Becoming fit, strong and flexible doesn’t have to be a chore, or a bore. And to help you along your journey towards health while having the time of your life, Benn van der Westhuizen has rounded up a few of Pretoria’s most enjoyable dance studios, all of which offer classes that are significantly beneficial to the overall well-being of the mind and body.
The low-down: BodyMind studios combines pole dancing with tricks, spins and conditioning to create a unique experience for women to get fit while having fun and feeling sexy. Pole dancing by nature is a form of dance, and incorporates the whole body in a flowing, female movement. But because the whole body is held up with hands, legs or other body parts, it’s an extremely effective way of building muscles fast and enabling weight loss.
At BodyMind Studios, all ages, sizes and fitness levels are welcome. And everything learnt in each lesson is combined into a routine, helping to build endurance and cash in some points for cardio.
Location: 93 Glen Village North Shopping Centre, cnr Solomon Mahlangu & Olympus Drive, Faerie Glen, Pretoria
Classes: Pole (all levels), Beginner Pole, Intermediate Pole, Express Abs
Times: Mondays to Thursdays and Saturdays, anywhere from 8.15am to 6.30pm
Specials: BodyMind is running a promotion on class vouchers for the winter months (May to July). Pay R750 for 8 classes (+ get 2 free) – valid for 3 months from date of purchase. Or R1500 for 16 classes (+ get 4 free) – valid for 6 months from date of purchase.
Up-coming events: BodyMind recently hosted a UV pole party, and another one will be coming up soon. Contact them for details.
The low-down: A studio for women over 30, Dancing Divas teaches classes in a variety of styles drawing from ballroom, Latin, Jazz, line dancing, and fusion dance choreographies. Their premise is to bring out the ‘Diva’ in ladies by offering a comfortable, non-competitive space to engage their bodies with women close in age. Progressive dance classes are also offered for students who are looking to improve their skills without the pressure of exams or tests.
Moms and daughters are also welcome to attend, and the studio caters for women in their 60s and 70s with the Golden Girls Club. Classes are usually kept small – between 3 and 10 students – so that instructors can better get to know and work with the ladies to improve dance skills, confidence, coordination and flexibility. On occasion, Dancing Divas also run workshops focusing on jazz, tango, belly dance and hiphop.
Location: Upper Level 4, Atterbury Blvd, cnr Manitoba & Atterbury Rd, Faerie Glen | cnr Veronica & Jeugd Rd, Montana | Irene Village Hall, 1 Pioneer Rd, Irene, Centurion
Classes: Beginners, Advanced, Golden Girls, Jazz, Hip Hop
Times: Evening classes happen during the week from Monday to Thursday, with morning classes at selected studios.
What to wear: Put on gym clothes or a t-shirt and leggings with split-sole trainers. More advanced dancers will wear ballroom heels or jazz shoes depending on the class, but beginners generally wear takkies or rubber-soled shoes until deciding to invest in proper dance shoes.
Specials: Dancing Divas offer 8-week beginners courses and occasionally offer specials e.g. discounts if you join with a friend, or for moms and daughters dancing together. Their taster classes allow you to try out a class before committing to a course.
Up-coming events: Once a year Dancing Divas hosts a showcase where women can show off their dance skills in front of their partners, children and friends – a dress-up occasion that stretches and excites and challenges students.
The low-down: Centurion Ballet Academy focuses on achieving excellence and reaching personal goals in the art of ballet dancing, and offers classes for all ages – from toddlers all the way to adults. Registered with the Royal Academy of Dance, the school is internationally recognised for its contribution to ballet and dance. The academy operates in its original building, since launched in 1975, with highly trained teachers who are passionate about what they do.
Dancers are initiated with basic ballet training, which is followed by vocational graded training, ultimately leading to a career in dance as a performer, teacher or choreographer. With this said, Centurion Ballet Academy strives to train their dancers in a caring environment while building a sense of family.
