I just wanted to give a shout out to Behnam Torrei and BGT Enterprises. When Jersey City Kickboxing was going to lose…
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Looking for a teacher or assistant teacher position? Join us Monday, January 22, 2018 at 9:30AM for our Career Day. Receive information about our openings and have an interview on the spot! Email email@example.com to RSVP to attend.
Looking for a teacher or assistant teacher position? Join us Monday, January 22, 2018 at 9:30AM for our Career Day….
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Ever since they were kids, dance partners and Jersey City Ballroom owners Werner Figar and Shimkiri Sawian-Figar have loved to dance.
Figar, who started as a gymnast, was inspired after watching Patrick Swayze in “Dirty Dancing” to try dance. Sawian-Figar, on the other hand, was glued to the small screen, watching “America’s Ballroom Challenge” and dreaming of leaving her tap and ballet shoes behind.
Today, their dreams have come true. Sawian-Figar is the undefeated Edison Ballroom Champion, Vice-Champion of the N.J. Open Rising Star Latin and has been a finalist in many U.S. competitions. Figar, on the other hand, is a three-time Austrian Champion, has been on “Dancing With the Stars Austria” and has been one of the top 30 professional international Latin dancers in the world.
While they’re proud of their accomplishments, Sawian-Figar says the most rewarding part of ballroom dancing is — well, it’s fun!
“The great thing about ballroom dancing is that it takes all of the fun things about moving with music and adds a social element because you dance with other people on the dance floor!” said Sawian-Figar. “Dancing promotes happiness through movement — who doesn’t feel happier moving to their favorite song?”
Now, the pair wants to help others have fun and find their passion for dance.
At Jersey City Ballroom, dancers of all ages and skill levels can either take group classes or receive private one-on-one instruction. Not sure which you like? First-time students can get a 2-for-1 deal and try both formats to find the right fit.
“We believe that everyone can dance and that dancing makes life better. We offer the highest quality instruction for all ages, from young children to adults, and all levels, from absolute beginners to very advanced dancers,” said Sawian-Figar.
“We enjoy helping people achieve their dance goals, whether it’s just to have fun and be comfortable on the dance floor or putting together a showcase number,” she said, adding that as a married couple, they also have a soft spot for couples learning a first dance for their weddings.
She adds that students will be able to learn traditional ballroom dance styles like the waltz, tango and foxtrot, as well as Latin styles like salsa and jive.
“Our favorite dance style is Latin! We love the rhythm and we like how versatile this style is, you can adapt it to a lot of different music and make it suit your personality,” said Sawian-Figar.
Overall, Sawian-Figar says their focus is on making the experience rewarding for their students.
“We really strive to help our students feel comfortable dancing so they can enjoy it more, but we also like to stretch their boundaries so that they can achieve something better, perhaps a new dance move that they never thought they could do,” she said. “It’s also great for fitness because you’re constantly moving and on your feet and as you dance, you feel a sense of community with your fellow students.”
Jersey City Ballroom is a perfect fit for the Brunswick Center as well as the community overall, she adds.
“We love being part of the Brunswick Center! We really support the idea of having a central location that you can go to for wellness and fitness. Also, it’s the first of its kind in Jersey City and as we’re also the first ballroom and Latin studio, that really resonates with us!”
It can be hard to get a workout on the East Coast without being jammed into cramped classes at busy big box gyms. At Power-House Pilates, however, clients can get personal instruction and support as they build their flexibility, strength and fitness.
Owners Risa Harris and Morwen Banq met while working at a Manhattan-based studio and bonded over their love of the fitness system, which uses concentration, control, centering, flow of movement, precision and breathing.
Harris and Banq, who both have a dance background, said they first started using Pilates as a way to supplement their dance training and improve their dancing abilities. But you don’t have to be a ballerina to do Pilates, they say.
“Pilates is great for everybody — people who are sick or people with injuries; younger people, older people,” said Banq. “There’s so many variations and modifications to the exercise…everybody can benefit from it.
Harris agreed, adding, “The goal with Pilates is full-body strength training with a big focus on core strength.
“It’s really great or people with back pain, preventing injury, helping people have much better posture and overall just making people feel much better,” she said. “It makes people feel really good and helps them get in better shape using an exercise program they can sustain for the rest of their lives.”
Both say they are committed to making Pilates a more personal experience, with Harris saying she wants to “make people feel really cared for.”
“We just want to offer personalized Pilates instruction in classes that are really small, with up to 4 people, and private sessions,” said Harris.
Banq says they will also offer tantric Pilates and Mommy-and-Me classes for new moms and their newborn babies. Clients can pay per session, or purchase packages.
Banq, who lives in the Powerhouse Arts District (which coincidentally shares its name with the Pilates term for the body’s core and the pair’s studio), said she’s excited to bring their new business to a booming area like Jersey City.
“There are so many people moving here and I think it’s going to be a good addition to the neighborhood,” said Banq. “When I first moved here six years ago, it was just starting to change. Before, people were living in Jersey City and going to the city to work, but now they’re staying in JC and we’re seeing more fitness places opening.
“ Harris is particularly excited about joining other fitness-related businesses at the Brunswick Center.
“It’s nice to not feel isolated and feel a sense of community,” she said. “I think it can only be a positive thing to be around other like-minded people who are also in the fitness industry and to just feed off each other’s energy.”