The talented team of resident instructors at Absolute Ballroom guides nimble feet across 2,500 square feet of dance floor during a series of group Latin-dance classes. Groups of approximately 40–70 students converge inside the studio for one-hour classes that allot space to learn an array of introductory skills, including how to perform basic Latin steps, or piece together clues to find a dance partner. Gliding guests perform the romantic lilting motions of bachata or the complex and majestic movements of the merengue, and cardiac systems get in a workout while learning the energetic and rhythmical cha-cha or hip-swiveling salsa. The classes build upon skills introduced from the first to the last class, and focus on the Latin social styles that will equip dancers for a night out at the club. Students can show off their new rug-cutting moves and r-rolling abilities during Sunday night salsa dances beginning at 7:15 p.m.
Students of all skill levels learn to shimmy with grace during Pittsburgh Bellydance Academy's comprehensive bellydance classes. Beneath the pressed-tin ceilings of a renovated theater-turned-studio, experienced instructors lead dancers in beautiful movements that can also help tighten and tone the body. Besides combinations, choreography, and head-to-toe technique, many sessions include flexibility and strength training. Others enhance the aesthetic experience with props such as the single and double veil, zills, canes, and fan veils. Students also receive training in musicality, interpretation, improvisation, and performance skills, helping prepare them for biannual showcase performances where they can show off their new moves.
Toni Dobransky, aided by her mother and aunt, opened Technique by Toni in 2005 with the goal of cultivating an enriching environment for dancers of all ability levels and style preferences. She and her instructors lead dance classes for students of all ages, from 3-year-olds to seniors, infusing young dancers with confidence and poise and challenging adults with a new hobby or to achieve dance mastery. The two studios resound with the light patter of beginning ballerinas' toes, the thumping beats of free-form hip-hop classes, and the clicking and clacking of tap classes, in which students learn to tap out secret Morse-code threats to opponent dance troupes. In addition to perfecting their technique in dance classes, adults can whip themselves into shape while having fun in the high-intensity dance-fitness classes.
Although Anya Lasko began her career as a classically trained dancer and choreographer in Belarus, she was driven to found a studio based on "the three principles of holistic well-being, healthy exercising, and performing arts education." To accomplish this, she and her staff of instructors lead a combination of instructive and recreational classes for all skill and experience levels, helping students develop the physicality required for artistic expression through music and dance.
Dance classes explore a number of different styles—including ballet, belly dance, and hip-hop—and instructors address the needs and learning styles of different age groups by teaching separate lessons for children and adults. For a muscle-toning approach, the fitness sessions can emphasize low-impact workouts with Pilates techniques and ballet barre exercises, whereas yoga classes' mindful movements and guided meditation generate more focus than the Hubble Space Telescope's contact lenses.
At Pittsburgh Heat Hip Hop, veteran choreographer Brenna Jaworski and her staff of friendly, experienced instructors guide dancers of all levels through hip-hop and break-dancing classes. In each one-hour class, seasoned steppers expound move-by-move instruction at a comfortable pace, allowing students and maladroit shadows alike to keep up. Age-specific sessions cater to various levels of experience, including break-dancing for kids ages 5–12, beginners hip-hop for ages 9–adult, and open hip-hop sessions for all ages.
In 1949, Charles “Chick” and Elda Mae Bruckman founded Bruckman School of Dance as a center of education for dancers of all ages and skill levels. A lifelong devotee of dance, Chick began his career at 6 years old and remains the school’s artistic director to this day. Along with a team of instructors, the Bruckmans introduce students to dance styles including tap, ballet, jazz, pointe, and hip-hop. As they lead students in mastering choreographed routines, they also teach dance history, imparting the origins of ballet and how NASA scientists made the moonwalk a dance craze in the early '70s. In addition to conventional dance classes, they host dance-inspired fitness classes, such as the Hip Hop Hustle and Turbo Kick, to get cardiovascular systems pumping.