Walking a mile in someone else's shoes can be very educational, especially if the shoes belong to Mandy Carlisle, a professional dancer. As a competitive American Rhythm Style ballroom dancer, Mandy has toured the country and racked up awards—she's been ranked among the top 13 dancers in the United States, placed second in the United States Professional Rising Star Rhythm Championship, and conducted an undefeated run as the Fred Astaire National Rising Star Rhythm Champion. In her spare time, she has earned teaching certifications in more than 13 styles of dance (among them, classic ballet, hip-hop, and jazz) and opened her own studio, Aspire Dance.
Mandy and her staff of 12 instructors hone the skills of young dancers, providing a reception area for parents to wait and witness progress. For adults, the teachers conduct fitness-focused classes. Latin-inspired Zumba classes boost cardiovascular endurance, whereas yoga sessions cultivate flexibility and balance so that you can finally touch your toes while standing on stilts.
In 1947, on New York City's Park Avenue, the first Fred Astaire Dance Studio—cofounded by the eponymous toe tapper himself—opened its doors to the public. More than six decades later, now boasting schools across North America, the dancing institution still adheres to the legendary Mr. Astaire's curriculum and instruction techniques.
Specializing in social ballroom and competitive dances, the schools' current consortium of professional instructors shepherds students of all ages and skill levels through dance lessons that span from classic ballroom and foxtrot romps to the modern steps of salsa, swing, or mambo. In addition to classes, the studio hosts social practice parties where up to 40 students hone newly acquired rug-cutting capabilities. As foot-charming music blares from the speakers, instructors work to cultivate a lively social setting where each guest can dance, mingle, and surgically correct their second left foot without fear of embarrassment.
The consortium of professional instructors at Fred Astaire Dance Studios, which was cofounded by the legend himself, shepherds students of all ages and skill levels through dance lessons. Low-pressure private sessions allow enthusiastic teachers to fine-tune individual students' techniques and form using their expert eyes. Patrons can learn how to cavort through classic ballroom, 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 and demonstrations.
Everybody's welcome to learn to turn, twirl, and trip the light fantastic at Dance Defined Studio. The studio offers classes in hip-hop, ballet, lyrical, jazz, tap, and pointe for women, men, and kids of all ages. Small-group classes ensure each dancer receives ample individual attention.
For the students of To The Pointe Performing Arts, no dance step is just a dance step. Because the school follows a holistic approach to learning dance, every step comes with a bounty of knowledge—its place in the style, its cultural origin, the muscle movements it requires, and the discipline required to master it. Whether they're 6-year-olds encountering their first tap shoes or high-school students refining their skills in Russian ballet technique, the team of experienced dance instructors make it their business to forge not only great dancers but educated citizens of the world. In addition to youth classes, the studio also offers DanceFit and tap classes for adult students.
Erin O?Boyle teaches ballroom dancing in private and group lessons at Social Style. She spent more than 14 years perfecting her craft and studied under Dancing with the Stars performers Jesse DeSoto and Tony Dovolani. Bringing this experience to her classes, O?Boyle helps new and veteran dancers refine their technique on 12 different styles of ballroom dancing, including the foxtrot, rumba, salsa, waltz, and merengue. And beyond social dance, she packs her class schedule with hula, hip-hop, and modern dance as well as barre fitness and pilates sessions.