Versed in a wide variety of dance styles, Bailando Latin Dance Company's seasoned gyrators share their knowledge of footwork and technique with students between performances, encouraging pupils to socialize while honing their craft. Group and private lessons in the company's trio of studios imbue attendees with the improvised walks and figure-eight step of Argentine tango, salsa's turn patterns, and the sultry hip motions of bachata, a style widely practiced in the Dominican Republic. The company also lends its boogieing craft to outreach programs, public demonstrations, and charity events.
Director Tom Choudoir, a competitive dancer and University of Wisconsin-Madison mini-course instructor, draws students into both the stately and fiery sides of the ballroom tradition at Dancesport of Madison. During beginner classes, students learn how to move with a partner and distinguish a song’s beat from the sound of a truck backing up, and feet gain the confidence to waltz, tango, and perform more advanced moves in intermediate classes. Zumba fitness parties add cardio to dance steps, melting calories with Latin-inspired shimmies and lively international music.
A Zumba instructor, certified personal trainer, and dancer since he was 7 years old, FitNice owner Paul Schneider helps students tone their bodies with a variety of Zumba classes. His Zumba fitness classes help adults shed pounds as they use Latin-inspired dance moves to burn calories, whereas Aqua Zumba classes transfer the same properties to the pool for an intense and therapeutic aqua fitness workout. Paul also leads Zumbatomic classes for kids, yoga, and aqua yoga.
Inspired by watching her sister turning and leaping in ballet class, Harley Atkinson began dancing at the age of 3. Throughout her life, she has gained a strong groundwork for dance, performing at the prestigious Makaroff School of Ballet and moving on to study contemporary and modern dance in college. Now a teacher at her own studio, she believes that everyone can learn to dance. She aims to free her students of their self-imposed limitations, motivating them to move their bodies to the music and gain confidence in their own styles. Following in a tradition she learned from her parents, Harley also offers reiki sessions for people who want to relax sans toe tapping.
The studio’s light and airy atmosphere contributes to the freedom of leaping as high as your body will allow. Upbeat music plays over the speaker system, a cushioned wooden floor prevents injuries, and floor-to-ceiling mirrors wrap around the walls to expose any tap-dancing shadow people.
At The Right Step, instructors Dakota Windancer and Gwen Engel school steppers of all levels during private and group dance lessons. Combined, Dakota and Gwen boast nearly a half-century's worth of dancing and training experience, and over that time, they've developed their own unique curriculum for teaching others how to move. The pair does so atop The Right Step's 3,000-square-foot dance floor, where they guide students during beginner through intermediate sessions, as well as specialty styles including ballroom and Latin.
Couples easily chat while swaying slowly through fox trots before the long mirror at Social Life Dance Center, or become a whirlwind of limbs led along by salsa music. The sleepy cry of steel guitars fills the studio during two-step lessons, and cha-cha, rumba, and a host of other Latin dances torch calories and forge new friendships in group lessons. During private lessons, instructors slowly adjust the footwork of pupils to prepare them for wedding dances, competitions, or new jobs stomping all the bubble wrap at an office.