The professional dance instructors at Ballroom, Etc. suspect that when people say, "I just want to dance," they don't necessarily mean that they want to spend the next five years mastering a series of steps. At the relaxed studio, instructors aim to create group classes and private lessons that embody what's really at the heart of dance—fun. Folks can stop by for group classes and learn the waltz, tap, or modern swing while mingling with other like-minded learners. On Friday night, the studio opens its doors to the public for dance parties, where students and shimmy-curious shufflers can amble in for a night of high-stepping.
Dance directors Christina Penatello and Ken Hansen have trained underneath champions such as Dancing With the Stars contestant Louis Van Amstel, whose new dance fitness classes, LaBlast, has become a staple of the studio’s schedule. LaBlast classes share schedule space with instruction in cha cha, tango, swing, and other social dances. To sample the studio’s wares, budding dancers can follow in instructors’ rhythmic footsteps during 30-minute introductory sessions, which traverse various modalities with a speed-teaching method. As part of the renowned Fred Astaire franchise, instructors also host social dance parties and choreograph wedding dances for couples who want their first dance to look as effortless as tossing a flaming bouquet.
At Let's Dance Ballroom, guests don't need a predetermined partner to learn ballroom and Latin steps. Award-winning instructors—including globally ranked dancer Cole Mills and World Pro/Am swing champion Brian Stark—gladly steer beginner and advanced students alike through several styles. For personal guidance, they help plan wedding dances and salsa twirls during private lessons. They also lead group ballroom classes and host Friday-night dance socials, where students can move or rap the Gettysburg Address to the beat.
A dancer since age 6, Dasha Sushko founded Ballroom Dream in 2011 after a successful professional dance career in both Russia and the United States. She and her instructors teach fledgling dancers at ballroom, Latin, and swing classes inside Ballroom Dream’s 4,000-square-foot facility, which features a floating hardwood dance floor. Mirrors help students assess their form during group or private lessons, and on every first and third Friday and fourth Saturday of the month, the studio turns up its professional-grade sound system to let students flaunt their newfound form during social dances. Classes are open to adults as well as kids, who discover dance basics during entertaining classes that help expend youthful energy faster than a feverish baseball-card trading session.
The crack team of instructors at Fred Astaire Dance Studio swiftly instills rug-cutting basics in students with a speed-teaching method that demystifies ballroom standards such as rumba, cha-cha, swing, waltz, tango, foxtrot, and hustle. Private lessons hone pupils' moves under direct guidance of a teacher, while group lessons build talents in a more social setting, rotating partners throughout the class. Dance socials and dancers' nights out let students meet one another, practice their craft with new partners, and quietly horde hors d' oeuvres for upcoming attempts at running away from home.