has since blossomed and moved into a new space nearly four times the size of the old studio.
Today, Hip Expressions offers drop-in and ongoing classes led by seasoned instructors. Classes focus on introducing newcomers to the art form’s fundamental isolation techniques that keep hips and waists from arguing over the remote. In addition to belly dancing, classes include a variety of other dances and fitness crazes such as Zumba, yoga for dancers, or active isolated stretching.
John Neighbors and Julia Meyerovich lead students through a variety of dance styles using their three-pronged teaching system. They offer private instruction to allow students to refine their techniques, group classes for students to learn new moves, and social dances during which students test out their moves with a variety of partners.
An accomplished student of the Pennsylvania Ballet School, classical ballerina Beth Brier stumbled upon her daughter Catie’s true passion in life after they witnessed a mystifying performance by Cirque du Soleil. Eager to encourage Catie's circus-career aspirations, Beth began a circus-arts program and drew in a clientele who also wanted to explore the sinuous realm of acrobatics. She enjoys watching her daughter—now an accomplished professional contortionist—perform and loves choreographing her own dance spectacles at Casa Tina's Mexican Restaurant every Saturday and Sunday evening.