Shaking your groove thing on a dark dance floor in the club can be intimidating enough, but in front of a mirror in a brightly lit dance studio? Well, that's a whole different ballgame. There are scores of places where you can learn to pas de chat and pirouette, but here are a few ideas about where to start your hunt for the perfect dance studio.
This Central Phoenix dance studio (you may have known it when it was called Al Morro or Silk Road) offers classes for everyone and in about a dozen different types of styles. The weekly schedule includes three levels of classes: community, fitness, and dance, which range from $10 to $17 for a drop-in class. It offers trendy dance/fitness classes like Zumba and Tone and Tease, as well as belly dance with renowned dancer Ave Fleming. For something more unique, you also can try out burlesque or pole dancing. Studios 806 has three studio spaces each with floating wood floors (no nasty shin splints!) and full-length mirrors so you can view just how much your technique is improving. Visit the Studios 806 website for a class schedule.
This Tempe dance center offers dance classes in a fun, social setting. For less than $10, you can drop in and take a class in Argentine Tango, West Coast Swing, or Salsa. They'll help you out if you're totally new to dance, a newb when it comes to the specific style, or if you've already taken a lesson or two. Because of the low price point and social atmosphere, this is the place to go if you want to get your feet wet in the dance world or just get moving with a group of friends. In addition to regular classes, the studio offers such summer specials as a month-long line dancing-course. All the classes are open to the public and don't require a partner. For more information or to view the class schedule visit the Paragon Dance Center website.
Classical ballet can be a little rigid for some -- and understandably so. Contemporary ballet, on the other hand, offers a blend of ballet technique and skill with less focus on the traditions of the good ol' Russian days. It's the style in which Terpsicore Dance Company specializes and, though it's a professional dance company, Terpsicore offers classes at its studios in downtown Phoenix. There are plans to add a beginning/intermediate ballet class soon, but the schedule is definitely geared toward those with experience in ballet, jazz, or modern dance, perhaps looking to get back into the scene after a few years hiatus. And the vaulted ceilings and exposed-brick studio will have you feeling like you're practicing at some fancy studio in NYC. For more information visit the Terpsicore Dance Company Studio website.
If you're looking for exotic (no, not erotic -- that's a different studio) dance styles then this is the place. The summer session starts on July 8 and runs through August 30 and offers classes in belly dancing, flamenco, and even a class focusing specifically on finger cymbals, or zils. Each of the classes includes a warmup, drills, and dance combinations, meaning you'll get to work on your technique as well as let your creative juices flow during the choreography section. Drop-in classes cost $15 each, though you can also buy a class card if you're planning on coming back for more. Classes are open to those ages 13 and up only. For more information, the class schedule or to purchase a class card visit the Plaza de Anaya website.
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Speaking of exotic dance, those who see dance as a way to avoid the gym and get sexy for summer will appreciate the options available at Express MiE Fitness Studio. The classes are femme-focused and all about getting fit, though you don't have to be especially in shape to get started. There are classes such as Pole~ah~Tease, Sultryoga, and Salsa-Licious that will make Zumba look like your grandma's fitness class. The class schedule changes every six weeks, so you'll never get bored. You can sign up for a session and show up for class once a week, or go with a membership that allows for a certain number of classes a month. There are a few specials available now, including a $21 unlimited week of classes for newbies. For more information, the current schedule, or to sign up visit the Express MiE website.