Dusty Solis took her first dance step at the age of two, not so very long after her first real step. She never looked back. She danced through her entire school education, winning awards in cheerleading, ballroom, and Latin dancing. Her career made her a lifelong believer in the power of fitness and the beauty of dance, ideas which she now shares with younger generations through her school, Pure Movement Dance and Fitness.
Dusty and her team of eight instructors teach dance to students ages two and up. They start tykes off with short classes to teach rhythm and coordination, before delving into specific styles such as ballet, jazz, or tap. Ultimately, they help prepare young dancers for competition, or at least arm adults with moves to blend in at a party or when they fall onto the stage at a musical.
While dancers work in the studios, family members can wait in the lobby, observing all the action on flat screen televisions synched with cameras in each studio. They can even purchase gifts to give each tiny dancer after class from the in-studio boutique, tucked neatly into a corner of the 8,800-square-foot facility.
Cathy Moses Baldasserini studied dance and therapy and received full scholarships to New York dance conservatories such as Martha Graham and Alvin Ailey. She began practicing Pilates as a way to hone and refine her body, the instrument of her self-expression. Now, she teaches it full time at her fitness-dedicated studio, Pilates for Life.
Joined by nine other teachers, Cathy reforms students' bodies with both basic and machine-assisted Pilates, yoga, kettlebells, and tai chi classes. She uses Pilates for its renowned ability to strengthen the site of injuries or chronic pain and to provide conditioning for weak joints, problem backs, and those who have osteoporosis. She also implements devices such as reformers—a system of pulleys and sliding platforms that enhance Pilates's classic horizontal exercises—and towers, which incorporate the natural resistance of gravity into Pilates movements.
Allen Yoga Center founder and certified instructor Brook Cheatham believes that "Yoga is more than an exercise. It gets into you at the very core of your being … your emotional baggage is stripped away along with your ego.” After years spent as an instructor at various studios, Brook decided to open her own space, where students can reflect on themselves while cultivating their physical and mental well being. The mocha-stained hardwood floors complement the yoga center's warm plum-and-gold walls, which are intentionally bare, hosting only a single portrait of a multilimbed deity, Gary the Octopus. Brook leads classes ranging in intensity from the cardiovascular-stimulating Vinyasa to the restorative and meditative Hatha. Regular workshops welcome guest instructors to educate students on a variety of wellness topics, and the teacher-training program grants knowledge to those who wish to someday lead their own classes.:m]]
After a car crash at the age of 16, Jamie Davis’s life was a maze of hospital visits, surgeries, cortisone shots, and perpetual discomfort. She slowly began augmenting her treatment with yoga, and today she says she is free of pain and serving as one of many talented instructors at Bikram Yoga Richardson.
The yogis lead 90-minute workouts in a room warmed to 104 degrees, the optimal temperature for flushing toxins, performing deep stretches safely, and getting arctic seals to confess to crimes. Teachers demonstrate two breathing techniques and 26 Hatha yoga postures for pupils of all ability levels, helping them firm and trim physiques. Transformations get underway in a spacious yoga area next to changing rooms with showers, storage cubbies, and a lobby that, much like a grassy highway median, is designed for lounging.
As the sun sets over The Mat Yoga Studio, practitioners can step inside to the new, spacious studio where they can enjoy the renowned Karma Yoga Happy Hour, a free quarterly event open to the entire community features a live DJ spinning a yoga-friendly playlist on his mixing board. Each happy hour brings newcomers and seasoned vets together, with a local teacher leading lessons and a donated spread of food and wine building community camaraderie.
Outside the happy hours, the studio continues the good vibrations with classes held seven days a week, a dedication to tranquility which earned it a mention from The Richardson Award Program’s Best of Richardson in 2012. Typically open to all skill levels, some sessions focus on the graceful sequences of Vinyasa Flow; others center on deep stretching or meditation, which clears the mind more safely than holding a vacuum cleaner up to your ear. Dedicated practitioners can further hone their craft in Advanced Yoga Studies sessions, which together comprise a full, 200-hour yoga teacher training course.