When most of us workout, or even think about exercise, it’s almost always something that keeps up in a “linear mode.” While going for a run, riding a bike, or spending 45 minutes on the elliptical or step mill are great for maintaining a healthy weight and keeping us fit – it doesn’t really open us up.

If you’re lucky enough to take a yoga, pilates or Zumba class a couple times a week, you know how important it is to get some rotation and non-linear movement into a workout – if for no other reason than to maintain a reasonable amount of flexibility.

Flexibility through the hips, shoulders, back and big muscles of the body is incredibly important, and in my opinion, accounts for a good chunk of our overall health and fitness. If you’re not limber enough to bend over and pick something up without aching, or feeling like something is going to pop, you’re putting yourself at risk for greater injury.

Dancers are moving examples of incredible flexibility.  I went to a few performances that were part of the Chicago Dancing Festival in August, and it was amazing to watch each dancer throw their bodies into difficult positions with ease. No doubt, they made the performances look much easier than they actually were.  It’s completely unfair for non-dancers (like myself) to compare themselves to a professional dancer when it comes to flexibility, but there’s a lot to be said for just getting out there and doing something that will help you maintain a healthier body 10, 20 or 30+ years down the road.

There are a huge pool of dance studios that offer classes for adults, with some offering affordable drop-in class rates starting around $15. I started my search for studios in Chicago, and few other cities I’m familiar with.  I’ve listed the studios below, linking to the adult class section of the company’s website. There is a lot out there, from ballet, to belly dancing to burlesque…and it’s never too late to start something new. If you know of any other great studios that should be on the list, just let me know.

CHICAGO
Old Town School of Folk Music
773-728-6000
909 W. Armitage Ave or 4554 N. Lincoln Ave

BeMoved
Locations throughout the Chicagoland area

Joffrey Academy of Dance | Chicago
10 E. Randolph Street, Chicago
312.784.4600

Jasmin Jahal School of Dance
773-777-4037
4037 N. Milwaukee Avenue

Rast Ballet & Dance Studio
773-419-4487
1803 West Byron, Suite 201

NEW YORK
Ballet Academy East
212-410-9140
1651 Third Avenue

Alvin Ailey – The Ailey Extension
212-405-9500
405 West 55th Street

Joffrey Ballet School | New York
212-254-8520
434 Avenue of the Americas, 5th Floor

RALEIGH
North Carolina Dance Institute
919-786-0555
5910-101 Duraleigh Road

Fred Astaire Dance Studio
919-872-0111
6300 Creedmoor Rd. #122

WASHINGTON DC
Dance Place
202-269-1600
3225 8th Street NE

Virginia Ballet Company
703-249-8227
5595 Guinea Road
Fairfax, VA

LOS ANGELES

International Dance Academy | Hollywood
323-962-3554
6755 Hollywood Blvd., 2nd Floor

Dance Arts Academy
323-932-6230
731 South LaBrea Avenue

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