Toronto Dance Salsa's roster of instructors and more than 70 dance volunteers spin, twirl, and dip more than 5,000 students each year, from both its 1,600-square-foot main studio atop the North York Civic Centre subway and three other area locations. During lessons, instructors concentrate on teaching pairs and singles leading-following skills, as well as basic body movement and styling. While all instructors have their speciality, they all share a passion for dance that kicked-started their careers, and—for many of them—led to performing as well as teaching. An even male-female ratio is emphasized during classes, with experienced volunteers able to jump in and exude a level of comfort and knowledge usually reserved for sweatsuit-clad professors.
To complement the artistic side of the studio, Toronto Dance Salsa also features a full roster of strengthening, conditioning, calorie-burning fitness classes. With a flexible schedule that includes morning, lunchtime, and evening classes, the DayFit program grants students of any schedule with energizing workouts. Power yoga and hatha yoga classes boost flexibility while centering the mind, and Core Fusion melds the ancient art of yoga with the core benefits of Pilates. True to its dance roots, the studio also offers Zumba, a Latin-dance infused class designed to burn calories through invigorating music.
The best way Angela Williams can tell her life story is through dance. In her 20 years of experience, she has practiced disciplines such as jazz, tap, and ballet, placed in several gymnastics competitions, and performed in musical theatre. She earned a degree in Recreation and Leisure Studies, holds an Ontario Gymnastics Coaching certification, and has spent her summer months overseeing Zodiac Camp’s dance and performing arts programs for kids.
Bringing all of those experiences together, Angela formed Groove School of Dance, where she and her team of teachers demystify the art of bodily expression. The school’s uncompetitive environment creates a familial atmosphere where kids and adults alike can try their feet at ballet, hip-hop, tap, and Zumba. Groove School’s lessons also cater to students with special needs, such as autism, downs syndrome, and visual and hearing impairments. Their dance-themed birthday parties excite youngsters with performers dressed as princesses, clowns, or superheroes, and can include snacks and a cake with Baryshnikov hiding in the center.
By the end of the day, a steady stream of kids aged 3–12 have pirouetted, leaped, and popped and locked their way out of each of Dance Kids Canada's studios, but the teachers ensure they take a few other things with them. In carrying out the studio's mission of making dance lessons accessible to all, they use the medium as a means for pupils to get early starts on arts education, hone leadership and social skills, and encourage open-mindedness. Their students develop character in classes, summer camps, and birthday parties. At the end of each class session, friends and family gather while the kids show off during recitals.
Danceology owner and instructor Marla Silva has spent her life working to master the art of dance, whether she was studying it, competing in it, or teaching it. Marla, who is also certified in Sivananda yoga and Pilates, teaches a range of dance and fitness classes alongside her team of experienced instructors. The studio’s specialty is social and ballroom dances, such as the foxtrot, salsa, and samba. In the spacious and bright ballroom, partners and solo dancers learn to mambo, tango, and step gracefully around a long series of puddles. Danceology also offers fitness classes including Pilates, yoga, and Zumba.