By Katie Main

Who said working out had to be boring? Several studios in Atlanta offer a way to exercise your creativity as well as your body:

The Centre for Dance Education at the Atlanta Ballet

The Centre’s Adult Open Division has a full schedule of ballet, flamenco, hip-hop, jazz, modern, Pilates and more. Students can pay per class, buy a 10-class card or purchase a seasonal pass. Studios are located in Midtown, Buckhead and Cobb, and drop-in students are welcome.

Black Knight Martial Arts
Master Nils Onsager and the staff at Black Knight specialize in the art of Hapkido, a Korean form of self-defense, and encourage a work hard, play hard mindset. “It’s an intense, all-over body workout,” Onsager says. “As opposed to pointlessly lifting weights, it has the added benefit of self-defense.” Onsager also leads a 24-person stunt team, made up of students and courageous actors, that works on commercials and feature films, such as The Signal and Dance of the Dead.

The D.A.I.R. Project
Located in a converted cathedral in Grant Park, the D.A.I.R. project offers classes in aerial dance/trapeze, funky salsa, Afro-Cuban and belly dance. “[Aerial dance] challenges you athletically, and at the same time is a form of artistic expression,” says Nicole Mermans, the project’s director. Adult class fees support the project’s youth and teen programs. “We’re trying to be a community center,” Mermans explains.

Dance 411 Studios
Located in East Atlanta, this funky studio teaches pole dancing, go-go stiletto and dancehall reggae classes in addition to jazz, hip-hop and ballet.

Belly Dancing at Imperial Fez Moroccan Restaurant
Spend an afternoon with Chandani (aka Cheryl Jamison) at Imperial Fez, and she’ll show you how to shimmy and roll like the women who perform nightly at the restaurant. “It’s a great form of high aerobic but low-impact exercise,” Jamison says. “It’s also a way to get in touch with your inner self.”

Katie Main is a freelance writer/editor. Her work has appeared in Tallahassee and Emerald Coast magazines.