The Best of Mesa

Best of Mesa 2020 - Dining

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Maybe you’ve slept in on a weekend or you’re just one of those folks who struggles making a decision on serious issues – like what to eat to start your day. Crackers & Co. Café, with two shops in Mesa, is the place for you. 

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The French Kiss. The Michigan Cherry. The Boysenberry Cream. It’s easy to get your mind racing about at Piefection. 

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P.F. Chang’s has known success, but that doesn’t mean it is willing to stand pat.

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Dane and Travis Boersma couldn’t possibly have seen this coming when they bought a double-head espresso machine and started experimenting in 1992. Dutch Bros is the country’s largest privately held drive-through coffee company. Mesa residents are grateful to have three shops.

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Just the mention of the name stirs visions of swaying palm trees, cool hot rods in the parking lot on a temperate California evening and the aroma of grilling burgers. 

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By now, most of us have come to grips with eating raw fish, either as nigiri or shashimi. For those still not quite onboard, raw fish can be hidden or removed altogether in rolls. 

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You don’t necessarily have to know what you want when you roll into either Mesa location of Crackers & Co. Café. Just close your eyes and point. Everything on the breakfast and lunch menu is outstanding, reflecting the European owner’s heritage and principle of from-scratch cooking. 

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You’ll never feel like you’re responding to a three-alarm grease fire while dining at the half-dozen Firehouse Subs shops in Mesa. 

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Wait. Pete’s FISH and Chips claiming the BURGER category? Yep. While it’s true that Pete’s made its name on chunks of fish, shrimp and chicken nuggets, the long-running local chain also upped its game on a broader swath of American food. They even have a Monster Burger Combo that includes th…

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It started in their west Mesa backyard. Ruben and Maricela Alvarez brought with them their culture, love of good food and, most importantly, recipes from Mazatlan, Mexico. The beneficiaries largely were friends and family, for whom they cooked in their backyard. More people came and soon the…

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Boca Taqueria once again rises to the top of the list. Still a family-run business, Boca uses the same recipes and preparation techniques that have brought fans back for decades. Boca Taqueria strives to keep that family theme alive with its customers, attempting to make each visit a family …

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The Hub was formed by area residents and business professionals to create a center of activity that is family-friendly in the restaurant and inviting to adults in the bar. And, indeed, the Hub bar is a splendid place with a list of cocktails that includes Bloody Marys with Guinness and vodka…

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Hungry for hand-cut steaks or ribs? How about a Fort Worth Ribeye, served with your choice of two sides? It’s among the favorites at Texas Roadhouse’s two Mesa restaurants. The Dallas Filet and melts in your mouth. And the award-winning ribs are slow-cooked with a unique blend of seasonings …

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Vito’s Pizza and Italian Ristorante is much more than a place to get a splendid pie. Its menu is full of crowd-pleasers like lasagna, steak and pasta. Vito’s seafood rivals that served in some of Florida’s best restaurants. Attention to detail makes the dishes comfort foods. Most of the past…

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Night after night, bite after bite, the best pizza in Mesa can be found at Vito’s. The Chicago-style thin-crust pizza comes in four sizes with a large selection, including gluten free and vegan. Specialty pies are made with local produce and imported Italian cheese.

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The Hub is a center of activity that is family-friendly in the restaurant and inviting to adults in the bar. Enjoy superb cocktails, an unpretentious menus and watch your favorite team on scores of TVs.

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Famous Dave Anderson, a Native American kid, didn’t have many opportunities. But he had dreams, perseverance and a goal: create the best barbecue America ever tasted. Mission accomplished. Growing up, he knew that street-corner vendors with their 55-gallon smokers had the best ribs. He borro…

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Who doesn’t need a place to unwind these days? Hub understands and is just the place with happy-hour specials for you. Monday through Friday, 2:12 p.m. to 6:12 p.m., get $2 off Hub shots, drinks and appetizers (excluding wings and buffalo dip). Or, enjoy $3.50 well drinks, small domestic bee…

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What will it be? Buffalo? Arizona Smoked? Boneless? The Hub will bring them out in halfpound, full pound or two-pound servings. You may order them in El Jefe, hot, medium, mild, BBQ, Cajun, teriyaki, raspberry chipotle and Insanity.

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Start with oysters, crab strips or calamari. Don’t cheat yourself by skipping the gumbo. Then roll up your sleeves and bring on the Cajun seafood boil or whatever other fabulous entrée you desire at either Mesa Angry Crab Shack. Get your order sauced up, customized and delivered to your tabl…

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You could dish out a ton of money for a nosebleed seat to a game or you could come to the Hub. The bar area has more than 50 big-screen TVs – more than some electronic store showrooms. Afterward, throw darts using the Hub’s digital dart board or try several games onsite.

