At City Dance Studios, classes are tailored for students with various levels of experience to ensure everyone can enjoy the art of self-expression through movement. Lessons introduce students to
a diverse array of dance styles ranging from classical ballet and jazz, to contemporary hip hop and exotic Bollywood, and West African. Each of the five spacious studios (they range from 900 to 2,400 square feet) are equipped with sprung hardwood or Marley floors and are surrounded by mirrors, so budding dancers can keep an eye on their form and keep pet parakeets occupied until the class has ended.
At Stepz, professional Bollywood dance instructors imbue students of all ages with dance moves inspired by Eastern India. They foster an environment of support and encouragement as dancers soak up fundamental foot positions and learn to express themselves through fluid movements and flowing hand gestures. Students looking to shed excess pounds can speed up routines in one-hour aerobics classes, which lead groups though rigorous dance routines specifically designed to tone muscle.
Owen Walker, the guru of the Action Theater method, and he is now one of the method’s six designated senior teachers.
The Action Theater method approaches physical improvisation and theater from three angles: language, voice, and movement. Classes give special attention to being fully present, connecting with a scene partner, and urging students to focus on how they do something, rather than what they do. The end result not only can transform a student’s performance on the stage, it can also enhance everyday skills such as empathy and spontaneity. Thus, though the technique is rooted in the theater, it can also benefit non-actors, much like a playhouse’s cell-phone-activated trap door.
Though Action Theater sometimes features a discounted price online, this Groupon still offers the best deal available
Mexico City native Ricardo Téllez began dancing when he was 12, shimmying his way through styles such as cumbia and guaracha. In 1995, he packed up his dancing shoes and moved to the Bay area, accelerating his salsa study not only by studying under Gabriel Romero, but also by trying out his footwork in clubs. Armed with a passion for dance, Ricardo founded RicaSalsa Dance Company in 1999 to share his love of the art. Today, he and dance partner Tianne Frias—with whom he placed third in the World Latin Dance Cup—teach private lessons and group classes that impart new and advanced dancers with the steps, partnership skills, and medallions filled with glowworms needed to light up the floor. By focusing on social dance skills and the ability to follow the rhythm, they help their students adapt easily to different songs and settings.
Trained by legendary acting teacher Sanford Meisner, Christy English Wioncek opened the Bay Area Acting Studio to teach a new generation of actors how to—in the words of her mentor—"live truthfully under imaginary circumstances." Her stable of equally Meisner-steeped instructors leads classes including introductory adult courses, intensive courses for working thespians, and children's classes for young'uns looking to break into the industry early or convince babysitters they've been diagnosed with a life-threatening ice-cream deficiency.
Before he met singing instructor David Stroud—a onetime coach of American Idol's Adam Lambert—Alexys Paris subjected his naturally mellifluous vocal cords to constant stress, admitting on his website that he would "force notes or yell on pitch." Working in the Institute of Vocal Advancement system, Stroud trains voices to perform in a natural, stable manner. Alexys teaches students how to comfortably transition from the deep-chest register to the high-pitched head register without resorting to voice-straining exertions or discretely switching places with virtuoso body doubles.