In January 2012, Amanda Gonzales and Edgar Mendez—a former principal dancer and choreographer for the Los Rumberos dance company—founded Madison Dance Studio to share their love of rhythmic movement with all ages. The duo and their team of talented instructors lead classes, including salsa and hip-hop, atop of a wood floor illuminated by floating party lights. In addition to helming belly-dance sessions, they channel Latin-inspired dance moves and global party beats in Zumba fitness classes. Amanda encourages ladies to confidently express themselves on club dance floors during her signature Hip Hop in Heels class.
After all hips have been shimmied and snaked according to U.S. government standards, students and instructors can rest atop the cushy sectional sofa while admiring the sky-blue chevron murals, which add a modern vibe to the room's exposed brick.
At Salsa Memphis, renowned dancer and choreographer Edgar "TunTun" Mendez leads each lesson, deploying skills he attained through years of dancing as a professional, performing onstage with Tito Puente and onscreen for Marc Anthony, as well as in salsa congresses and competitions. Within his airy, yellow-walled studio, Mendez shows students of all ages and ability levels how to perform a range of fast-paced, seductive salsa moves, beginning with basic steps, right and left turns, and cross-body leads. Intermediate and advanced lessons are designed for those ready to move on to more complex combinations, such as how to dip a partner in an airplane aisle. A private lesson bestows fledgling dancers with focused one-on-one time with the salsa professor for quicker learning and personalized tips. Lessons can be taken at the student's convenience, allowing dancers to learn on their own time as opposed to adhering to a weekly schedule.
What services does your business offer and what makes your business stand out from the competition?
We have been teaching dance for 13 years! We have smaller classes where students get more individualized attention. Students learn the art of dance, but have fun too!
What's one tip for first-time students that will make them feel like veterans?
Come in for classes with a great attitude and ready to dance and let us handle the rest!
What was the inspiration to start or run this business?
It was really a call to action after the death of my dance mentor, Carlton Johnson.
What do you love most about your job?
_The students of course! Its great seeing them grasp concepts in dance through out the course of a year.
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Experienced photo gurus Doug Box and Randy Kerr impart practical photo skills to curious shutterbugs during engaging seminars that have appeared across the States and in eight countries abroad. Doug Box, author of myriad photography-technique books, is one of 13 Kodak mentors and is the Executive Director of the Texas Professional Photographers Association. His co-teacher, Randy Kerr, heads World Photographic, which uses photography as a vehicle for illuminating humanitarian and environmental topics. Both men have been teaching photography classes for years and help amateurs take photos that capture piercing looks, toothy smiles, and elusive dodo sightings.
The instructors at Cat's Ballroom teach the art of movement—from ballroom dancing to self-defense. During group and private ballroom lessons, they facilitate creative expression though graceful steps, turns, and dips. On the first Saturday of each month practice parties let students put their new skills and homemade papier mâché shoes to the test on the dance floor. Zumba fitness classes fuse Latin-inspired moves such as salsa and samba with energetic beats for a dance-party inspired workout. Self-defense classes round out the studio's offerings, teaching how to defend against attackers with techniques ranging from basic punches and kicks to quick catapult loading.