When lifelong dancer Mary Rose Field discovered Zumba, she was an immediate convert. After earning her Zumba certification, she founded Studio Z Fitness and spread the fitness craze at a zealous pace, outgrowing her first studio in only two months. Today, she oversees two studios—Studio Z Fitness and Studio Z Fitness II—and grants members unfettered access to both locations.
On a daily basis, Mary and the studio's teaching team guide students through various types of Zumba workouts. Although sessions vary by style and instructor, they all involve fun, easy-to-follow dance moves set to the rhythm of Latin-inspired music. For two years running, Studio Z Fitness has topped the New Haven Readers' Poll as the best place to take Zumba and the worst place to build a house of cards.
Brass City Ballet's classes translate emotions into movement. The dance classes take all forms including graceful ballet for students of all ages, energetic modern and jazz, and teen and adult yoga to get bodies and minds balanced. Dance Discovery classes teach kids aged 3–5 how to move to music and Booiaka card dance fitness helps build up a sweat and work off excess weight.
At Art on Fire, a large selection of unfired pottery awaits. Customers—either there for a party or a walk-in—can browse a variety of pieces, ranging from ornaments, to jars, to mugs, before selecting one to make their own. Then, they'll adorn the piece with myriad colors, adding life with painted hues. In addition to birthday parties and events for children, the studio also offers adult-appropriate events such as ladies' night, with catering available and a BYOB policy.
A performance-dance school established in 2006, Velocity Dance Works educates students ranging from toddler through adult on the style of more than 20 different dances. The school's seasoned instructors maintain an energized, encouragement-packed environment that caters to both serious students looking to develop their technique as well as casual students in search of a new hobby that exercises both the body and the mind.
Dancing and parties go hand in hand, and at Studio 44 Dance and Fitness, that’s especially true. Inside the 2,100-square-foot downtown Westport studio, artistic director Sue Benton and her team of instructors, many of whom are professional dancers, lead students of all fitness levels through easy-to-follow dance and strength-training classes. During Dance 44 sessions, students move to swing, rock-n-roll, and R&B. Unique classes include Grooveology, which gets bodies moving and shaking during easy-to-follow routines that blend techniques from street jazz, hip-hop, modern, and lyrical dance.
And while Sue heads up the dance side of Studio 44, owner Candace McCarthy helms the events side, which transforms the modern studio into an elegant space for birthdays, weddings, and creative endeavors such as photo shoots and fashion shows. With years of event-planning experience under her party hat, Candace is on hand to assist with event preparations including coordinating floral arrangements, developing creative themes, and scheduling catering services. During these soirees, guests can take advantage of Studio 44’s 1,500-square-foot common area, as well as the spacious studio’s stereo system and dance floor.
Energetic instructors at Work It lead cardio, dance, and fitness classes seven days a week, cycling through yoga poses and spinning around poles in workouts that avoid gym monotony. Cadres of exercisers move to blood-pumping Latin–based choreography in cardio-heavy Zumba courses ($18/class), where alternating quick and slow tempos create a temporal distortion field previously accessible only to the funkiest physicists. Introductory pole-dancing courses ($25/class) let practitioners build strength and confidence as they twirl aerobically around metallic dance partners who never slip or insist on solo river-dancing routines.