Location: 1005 Pretorius Ave (South), Lyttelton, Centurion
Classes: Basic Training, Graded Training
Times: Classes run from 2pm to 6pm, and on Mondays & Thursdays until 7pm
What to wear: Full ballet attire with no exceptions
The low-down: Ballroom dancing is the perfect combination of physical activity, social interaction, and mental stimulation. And at the Fred Astaire Dance Studios, budding dancers are readily stimulated through training in a range of styles: American, Latin, International Style, Ballroom Style, and even Exhibition and Theater Arts dances.
Originally founded in 1947 by legendary actor and dancer Mr. Fred Astaire himself, the Pretoria East studio falls part of a chain of global studios under the same name, all with the goal of ensuring that Fred Astaire’s technique and style could be preserved and passed on through generations. Fred Astaire Dance Studios works with students of all ages and abilities, catering for those looking for wedding dance instruction, a new hobby, a way to connect with a partner, make new friends, or improve on dancing skills, plus many more benefits.
Location: 2nd Floor, Murrayfield Corner, 362 Rossouw St, Murrayfield
Classes: American, Latin, International Style, Ballroom Style, Exhibition and Theater Arts dances created for social and competitive dancers. Both single students and couples are taught at Fred Astaire Dance Studios. If single, an instructor will be your partner for private lessons.
Times: Monday to Friday between 1pm and 10pm, one-on-one lessons are scheduled between these times
What to wear: Something comfortable that won’t inhibit movement. Leather-soled shoes are recommended for gentlemen and a shoe with a back are recommended for the ladies. Don’t wear rubber soled shoes as they stick to the ballroom floor.
Specials: The studio runs a special introductory offer for first-time dancers. Contact them for more details.
The low-down: Dance Hub is the only all-adult ballet studio in Pretoria, offering classical training to any amateur of hobbyist over the age of 18. Although they use a Royal Academy of Dance inspired syllabus, it will not provide students with professional accreditation and no dance exams are held. The focus is to learn classical ballet for all its physical and mental benefits, a great alternative for those who are easily bored at the gym.
The training at Dance Hub is structured and well-balanced, yet also fun, with fresh, worked out music to keep students engaged. Many students have never danced before, yet still achieve the very reachable dream of dancing en pointe. Men are welcome to join, too, as classes offer a great combination of cardio, strength training and flexibility. Dance Hub prides itself on offering recreational ballet training of the highest standard.
Location: Hoërskool Waterkloof Dance Academy Studio, cnr Boeing St & Solomon Mahlangu Dr, Pretoria
Classes: Absolute Beginners, Advanced Beginners, Intermediate, and Pointe classes are available, and the price ranges from R450 to R800 depending on how many classes are taken per month. A once-off registration fee is also required.
Times: Mondays and Thursdays anywhere from 5.30pm to 8pm
What to wear: For beginners, anything comfortable (three-quarter tights are a good option) with socks. Students usually buy ballet pumps a few months after dancing. For intermediates, dance attire of your choice can be worn.
Specials: Dance Hub’s Christmas in July special gives new members a discount on registration fees.
The low-down: The Belly Dance Academy offers women a judgement-free environment where transformation can take place through learning the art of belly dancing. All ages, sizes and cultural backgrounds are encouraged to join classes, all of which cultivate a genuine sense of sisterhood and empowerment. Owner and founder Ioanna Piagalis claims to have witnessed growth and confidence emerge in her students: upon joining, ladies are sometimes shy, unhappy with their bodies, or are going through an emotional stage of life; and two months into classes, they arrive with a crop top and are willing to express themselves and begin to heal. The Belly Dance Academy prides themselves on the positive energy they create at their studio.
Location: 314 The Hillside St, Lynwood, Pretoria
Classes: Beginners, intermediate and advanced belly dancing classes are available, and packages range from R550 to R1200 depending on how often you want to attend
Times: All classes are an hour long and take place on Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday evenings
What to wear: Come in yoga-type active wear that isn’t too loose
Specials: The Belly Dance Academy offers a 10% discount to students (present your student card to receive)