Originally posted on Be Well Philly @ Philadelphia Magazine, here.
You don’t have to be a prima-ballerina get your dance on. Believe it or not, our city has a diverse slew of celebrated—and sometimes wacky—dance studios, and they’re improving Philadelphians’ health one choreographed step at a time.
Not only does dancing strengthen bones and muscles, improve posture and balance, and provide the obvious cardiovascular benefits that most forms of exercise do, it also can boost yourbrain power. Yup, that Latin dance class you’ve been dying to take can actually increase your memory skills by requiring you to remember tricky steps and sequences.
Don’t be scared—several classes are beginner friendly. So instead of dancing in front of your bedroom mirror, why not check out one of Philly’s fabulous dance schools? Here are nine of our favorites.
Koresh School of Dance
2020 Chestnut Street, 215-751-0959.
Whether you’re a seasoned ballet dancer or just testing out your hip-hop moves, there’s a class for you at Koresh. You might even be brave enough to take a modern-jazz class with the company’s renowned artistic director Ronen Koresh, but be warned: his choreography is killer.
Cost: $15 for a single class, $140 for a 10 class card, $260 for a 20 class card.
Symmetry Dance Wellness
1923 Chestnut Street, Third Floor, 267-269-5986.
Conquer your fouette turns or tone up before the holiday-cookie season—either way, ballet-focused Symmetry Dance Wellness has you covered. Make sure to check out their Bale’ates class if you’re a Pilates fanatic.
Cost: $15 for a single class, $140 for a 10 class card, $260 for a 20 class card, $360 for a 30 class card
The Academy of Social Dance
2009 Sansom Street, 215-561-0323.
From swing to the Argentine tango, the Academy’s private and group lessons will get you ready for your most important social occasions. Plus, you might be lucky enough to meet owner and director Charles Danza, who recently starred in the Italian production of Dancing with the Stars. Beginners welcome.
Cost: No set prices, but there specialized packages for individuals. Call for details.
Society Hill Dance Academy
409 S. Second Street, 215-574-3574.
For the best of ballroom dancing, take one of SHDA’s several open classes. They hold a Friday night dance party, so you can show off your new moves. Who knows? You might even meet a new dancing partner.
Cost: $15 for a single class, $150 for a 10 class card, $250 for a 20 class card, $400 for a 40 class card.
Philly Dance Fitness
Locations vary, 215-645-2717.
Workout fanatics, step off the treadmill and opt for a dance class to work up a sweat instead. Strip tease aerobics, PiYo—a combination of Pilates, yoga and dance—and Jewmba, a spin on Israeli folk dancing, are just a few of unique options.
Cost: $10 for a single class, $40 for a 5 class card, $70 for a 10 class card.
Master Jay Moves Dance Studio
1807 Chestnut Street, 215-564-2575.
Maybe you’ve heard of his pole dance classes, but Master Jay also offers salsa, zumba, and even a roller skate dance class. Knee pads anyone? If you’re not exactly a professional dancer, don’t fret. The classes are meant to entertain, emphasizing fun over form.
When: Different classes offered Monday through Thursday.
Cost: Prices range depending on class. $15 for salsa, $12 for roller skate dance, $15 for men’s lead and lifts, $10 for zumba.
1831 Brandywine Street, 215-665-1991.
Want to try something sensual while working out your abs? Check out Studio 1831 where instructors focus on the popular cabaret and Egyptian-style belly dance. You might even shimmy and shake your way up to their advanced classes. Tip: wear comfortable clothing.
Cost: $12 for a single class, $100 for a 10 class card, $180 for a 20 class card.
Take the Lead Ballroom & Latin Dance Studio
4701 Pine Street, 215-471-3215.
They’re the experts on all-things Latin. Check out their BYOB salsa parties, which include a free beginner lesson, every second and fourth Friday of the month. With a $5 cover and the opportunity to meet a new dancing partner, it’s a steal.
Cost: $75 for a six-week session.
4522 Baltimore Avenue, 215-387-3434.
They may specialize in yoga, but their Sunday afternoon African dance class complemented with live drumming is worth a trip to West Philly. They’ll even mix in a lesson about African culture from Guinea Bissau with your workout.
Cost: $10 for a single class, $45 for one month of unlimited classes, $95 for a 10-class card.