Paola Martinez fell in love with dance at the age of 13. She has devoted her life to studying and teaching others about the art ever since, training extensively in flamenco, ballet, hip hop, jazz, and salsa. Her primary educational endeavor, Houston Salsa Dancers, instructs visitors in salsa steps to share Latin and Afro-Caribbean culture. Martinez also hosts classes teaching hip hop, ballet, and Mexican folklorico dance, as well as summer camps that keep kids from having to foxtrot with the television.
As a child, potter and instructor Linda Munoz unearthed her passion for the arts during ballet, piano, guitar, and painting lessons. Motivated by her spiritual beliefs, she fleshed out her creative side into a career when she founded Lambda Pottery. Her studio showcases her original stoneware, largely crafted atop the potter's wheel, and houses pottery lessons designed to accommodate all ages. The classes take place once or twice a week for eight weeks and hone in on students' areas of interest. During each lesson, Linda incorporates basics such as molding clay into dishes, trimming and texturizing, and affixing handles or rubber ears onto vases.
For 25 years, Texas School of Bartenders has minted professional-grade mix masters in its hands-on classes held in classrooms that simulate real bars. The school's training labs brims with 42 bar stations loaded with up-to-date equipment, including touchscreen registers and serving trays made of hover boards. Full 40-hour courses run throughout the day to accommodate people with designs on pursuing bartending as a career. Covering drink recipes, customer service, and mixing techniques, introductory crash courses throw students into bartending in the same way Spartans taught their children to swim—by throwing them into a shark tank.
Tranquil Waters Spa combines the refreshing powers of a day spa with the healing prowess of a wellness center to create a haven of whole body well-being. Specialists keep exteriors shiny and new with aesthetic treatments that range from traditional facials and AHA chemical peels to aromatherapy and bath-salt treatments. Resident therapist Dr. Lew Huff flaunts holistic regimens focused on treating the root cause of ailments and not just their symptoms through painless acupuncture, chiropractic care, hypnotherapy, and nutritional counseling. A multidisciplinary assessment can also help determine the path to wellness as a slew of specialists—such as acupuncturists, structural therapists, and aromatherapists—heal from every angle like a Neosporin hot tub. Meanwhile, the Phoenix Massage Therapy School in Houston unleashes its students inside the spa to learn a range of massage modalities, as its interns—all of whom have completed at least half the hours required to become professional spa experts—bring their newly acquired skills to the treatment table.
Kris Bistro & Wine Lounge's executive chefs Alain LeNôtre and Kris Jakob, who has been featured in the Houston Chronicle, tap nearby farms and recruit skilled culinary students to cultivate a menu showcasing local ingredients. Artisan breads made in house prime palates for a three-course meal filled with friendly banter before starters roll over tongues as intriguingly as ballads in pig Latin. The grilled-shrimp appetizer binds gulf crustaceans together with vegetables in a decadent shellfish bisque with hints of cognac. The kitchen's sweeping glass walls afford visual contact with three prep areas and let diners watch culinary adventures as closely as an Oompa-Loompa's parole officer.
My Gym, which has more than 200 international locations, began more than 20 years ago as a structured place for children to safely play, acquire new skills, and romp off a sugar buzz. All classes are organized according to age level—from 7 months–13 years old—and are designed to incorporate the latest physiological, psychological, and meteorological research. The junior gym offers classes for all developmental degrees, from Tiny Tykes, a class for parents and babies that focuses on movement, to Champions, which empowers 6- to 8-year-olds with sports and gymnastics skills.