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An engineer and a broadcaster who’d had it with their respective careers are responsible for what was an off-the-beaten-path niche eatery that has grown to be a mainstream healthy-dining icon, Pita Jungle. Using fresh ingredients with minimal modification and an eye on nutrition and allergen…

Best of Mesa 2020 - Fun & Entertaiment

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Getting wet during the day and enjoying miniature golf by night are refreshing activities for the whole family at Golfland Sunsplash, Arizona’s premier family-fun destination. Among its more than 30 rides and attractions are thrilling waterslides, King Ben’s Castle family fun center, arcades…

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The Arizona Museum of Natural History which holds approximately 58,000 objects in trust with exhibits the natural and cultural history of the southwestern United States. Collections are rotated into exhibitions as space permits. Some collections are available by appointment only.

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Nearly 2,000 feet above the Valley floor in northeast Mesa, award-winning Las Sendas Golf Club, designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr., is regarded among the finest in Arizona. The 18-hole championship layout tests all levels and offers breathtaking views. Dine at The Patio, surrounded by breat…

Best of Mesa 2020 - Business & Services

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Chick-fil-A brings back another era with outstanding customer service delivered by polite, fresh-faced youngsters who typically address customers as “sir” or “ma’am.” And if it’s Sunday, save your trip. They’re closed so employees can worship if they so choose and spend time with their families.

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Earnhardt Toyota, the family-owned and operated Toyota dealership in Mesa, takes pride in keeping the shopping process simple and straightforward with an exceptional selection of new vehicles and used vehicles. Earnhardt also is home to an award-winning service department staffed by Toyota f…

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EoS Fitness tells clients, “You bring the sweat and we’ll take care of the rest.” Its three gyms in Mesa are known for their high-energy environment, tons of fitness equipment, dumbbells that go up to 150 pounds, cutting-edge machines and amenities. A multitude of group fitness classes each …

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Locally owned Tucked Away Craft Kitchen & Bar, the second venture for Sean Hayes and Jo Ann Franko, crafts inspiring dishes complemented by cocktails and craft beer and tell a rich story of balance, flavor and texture. The duo, who also own Tipsy Cactus Tap Room & Bottle Shop in Mesa…

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Serving Mesa and the entire Southeast Valley, Keller Williams Integrity First Realty’s agents understand that buying or selling a home is a life-changing experience. Its seasoned real estate professionals are dedicated to providing exceptional, personalized service and working relentlessly f…

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No matter where in the world you want to go, Deseret Travel can help get you there. Its experienced agents take the time to answer your questions and listen to your ideas before making expert recommendations that fit your budget.

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For a half century, family-owned John’s Refrigeration offers a full range of A/C, heating, indoor air quality and home energy services. John’s commitment to quality workmanship and customer satisfaction influences every decision it makes. It guarantees all of its services in writing. Its air…

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Stories about Nelson Estate Jewelers’ showroom has one-of-a-kind pieces at an incredible value with realistic pricing and customer value in mind. Whether you are buying or selling, expect to be treated with value and fairness. Nelson pays market price for gold, silver and platinum. Take adva…

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Canyon Winds Retirement Community, Mesa’s newest senior-living community, offers upscale retirement living. Located at the entrance of Las Sendas in the northeast Mesa foothills, the beautifully landscaped Canyon Winds resort-style campus is surrounded by amazing views. Amenities include spa…

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Insurance Professionals of Arizona seeks to provide a superior level of service that delivers confidence to clients by holding itself to a higher standard of excellence. Fast, easy and efficient, Insurance Professionals provides fast and convenient quotes and explains best options for person…

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Enjoy shopping among courtyards, landscaping, cobblestone streets and an upscale mix of retailers at Dana Park, where the ambience is uplifting even if you don’t spend a nickel. The 70-acre shopping center has been described as an “urban lifestyle center” with its dynamic street scenes, qual…

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As the largest and most-trusted multi award-winning pet services and home services provider in Arizona, Critter Caretakers offers a range of high-end pet services and home services, including pet sitting, house sitting and poop scooping. If your pet could choose Critter Caretakers, it would.

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PlumbSmart has created a long list of customers for life with its highest-quality service and the best warranty in the industry at the lowest possible price. Customers have come to trust its competent journeymen, master plumbers and NATE certified HVAC Technicians.

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Locally owned and operated Poolwerx strives to give clients the best and safest swimming conditions. Its stores stock high-quality chemicals, equipment and accessories. It also offers cleaning, service, inspections and equipment installations.

