Classically trained and culturally diverse, Ballethnic Dance Company blends traditional ballet with the artistic influences of ethnic cultures. Its classes include ballet at all levels, hip hop, and jazz, along with more unique offerings such as African and ballethnicize, an original dance style developed by cofounder Waverly Lucas.
No one has ever trained for the lead in Swan Lake just to tighten their abs, but dancers, choreographers, and Atlanta Zumba Dance instructors Faaridah and Nahari both agree that it comes with the territory. That’s why they’ve channeled their experiences in the performing arts into a platform for dance-based fitness instruction. Faaridah was particularly drawn to Zumba because of her Caribbean and Hispanic heritage, and Nahari has been a student of Middle Eastern dances for nearly a decade, so their curriculum of Zumba and belly dancing was a natural fit.
Students can shed pounds and throw on their shiniest layer of sweat during Zumba classes, a 60-minute dance-based aerobic workout with easy-to-follow choreography performed to a soundtrack of Latin rhythms. The dance moves are an amalgam of styles that includes elements of salsa, cha-cha, merengue, flamenco, and tango. Classes at Atlanta Zumba Dance always begin with a warm-up, followed by intervals of faster and slower tempos. Visits conclude with a cool-down and stretch session. In addition to group classes, patrons may rent the studio for a private-lesson Zumba party or to spin around in an office chair without anyone telling them that they’ll get sick.
Jose Maldonado has been moved by the lively rhythms and smooth horns of Latin music as long as he can remember, swaying his body with the steps of Afro-Cuban, salsa, and cha-cha styles. The Puerto Rico native has been performing, choreographing, and teaching dance since 1999, appearing on stages and film sets across globe and working alongside stars such Oscar D'León, Grupo Niche, and The Black Eyed Peas. In 2004, Jose founded PasoFino Dance Studio, where he shares his passion for dance and years of expertise with aspiring students.
In his spacious studio, Jose and his staff of experienced dance instructors conduct private and group sessions in a variety of styles including salsa, mambo, cha-cha, and kizomba dancing. They work with students of all experience levels, guiding them through spins, body movements, and footwork at a comfortable pace. The dedicated dancers also choreograph, teach, and perform for special events—ideal for those who’d like to tango at their wedding or break into a lively mambo number during their next company financial-earnings presentation.
Dance 411 Studios' instructors pause from stints as featured dancers in music videos, choreographers for award shows, and appearing on “So You Think You Can Dance” to helm the studio’s dance classes. The studio hosts a full range of traditional youth dance courses, with styles ranging from ballet and tap to hip-hop and breakdance. Instructors also offer these and other styles to adults with the Dimensions program, which teaches dance and fitness fundamentals through classes including Zumba, Adult Hip-Hop, Jazz, and Contemporary. The studio plays host to the Ladies Liberation program, with classes targeted toward adult female students, helping women get in shape and build confidence while accessing their sensual sides. Kids as young as 18 months can also develop social, mental, and motor skills during My First Step child development sessions.
When Manga African Dance gets going, the whole room turns into a swirl of sound and color. Ramatu Afegbua-Sabbatt founded the dance troupe in 1990 to share her passion for indigenous African culture. She hasn't had a difficult time turning people on to high-energy dance routines that incorporate drums, colorful clothing, and songs from across the African continent. While performing at schools and community organizations, the group teaches audiences about everything from the ceremonial music of Guinea to the rhythmic footwork of Nigeria. In addition to these performances, they host dance and drum classes for students of all ages and foot sizes.
Ten career women step into their hot shorts, high heels, and alter egos when teaching at Vertical Joe's. They go by monikers such as The Headliner and Sexy Locs, teaching pole dancing, twerking, Pilates, and cardio kick classes all while encouraging students to jettison their inhibitions. To create a comfortable atmosphere, the studio hosts groups of bachelorette partiers or girls-night-outers for private sessions that teach the techniques behind pole dancing, lap dancing, and sexy tax prep. Vertical Joe's brand of flirty fun has even made guest appearances on The Real Housewives of Atlanta and Braxton Family Values.