Over careers spanning 25 years and 15 pairs of spontaneously combusted shoes between the two of them, Academy of Ballroom Dance instructors Jim and Jenell Maranto have chalked up a long list of professional-dancing and dance-instruction achievements. The pair entered the dance world from backgrounds as high-level college athletes, and after meeting and teaming up, they whirled through professional dance competitions, winning every major Open Professional Smooth contest in the United States and two consecutive US American Smooth Championships in 1993 and 1994. More recently, the couple has taken to training new generations of winning dancers, including several US Pro-Am and Amateur champions, and both have won teaching awards for their efforts and their ability to explain high-level physics while foxtrotting. Any level of dancer may receive private instruction from Jim or Jenell in any of 26 styles of dance.
Amanda Martin had her choice of career tracks—the multitalented entrepreneur excels in acting, dancing, modeling, archery, and gymnastics. To take full advantage of her range of skills, she decided to blend her interests into one business, and Beauty and the Ballroom was born. Here, Amanda taps into her background in samba, tango, waltz, and swing to lead classes that impart dance techniques while boosting the self-confidence and self-expression of students of all ages.
For the beauty side of Beauty and the Ballroom, Amanda cleanses skin with organic facials, melts away inches with body wraps, and enhances eyes with eyelash extensions. She also coaxes out inner beauty during hypnotherapy sessions that tackle everything from stage fright to fear of flying over stages full of people with stage fright.
Studio manager, instructor, and musician Michael Jewell lives through rhythm. He sought ballroom dance as another means to express himself through music, and throughout more than a decade of mastering fancy footwork, he’s come to truly believe that anyone can learn to dance. That’s why he and his team of instructors welcome singles and couples of any experience level to their slate-blue studio's gleaming floors. They teach swing, latin, ballroom, and two-step styles in group and private lessons, and host biweekly social parties, during which students can show off their newly acquired grooves while mingling with other dancers. The instructors also take their students on group trips and “Out On The Towns,” where they can practice their moves in public settings, rather than putting on more performances in their bedrooms for audiences of teddy bears.
Uniting diverse backgrounds in dance techniques such as jazz, hip-hop, ballet, and professional cheerleading, the seasoned instructors at Dance Starz AZ break down elegant ballroom and Latin dance moves for students of all ages. The team adeptly shepherds pupils through the intricate steps and sequin glimmers of the waltz, paso doble, swing, and tango. They also cultivate custom romantic dance routines for couples, small groups, and salty seafaring crews during private lessons, and pilot a roster of large group classes that rotates monthly. Though each dance method proffers active exercise, Dance Starz AZ further refines fitness with Zumba and yoga sessions.
The Pure Barre program promises that within one 55-minute class, participants achieve a total workout targeted at the areas of the body women struggle with most: bottom, hips, thighs, abs and arms. Gym owners and sisters Marirose and Veronica Weyand are trained sports and health professionals, so they focus on low-impact exercise, protecting joints by avoiding any bouncing or jumping. A post-workout stretch session helps keep muscles long and lean, while elements of yoga and meditation sprinkled throughout the session keep minds equally as active. Even the Pure Barre Phoenix setting is Zen-like, with a stainless steel and sleek wood entryway, and minimalist workout space that includes plenty of mirrors and – of course – ballet barres.
Led by a team of knowledgeable, passionate, and friendly dancers, instructors, and trainers, Evolve Dance & Fitness' classes are designed to inspire. Each of the sessions is not only meant to get participants moving, but also to get them having fun while fitting in a high-octane workout that increases the heart rate. Likewise, classes specifically designed for fitness focus on everything from yoga to Barre method, which draws upon ballet-informed techniques to tone the core while having a solid excuse to wear a unitard.