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Whatever you desire, the pros at Great Clips give you the look of tonsorial splendor that you desire, whether you’re man, woman, boy or girl. Need product? They’ve got plenty of that, as well.

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Bunker will help guide loved ones through the process of making arrangements with compassion, dignity and respect. It also will make arrangements in advance so your loved ones don’t have to. Whatever your budget, Bunker is there for the families.

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Mesa Auto Works’ friendly, experienced service department is committed to serving with honesty, quality and value, using the latest diagnostic technology to provide high-quality service and quick turnaround. From head gasket to tailpipe, Mesa Auto Works is dedicated to keeping you safe on the road.

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If you don’t see what you want in the inventory on Potato Barn’s floor – no online store – just wait. It sells unique home furnishings right off the floor and its inventory changes weekly, if not daily. Sourcing from the best manufacturers and selling at great prices allows Potato Barn to st…

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Kenny Klaus, branch manager and team leader, has paid his dues. In the real estate industry since 1999, Klaus is a nationally recognized expert, a Certified Residential Specialist, Double Platinum Award Winner, Multi-Million Dollar Award Winner, Hall of Fame Member and Chairman’s Club Member…

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Las Palmas, an active, age 55- plus resort, offers luxury living at an affordable price with world-class resort amenities and a wide selection of preowned custom homes. Las Palmas is among the award-winning family of Thesman Communities proudly offering affordable resort living since 1980.

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A Blandford master-planned community passes the eye test. Inspired architecture, builder reputation for quality, superb locations are among the reasons why Blandford is so popular among Mesa buyers. Blandford has been ranked No. 1 in J.D. Power’s Customer Satisfaction Survey in five differen…

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Spencer’s TV and Appliance, now a Valley-wide brand, began in downtown Mesa more than 45 years. It hasn’t forgotten its roots, and Mesans remain loyal. Spencer’s cites personal service for the high customer satisfaction that has kept it in business. If you call, you just might be greeted by …

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Critter Caretakers offers an array of home services that include house-sitting. Insured, bonded and owned by two former police offices with a combined 50 years of experience, customers can trust the team to take its responsibilities seriously. Daily reports and updates include a personalized…

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Rowley Chapman & Barney has a strong history of success, maintaining excellent relationships with clients and the community by relying upon time-tested values. The firm serves families, individuals and business owners, although each attorney at the firm limits their area of practice to a…

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With more than 20 years in the industry, Laurie DeBusk continues to cultivate her skill for creating soft, sophisticated haircuts and gorgeous natural colors. DeBusk has a natural talent for cutting dry hair to soften and balance the style for the individual. This led to her love of French h…

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Imagine working surrounded by people learning how to make and do things. It’s what employees at East Valley Institute of Technology look forward to every day. The public-education career training for East Valley high school students and Valley adults has programs in aviation, culinary arts, …

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Central Christian Church-Mesa provides a Bible-based message, energetic and modern worship music and communion at all of its services each week. The Children’s Ministry offers a fun and safe environment and takes each child on an adventure with Jesus. The Central Student Ministry (junior hig…

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No one in the East Valley will go hungry if United Food Bank can help it. It has its hands full, though, given that Arizona ranks 12th in the nation for food insecurity, sixth for children who are food insecure and that one in five Arizona residents is hungry. Food donations are great and ca…

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If it’s 112 and you feel like your skin is about to sear, a visit to Golfland Sunsplash might be in order. Stay cool in a water park that features Thunder Bay Wave Pool, a 450,000-gallon poor man’s Huntington Beach, or The Revolution, where, starting from nearly seven-stories high, you are c…

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The Arizona Museum of Natural History holds many secrets. The biggest might be that it even exists. Visitors often are surprised at the breadth and quality of exhibits after they discover the place. It is dedicated to inspire wonder, respect and understanding for natural and cultural history…

Best of Mesa 2020 - Medical

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Dr. Karl B. Hiatt, medical director at Turning Pointe Surgery Center, has specialized in plastic surgery for three decades, performing today’s most-requested cosmetic procedures. His state-ofthe-art surgical center offers the highest levels of comfort and privacy. He has special interest and…

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Dr. Ronald Glick has been rated by his peers among the top dermatologists in the Valley for years. AAP Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery PC treats all skin conditions, disorders and diseases, and has a portion of the practice dedicated to skin health and conditioning, cosmetic dermatology and…

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Dr. Rodriguez, director of healthcare at Infinite Healing Center, has been helping patients attain health goals since 2003, using chiropractic, physical medicine, acupuncture, massage and natural medicine. He combines the best hands-on technique, most-advanced rehabilitation/physiotherapy me…

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At the core of East Valley Dental Care’s practice is a friendly team dedicated to patient comfort and oral health. Treatment is tailored to specific needs of each patient and patient communication is encouraged. Dr. Ronald K. Thompson, who has provided outstanding dentistry for more than 20 …

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People flock to the popular Mesa Costco for eye care. Costco offers an array of frames and lenses, sun glasses, and contact lenses, all exclusively for members. Some products are available online.

