Dustin Oliver has served as the choir and drama director at Akron North High School and the fine-arts director at Celebration Church, so he knows a thing or two about putting on a performance. Add to that nearly 15 years practicing the guitar, nearly 20 years honing his piano and voice skills, and at least a few minutes humming the theme to M.A.S.H., and it becomes obvious that this artist is a multi-talented whiz. An accomplished musician and composer with a Bachelor’s degree in music from Southeastern University, Dustin is earning his Master’s in theatre from the University of Akron, making him a veritable double threat and a valuable resource for aspiring musicians and actors. When not adding to his own skill set, he leads private and group music lessons in guitar, piano, bass, and voice for students ages 5 and older—as well as private and group acting lessions—following well-established curricula.
The trainers at TNT Bootcamp make failure a near impossibility by demanding discipline and commitment from each of their charges. Though their words are kind and demeanors are friendlier than that of a teddy bear with a hospitality degree, the instructors of the intense four-week boot-camp program ensure campers adhere to a regimen of weekly weigh-ins, participate in a minimum of three weekly workouts, and maintain a food journal. Any lapse in duties or weight gain incurs a penalty, which TNT Bootcamp has found keeps participants on track even after they reach their goal weight. By completely remolding eating and exercising habits through boot camp and nutritional counseling, trainers help their pupils shed as much as 5 pounds a week. For attendees more interested in recreational exercise, the Just 4 the Health of It program waives penalties. Exercisers can also tone up in classes such as Zumba and the weekly Saturday Sweatshop, which keeps already fit frames in shape and ready to run away from bears at all times.
Although professional instructors oversee every class at Art with a Twist, students have ample room to be spontaneous, creative, and unrestricted. The staff of seasoned artists guides pupils of all abilities through canvas paintings, ceramics, and collages, inviting participants to socialize and sip on their own drinks during sessions. During holiday seasons, special themed classes include designing Christmas stockings or carving Halloween pumpkins. During Bark Art classes, the staff stocks the studio with biscuits, and allows students to bring in and paint pictures of their own dogs or roommates they've convinced to dress in dog suits.
Helmed by Julie Buckeye, a globe trekker who has learned dozens of dances during her travels, the team of instructors at World of Dances teaches children and adults of all skill levels to shimmy with international flair and self-confidence. Julie approaches each of her classes with an enthusiasm for disparate cultures and a desire to help students feel great about their own lives, whether they're stretching toward the sun during yoga classes, undulating their hips during belly-dancing classes, or high-fiving themselves during hip-hop classes. Bouncing sun rays enter the World of Dances studio through floor-to-ceiling windows and join students in boogie routines, while the sprawling parking lot outside encourages cars to relax as they work on their suntans.
Twenty-two years ago, Pam Burton counted herself as part of the population of people with two left feet. She struggled through every move during ballroom-dance classes and felt there must be another way to learn the moves. Not being the type of person to wait around for others to take the reins, she decided to reinvent ballroom-dance lessons so everyone—including that two-left-feet group—could easily understand how their feet were supposed to move.
The casual atmosphere inside 2 Left Feet Dance Studio finds students of all experience levels working through dance steps in a group, semi-private, or private setting. Once a month, people can test their newly acquired skills during a ballroom dance with pizza, pop, and a half-hour lesson.
Melinda Elaine Hoye tried for years to shed extra pounds. It wasn't until she abandoned diet trends and began exercising regularly that she achieved her fitness goals. She says she dropped 76 pounds in only 10 months.
Today, the toned fitness guru extends her expertise to others at her own boot-camp program. She breaks her program into three phases. The first focuses on weight-loss and the second on weight-maintenance. The final phase is designed to help patrons train for challenging physical activities such as running marathons, competing in triathlons, and getting rid of crates of stolen bowling trophies. In addition to leading cardio and strength-training exercises, Melinda works on comprehensive meal plans and nutritional tips. She has even published her own book on fitness, From Fat to P.H.A.T., in which she refutes common fitness myths.