"No matter what you do with your dancing always be sure of one thing," writes Jersey Dance owner Jennifer in her dance blog. "The process of learning to dance should be the most enjoyable part." The longtime competitive dancer lives and teaches by that principle, as does her team of instructors. Their nonjudgmental vibe pervades the studio, creating a space where soonlyweds can get help choreographing their wedding dance from an encouraging professional. Likewise, groups of beginners can experience the thrill of learning the steps they see on dance-competition shows while skipping the part where they're given scores and spanked by the ghost of Fred Astaire. One-on-one sessions, meanwhile, offer private pointers on the complexities of the quickstep, the dagger-sharp footwork of Argentine tango, or enough floor space to safely attempt West Coast swing at its jitterbuggiest. Whatever is being taught that week, Jennifer and Co. tailor in-studio socials that give dancers a party setting to show off everything they've learned.
Shiny silver poles serve as each student's dance partner during Awakenings' pole dance fitness classes, which are designed to, "awaken your inner goddess". But the classes aren't just about learning the art of seduction. By mastering graceful moves on the stationary apparatus, students get a full-body workout that combines elements of yoga, aerobics, dance, and strength training. Aerial arts classes deliver similar benefits, but instead of using a pole, students lift off the ground with
the help of silks and aerial hoops that allow them to perform yoga poses and inversions in the air. But Awakenings also has classes for those who prefer to keep their feet on solid ground?burlesque classes, for example, teach the age-old art of the tease, and incorporate the use of traditional props such as chairs, boas, and Nixon masks.
Grandmaster Dennis Tosten founded the first Amerikick in 1967 and has since taught several champion fighters, police officers, and everyday students karate and self-defense. Today, the lauded chain teaches fitness classes inspired by martial arts, including cardio kickboxing in six states. Each location upholds a curriculum that blends Chinese and Japanese martial-arts styles—including kenpo and tae kwon do—with modern self-defense strategies, further updating traditional practices by eschewing uniforms and belts for casual workout gear. Having attained certification in teaching kickboxing from the National Association of Professional Martial Artists, Amerikick's seasoned instructors also each possess black belts in karate, a rank as difficult to attain as the snake charmer's belt of live cobras.
Instructors teach out of a local indoor gun range.
Rifles and handgun rentals are available for students who don't own their own firearms.
The instructors at Philly Gun Teacher LLC are like extremely friendly gatekeepers. They train beginners in the use of handguns, rifles, and shotguns?and before students can move on to the next level, the instructors must deem them ready in key areas, such as safety, storage, and handling. From there, classes move on to topics such as tactical shooting.
The team at Philly Gun Teacher LLC consists of NRA instructors and a martial-arts instructor with a fourth-degree black belt.
Located in Chinatown, Philadelphia Wing Chun Kung Fu schools students in wing chun—a 300-year-old martial-arts system. Students learn five ways to defeat an enemy: striking, kicking, joint locking, throwing, and through the use of weapons. Unlike other martial-arts forms, wing chun emphasizes blocking and attacking all in the same movement. It's a unique style of self-defense, and one that has been mastered and shared by the staff at Philadelphia Wing Chun Kung Fu since 2007.