Toes tap, soles crisscross, and ankles point and flex as pairs of dancers whirl across Arthur Murray’s smooth floors, where Sacramento-area hoofers have practiced steps since 1947. A specialized curriculum imparts basics such as foot position and rhythm, as well as how to lead, follow, or trot across the ceiling during beginning classes, and eventually ushers students into bronze, silver, and competition-level gold classes. Graceful instructors certified through the World Professional Dance Teachers Association lead classes and events such as private lessons, group formation practices, core rhythms reviews, and weekly practice parties.
Named the 6th Best Thing to Do in Stamford by Mofflymedia.com, Metropolitan Dance Center was born of the combined experience and brainpower of John DePalma and Steven Dougherty—a television personality featured on America’s Ballroom Challenge and a national dance champion, respectively—who’ve both garnered revered reputations within the ballroom community through their extensive knowledge and training. Backed by a team of certified instructors, they teach students to glide across the dance floor through their progressive curriculum, which is certified by the Dance Vision International Dance Association. They map students’ progress as they teach them to sway and samba through Latin and ballroom moves during group and private lessons. They also help couples to perfect their first newlywed spin across the dance floor with private wedding-dance lessons customized to the beat of the couple’s wedding song or first shared Morse-code message. The studio also hosts open practice sessions, allowing burgeoning dancers to mix and mingle, practicing their new dance moves to a variety of tunes in a comfortable environment.
Over the course of four weekly scheduled dance classes, Maria Fiora's energetic instructors guide kids through graceful, rhythmic steps while divulging the secrets of mastering specific dance techniques. Monday evening's hip-hop classes teach pupils ages 7–12 the art of popping and locking, providing an arsenal of new moves to flaunt at school dances and after-school detention. Geared for youngsters ages 4–6, Tuesday's creative-dance classes develop introductory skills and encourage originality with movements that exercise imaginations. Pint-size hoofers ages 7–13 can also learn the basics of ballroom and Latin dance on Wednesday, and kids ages 7–12 can perform cha-cha, salsa, and samba steps during Latin jazz lessons on Thursday.
Though dance styles have changed in the last four decades, Anchor Dance Studio's commitment to creating a fun atmosphere for all levels of dancers has not, which has gained them the 2011 Best of Weddings pick from local users of The Knot, and the 2012 Bergen Health & Life Magazine Readers' Choice award for Best Dance Lessons. The studio's highly trained full-time instructors—each of whom possess a background in classical dance, theater, and/or dance-related activities—keep the atmosphere lively and supportive as they guide couples, singles, and children through ballroom dance routines. Full-length mirrors surrounding both of the 4,000-square-foot studio's ballrooms reflect patrons sashaying, twirling, and hand-walking their way through the tango, waltz, hustle, and merengue, while Anchor's Friday- and Saturday-night dance parties encourage all to practice their newly learned steps in a casual atmosphere complete with snacks and drinks.
Queens Dance Project’s team of lifelong dancers coach students through workout-oriented dance routines. During the newly unveiled pole-dancing workshops, students build muscle tone while executing spins and tricks under dimmed studio lights. Alternatively, Zumba classes keep heart rates high by pairing hip-swiveling moves with Latin beats, and tap-dancing sessions teach students how to make it rain using just their shoes. Youngsters can also build coordination and confidence at the studio, which has an age-stratified youth program to nurture kids 2 years and older with mat work and musical instruments.
Having survived two kidney transplants, Denise Perry is no stranger to poor health—or to promoting good health. In 1994 in the basement of a local church, she and her first three dance pupils planted the seeds for Millennium Dance Company, a business that embodies wellness. Today, Denise and her staff of international instructors spur more than 200 students—from 3-year-olds to adults—toward a lifetime of agility, fitness, and creativity in adult and youth dance classes. The classes cater to pupils seeking active fun or professional careers, as Millennium's three dance companies have dominated stages at the Apollo Theater, the Bronx Museum, and the Waldorf Astoria hotel. Adult classes range from the sensual swivels of pole dancing to the flowing poses of yoga. For kids, African dance fosters a sense of community as students move as one to the beat of a live drummer. Modern dance presents the opportunity for pupils to choreograph their own routines based on their innermost emotions or the emotions their mood rings recommend. At year's end, all dancers unite for a community recital that showcases each athlete's talent.