Mr. Fred Astaire has long been regarded as one of the most talented and influential dancers of all time. So passionate was he in the art of dance, he set out to preserve his own style and technique – often a combination of tap, ballroom and ballet – by establishing a chain of studios under his name: Fred Astaire Dance Studios.
With the popularity of prime-time dance shows, such as Dancing with the Stars and So You Think You Can Dance, it should come as no surprise that some 71 years after the first studio opened on Park Avenue in New York City, the Fred Astaire Dance Studios franchise continues to thrive around the globe today, with over 140 locations in the U.S. alone.
What sets Fred Astaire apart from other studios? According to Sarah Petrov, Co-Studio Director of the franchise’s Phoenix North location, it is their unique structure of teaching. “We teach off of what we call our “Trophy System,” she explained. “We have a progressive syllabus that takes you from the beginning steps and up. Our dance programs are customized for each individual student depending upon their personal goals and what they would like to achieve.”
Enjoyed both socially and competitively around the world, ‘ballroom dance’ refers to formal dancing where couples move to the music using step-patterns and rhythms that match the tempo and character of a given song. The repertoire of ballroom dance styles taught by Fred Astaire Dance Studio’s Phoenix North location includes everything from Waltz, Tango, Rumba, Cha-cha and Foxtrot to Mamba, West Coast Swing, Country Waltz, the Hustle and many more. “The most popular requested classes are Salsa and Country Western.”
Not sure which dance style to try first? Petrov suggests choosing one that will help you meet your goal, whether that’s getting married, focusing on exercise and health, or looking to have a bit of fun. “A good starting point for new students who are not certain what they want is the Waltz, Foxtrot, Swing, Hustle and Rhumba. These are the most friendly dances when you first begin to learn to dance.”
Most classes are one-one-one with a private instructor, but students are highly encouraged to take part in group classes as well. In addition to lessons (each 40 minutes in length) the studio hosts hour-long Practice Parties, where students can apply what they are learning in their private and group classes in a fun, relaxing environment.
Petrov and her studio have received much positive praise about the ambience of the classes, the patience and friendliness of the instructors, and how everyone is made to feel like family. “We believe students have enjoyed their time with us very much.” For more information, visit fredastaire.com/phoenix-north.
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Written by: Jodi Hale
Jodi Hale is an editorial/advertising assistant for North Phoenix Family Magazine as well as a freelance writer. The mother of three amazing boys ages 7, 13 and 15, she has served on the PTA board of their school for more than 8 years, collaborating with teachers, staff and community members to enrich the learning environment for all students through positive and engaging educational experiences. Jodi also volunteers as a public relations specialist for Musical Theatre of Anthem, promoting the theater’s year-round training opportunities and award-winning productions. She loves reading, free-hand drawing, creating props, and raising her boys to embrace life with purpose.