Broadway Dance Center
221 West 57th Street
A short walk north of the illuminated Fosse marquee, Chet Walker, choreographer of the Broadway hit, teaches musical-theater classes (a ten-class card is $115) at the Broadway Dance Center to everyone from Saturday Night Fever stars to those who fantasized about being them but ended up in law school instead. “It’s a place to release what you can’t maybe do in your normal job, but is still a part of your spirit,” Walker says. Professionals, celebrities trying to polish their moves – including regular Brooke Shields – and novices can choose from 50 different classes per day in all dance disciplines, including ballet, tap, hip-hop (taught by ‘N Sync, Britney Spears, and Spice Girls choreographer Darrin Henson), jazz, and musical theater. “It’s structured,” says Walker, “but you can add so much of yourself and even reinvent who you are.”
Heading south on Broadway, the lights dim to a tranquil glow inside the serene Dance Space Center, where the foremost choreographers of the postmodern dance world – among them, David Dorfman, Wally Cardona, and Ron Brown – teach master classes to professionals as well as beginners wanting to “find their center” ($105 for a ten-class card). Condition your body and mind in injury-sensitive classes, Simonson jazz technique, six approaches to yoga, and a Pilates-based tone-and-stretch class. Nonprofessionals even have opportunities to perform in Dance Space’s bi-monthly Works in Progress, Raw Material Showcase for Emerging Artists, and New York Summer Dance Intensive.
Djoniba Dance and Drum Centre
37 East 18th street
Whether you’re hopping to the quick-paced drumming in Senegalese dance or undulating your torso to the Caribic sounds of Haitian folkloric music, your heart (and pelvis) will get one of the best workouts it’s ever had at Djoniba Dance and Drum Centre. As soon as the elevator doors open, the live drumming transports you to early Cuba, Haiti, Western Africa, and Brazil through various levels of dance and drumming classes for adults and children from 3 to 16 ($100 for a ten-class card). Even Julia Roberts and Sex and the City’s Kim Cattrall make regular appearances. The center also hosts an annual two-week trip to Senegal in July, where you can continue your dance-and-drumming training and relax on white-sand beaches in the place where it all began.
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