Regardless of dress size or dance background, each woman who enters one of The Secret Pole Dance Studios becomes a part of a supportive community. At both the original Culver City studio and the brand new Hawthorne location, instructors dish out compliments as they guide women through choreographed fitness routines, empowering dancers to overcome inhibitions and let loose along the way. During the Pole Diva and Sensual Movement classes, instructors also encourage camaraderie, occasionally breaking participants into groups and have them perform for one another. Though it may seem intimidating, this opportunity to show off in front of a nurturing audience provides students with the opportunity to build self-esteem.
In addition to boosting mental fortitude, the studio's sensual fitness routines also build physical strength; pole-dancing classes sculpt arms and cores, and chair-dancing classes firm up glutes, quads, and newly emerged dorsal fins. Classes unfold in the studios or on location, but the fun doesn't necessarily end once the imaginary bell rings; groups of gals can even reserve the spaces for private dance parties.
Multiple classes in a variety of dance disciplines are available seven days a week. Start the week off with 5 p.m. yoga booty ballet, a bouncy, stretchy fusion of body-friendly natural movements, or go straight for the sweat stuff with a 7 p.m. cardio class. Your Neighborhood Studio also offers hip-hop, cardio ballet, ballet fit, and jazz classes. View a complete monthly schedule here. Dance classes run 55 to 75 minutes, and yoga sessions last 75 to 95 minutes. All classes except tango are drop-in, appeasing busy bees, wishing wells, and the commitmentphobic.
With courses geared toward toddlers, kids, tweens, and teens, the instructors at Zooga Yoga caters to kids in addition to its eclectic mix of adult classes. They believe that in addition to yoga’s physical benefits, an early practice is a powerful instigator of happiness, overall well-being, and enhanced ability to focus. In family classes, the staff gives parents and kids chances to connect and find ways to de-stress together more effectively than games of Break the Vase.
Arthur Murray Dance Studio 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. Clients who arrive to lessons partnerless will be paired up with an instructor as the teachers assess their current skill level and make recommendations on the most appropriate program. 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.
GROOV3 founder, Benjamin Allen, seems drawn to dance floors. At the school parties and bat mitzvahs of his youth, he was always showcasing his moves. Though he earned a degree in business and communication from Arizona State University, the call of the dance floor proved stronger than that of the corporate world. Soon after graduation, Benjamin moved to Los Angeles to devote fully himself to the art of the groove in numerous TV commercials, musicals, sitcoms, and stage performances. Benjamin shares his passion for dance with students at GROOV3 during non-competitive cardio-dance classes. GROOV3's fleet of experienced instructors and live DJs attempt to build a community of like-minded dancers and share their commitment to fun-filled calorie burning in a relaxed atmosphere. Classes help students of all fitness levels kick-start their hearts and torch a few calories with energetic dance experiences that tone up muscles along the way.
DanceGardenLA was created by Zahra Zuhair and Jenna, who have been belly-dancing since childhood and have travelled the world accumulating impressive professional credits. Zuhair has trained in traditional folk and Eastern styles?including Lebanese, Turkish, Moroccan, and Tunisian?but her specialty is Egyptian belly dance, which she has studied with some of the top teachers in Cairo. She has also been featured on the cover of Zaghareet! magazine and has written, directed, and choreographed productions as the artistic director of the Ghazella Dance Company and Po Na Na Dance Theatre. Jenna acted as a goddess bellydance instructor on an episode of Sex and the City, and made appearances on The Tyra Banks Show and the Food Network program Aarti Party. She has also starred in several bestselling belly dance-instruction DVDs.
Thanks to their more than 50 years of combined teaching experience and a talented team of award-winning instructors, the studio was named the Best Place to Learn the Art of Bellydancing in 2012 by LA Weekly. The site recommended instructor Princess Farhana's "witty repartee (and Hollywood rock-scene anecdotes)," and described the predominantly female atmosphere as "always encouraging, never intimidating." The crew teaches classes including classic and tribal-style bellydance, Bollywood, and cutting-edge dance fitness such as Bellyquake and E5.