What services does your business offer and what makes your business stand out from the competition?
We offer a variety of classes for all ages and all levels. Whether your child goes on to be professional dancers or not, we provide your dancer with important skills for character building, in and out of the dance classroom, enabling them to become a valuable member of society.
What's one tip for first-time students that will make them feel like veterans?
Go into class with an open mind and positive attitude! We are here to have fun and give you the best training possible! Because we are one big family, you'll have no trouble fitting in with our studio! You'll feel right at home instantly!
What was the inspiration to start or run this business?
Our inspiration was to get kids off the street an into the dance classroom. We wanted a place where kids could express themselves artistically. So often the performing arts gets pushed out of schools. We want to keep the arts alive and thriving!
What do you love most about your job?
Being able to come into a positive environment filled with love and encouragement everyday. What I love most about Downey Dance Center is feeling the encouragement not only from our dance families but our team and staff. Teamwork makes the dream work!
DanceGardenLA was created by Zahra Zuhair and Jenna, who have been belly-dancing since childhood and have travelled the world accumulating impressive professional credits. Zuhair has trained in traditional folk and Eastern styles?including Lebanese, Turkish, Moroccan, and Tunisian?but her specialty is Egyptian belly dance, which she has studied with some of the top teachers in Cairo. She has also been featured on the cover of Zaghareet! magazine and has written, directed, and choreographed productions as the artistic director of the Ghazella Dance Company and Po Na Na Dance Theatre. Jenna acted as a goddess bellydance instructor on an episode of Sex and the City, and made appearances on The Tyra Banks Show and the Food Network program Aarti Party. She has also starred in several bestselling belly dance-instruction DVDs.
Thanks to their more than 50 years of combined teaching experience and a talented team of award-winning instructors, the studio was named the Best Place to Learn the Art of Bellydancing in 2012 by LA Weekly. The site recommended instructor Princess Farhana's "witty repartee (and Hollywood rock-scene anecdotes)," and described the predominantly female atmosphere as "always encouraging, never intimidating." The crew teaches classes including classic and tribal-style bellydance, Bollywood, and cutting-edge dance fitness such as Bellyquake and E5.
Melanie Archer-Dieveney took to Pilates instantly. As a new mother, she turned to the core-strengthening art to reshape her body, and in the process, she began to reshape her life. She was amazed not only by the transformation in how her body looked, but how it felt—she noticed an increase in her energy and focus levels, a very welcome change to the single mom of a 2-year-old. After getting her certification, she decided to create a studio where like-minded exercisers could bring their children to class. Archer Pilates & Wellness originally opened as a small labor of love in her garage. But today, alongside a team of licensed and certified instructors, she leads her classes in a serene studio with gleaming wood floors and numerous props, including Pilates reformer machines, medicine balls, and four brass poles for pole-dancing classes. She has developed a hands-on, customized roster of Pilates classes, ensuring that each guest performs workouts specifically tailored to their goals, whether they want to lose inches or build core muscles strong enough to deflect a sprinting child less than 60 pounds. As adults lengthen and strengthen their muscles, the instructors also lead kids through Pilates and yoga classes, taking a more active and engaging approach to traditional childcare.
Leigh Ann grew up as an actor who was also an athlete: when she was offstage, the SoCal native dove off springboards, jumped hurdles, and fought on the kickboxing mat. Her knack for blending art with athleticism led her to found BeSpun at the age of 25. Leigh Ann competes and receives top honors at national and regional pole-dance competitions, and she has produced and starred in a series of instructional DVDs.
At BeSpun, Leigh Ann and her fellow instructors—also pole-dance champions—teach an extensive array of classes that include single-session and multiweek workshops. Classes’ subject matter ranges from beginners' lessons to master workshops led by special guests. There’s also open-studio time, as well as classes that focus on specialties such as spinning, stretching, and whittling your own pole from a chrome tree trunk. Instructors focus on leading thorough sessions that use time efficiently, and they’re committed to blending fitness with dance training. A lighthearted FAQ page answers potential questions while giving a taste of the studio’s fun-loving atmosphere.