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Dr. DeAnna Bullaro-Anderer and her New Beginning staff are committed to ensuring that patients and their families have all questions and concerns addressed fully, whether it is a routine examination, surgery or the birth of a baby. A New Beginning offers safe in-office gynecologic surgical p…

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Fynes Audiology helps patients who are having trouble hearing regain the confidence and security that comes with hearing comfortably. The first step is a comprehensive hearing evaluation with Dr. Cassandra Fynes or Roger Knighton. Fynes Audiology offers a full range of hearing-loss solutions…

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Dr. Nathan Yetter and the East Valley Orthodontics team have a track record of transforming lives by giving patients a beautiful smile. His welcoming, family-friendly practice offers advanced options, state-of-the-art technology and personalized care. He offers orthodontics for all ages. He …

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From wellness exams to surgeries, Mesa puts it trust in Power Road Animal Hospital. The veterinarians provide care that extends and increases each pet’s quality of life. Power Road Animal Hospital strives to give the best treatment and care by continuing to receive special training in a vari…

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The 342-bed Banner Baywood Medical Center has provided complete acute-care services for more than 30 years and is among the most-preferred hospitals in the region. Its 50,000 squarefoot Emergency Department treats a variety of ailments and offers advanced treatment. Baywood’s nationally reco…

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Banner Urgent Care provides straightforward, superior health services. Skip the holding room. The clinics can reserve your spot online. Care is provided for dislocations, strep throat, cuts and burns, among other medical conditions. Flu shots, x-rays and stitches also are among their service…

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East Valley Physical Therapy, with over 40 years in outpatient physical-therapy services, is dedicated to expert care in a friendly and caring environment in its state-of-the-art clinic near Banner Baywood Hospital. Its aquatic facility was among the first of its kind in private-practice env…

Best of Mesa 2020 - Education

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Liberty Arts Academy provides an innovative, creative, project-based approach through music, art, technology integration, blended learning and movement-fitness, along with research-based strategies that promote active engagement, critical thinking and collaboration for preschool through eigh…

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Liberty Arts Academy recommends looking at several schools to make sure you find the right school for your child. At the end of the day, Liberty Arts is confident that you will choose it to start your child’s educational journey. Liberty Arts offers all students specials (physical education,…

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Liberty Arts Academy provides an innovative, creative, project-based approach through music, art, technology integration, blended learning and movement-fitness, along with research-based strategies that promote active engagement, critical thinking and collaboration for preschool through eigh…

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Kids in Felice Davis’ kindergarten class at Mendoza are learning the rudiments of reading, writing and math. But they’re really learning how to become successful students – and parents are pretty happy with her success, since they voted her best elementary teacher for the second consecutive …

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For the second consecutive year, voters rated Joe Sullivan the best high school teacher and they’ll have one chance to make it a threepeat: He’s planning to retire at the end of next school year, when he hits the 30-year mark in his career – all spent at Mountain View. He’s enjoyed his caree…

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Shelley Conner, an experienced administrator with 27 years of experience in education, has a demonstrated history of accomplishment and has been principal at Christ the King since 2013. Her successful leadership at a school where most students perform two to three years above grade level is …

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Although the school hasn’t been around for long, Mountain View quickly established itself as a powerhouse – and the toro symbolizes the bullish energy athletes bring to the playing field and the court.

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Christ the King Catholic School, serving preschool through eighth grade, fosters the best in academic excellence within a God-centered environment. Students develop a strong work ethic, form effective study habits, develop attention to detail and learn self-discipline. On average, Christ the…

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EVIT, an A+ School, has been cited by Gov. Doug Ducey as a model of what a career and technical-education school should be and honored by Time magazine as “a school that works.” Over 90 percent of its students are placed in jobs, college or the armed services. Students attend EVIT and their …

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Dance Studio C employs some of the Valley’s most talented, award-winning dance instructors and passionate choreographers, who teach confidence, teamwork, loyalty, dedication and respect through dance. Classes are offered for dancers ages 2 through 18, beginner through advanced levels. No exp…