Dancemeister David Vanderzell transforms his lifelong passion for ballroom dance into a living through both the lessons and facilities at D&D's Dance Center. He and his cast of instructors aid beginners and aspiring professionals in lightening their feet within one of the establishment's four ballrooms, the largest of which measures a whopping 2,500 square feet, the size of a three- to four-bedroom house or the cramped dorm room of a gray whale. This grand ballroom also boasts a DJ booth, a full light and sound system, and a stage for live bands. A dance-supply store inhabits one of the building's many chambers, dealing in everything from championship costume design to emergency pairs of shoes for sudden danceoffs to determine to the fate of the nations.
The mission of Glow Yoga Studio is for each class to feel relaxed and reflective, giving students a chance to clear their minds as they improve their flexibility and strength. This studio, tucked inside Riverside Jazzercise, has a small staff of three instructors, two of whom have backgrounds that include dance and a third who traveled to India to learn how to teach yoga. They lead all-levels classes in three practices: Hatha, deep-stretch, and a blend of Iyengar, Yin, and Anusara.
At Embody Pole Fitness, shimmying and spinning does more than make for a good performance, it also inspires self-confidence. The studio’s certified instructors lead women through an eclectic series of classes that lift spirits while toning bodies. Pole dancing tightens cores with combo spins, inversions, flips, and rippling like a flag, while barre sessions blend fast-paced ballet positions with strength-training moves that lengthen muscles and improve flexibility and posture. Exercise-centric classes such as ChickFit keep the focus on fitness with routines designed by Navy SEAL instructors to keep muscles coordinated with a bombardment of high-intensity interval training and isolation movements.
The percussiveness of Latin and ballroom music resounds through Sonata Room, where founders and decorated dancers Laura Powell and Brandon Kwae lead private and group dance classes. A champion of the International Grand Ball Championships and Emerald Ball Dancesport Championships, Laura brings her hard-earned talent to the classroom, where she has trained up-and-coming dancers for 25 years. Watching a televised dance championship first spurred Brandon onto the dance floor, his quickly developed skills eventually placing him on the podium in competition. Together, the duo now patiently and technically break down each dance step for their students without using intimidating tactics, such as dancing with the time-out chair. Their spacious, dimly lit, and wood-floored studio also hosts occasional events, including bimonthly ballroom-dance parties.
It's Wednesday night. As workers across the city face the prospect of another hum-drum commute, a select few make their way to corner of Allen and Casa Grande. There, instead of enduring the scenes of gridlock, these students of movement immerse themselves in the sounds and steps of Latin America. They're met by Lumina Academy's seasoned instructors, who've created a salsa curriculum that leads small groups through basic steps to advanced, performance-ready moves, all with an emphasis on salsa as a social dance.
Whether they come with or without a partner, students of all experience levels gain familiarity and skill during small group sessions before showing off their newly acquired moves at parties. Classes emphasize lead-and-follow techniques, with instructors encouraging students to rotate partners so they can practice with various statures, skill levels, and numbers of feet.
In addition to salsa, the school specializes in other dance styles ranging from stately flamenco to hypnotic belly-dancing. To complement the grace and rhythm of their dance classes, instructors also offer exercise-based classes such as yoga and hip-hop boot camp, which combines sweat-inducing moves with invigorating music.