?So many people go through life looking at things without really seeing them,? muses Mary Buck, founder of Studio 2.8. Her mission as a teacher is twofold: to help her pupils see things and to help them share what they see with others. ?Photography lets you paint with light,? she tells her classes, ?but you have to go in with a vision.? She gives her pupils the tools to realize their visions during workshops that delve into all facets of digital photography, from the basics of adjusting f-stop to the advanced skills needed to capture a delicious smell of pixels.
It isn't surprising that Buck is a photography teacher; photography runs in her blood. Both of her siblings and her sister-in-law are skilled photographers, and she's been aiming her own lens at subjects since she was just 18. As a professional, her talent for catching dimples and laughter has led to portraits that families can pass down to new generations or Earth-conquering aliens. Seventeen years after starting her own studio, her passion for the art form has only grown, and her enthusiasm for sharing what she calls ?that fire in my belly? with her students still burns strong.
Asiya Khasnutdinova knows the dance world. As a five-time Latin dance champion in her native Russia and top-20 contestant on So You Think You Can Dance, she'd mastered the combination of artistry and strength needed to wow her crowds. However, she also knew it would take more than just dedication to own a dance and health club. So in order to realize this dream, she decided to partner with her mother, enlisting Svetlana Khasnutdinova's experience running her own medical practice.
The result? Valeo Dance Fitness Studio, where Asiya helps clients lose weight and have fun during dance-based cardio classes that incorporate elements of strength training, interval work, and resistance exercises. These ValeoFit 1000 workouts help clients burn up to 1,000 calories and tone their entire bodies through dance routines that may include weighted hula hoops, weights, and resistance bands. When muscles get weary after workouts, clients can also pick up a Valeo Beauty Bar, an all-natural skin care product designed by Svetlana to ease away pent-up toxins and bust stubborn cellulite.
The certified instructors of Fitness Battalion move CrossFit out of the box and into the urban wild. Their boot-camp classes meet at five parks throughout the city, making use of hills, benches, and playground equipment to support the same exercise moves you might see in a CrossFit gym. Students heft their own bodyweight and run up hills during routines that change constantly, yet remain scalable to any experience level.
They also have a traditional CrossFit gym of their own (called a "box" in CrossFit parlance), where students take on the workout of the day ("WOD") under their coach's supervision. On Ramp courses teach beginners the fundamental movements of the style—such as squats, deadlifts, and presses—and regular group sessions emphasize motivation through camaraderie. To supplement these programs, trainers host private workout sessions, yoga classes, and a running club.
The resident chefs at The Cooking School at Irwin Street model their teaching style after that of the quirky, patient Julia Child as they walk kitchen cadets through the basics of food transmogrification with a collection of helpful and laughter-filled classes held in two distinctive locations. Tucked away in the historic Old Fourth Ward, the indoor kitchen lets students loose on modern appliances amid appetite-kindling hues of pumpkin and avocado. The newly unveiled farm kitchen, meanwhile, incorporates vine-fresh produce and just-picked herbs from the surrounding soil in recipes prepared under the open sky. In both of these settings, the instructors pare cooking down to the essentials—an open mind, an eager palate, and a sharp, non-argumentative knife. Classes cater to a number of dietary restrictions, from creative vegan options and gluten-free baking lessons to smoked-meat sessions for inveterate salamivores. Most classes are BYOB, and some sessions are open to parent-child combos.
"Our brain is designed to realize what we wish, without any minor errors," says Dahn Yoga founder Ilchi Lee. "If you want success, it will create success. If you want happiness or health, it will create them. Anything is possible, as long as negative thoughts and emotions don't interfere." To make this challenging, yet hopeful philosophy accessible to all, Lee combined the Eastern concept of chi energy with his own brain-management system, developing a distinctive program that unlocks inner peace and sweeps up brain clutter caused by the daily stress of always having to find Waldo. Warm-up yoga maneuvers awaken muscles before 30–40 minutes of breathing, stretching, core practice, and meditation—including a signature brain-wave vibration technique that aims to calibrate mental and physical energies. Cooldown exercises ease the body back into quotidian functionality before a 10-minute teatime invites socialization among participants while bolstering pinkie endurance.
Artist and fashion designer Stuart McClean was born on the Caribbean island of Trinidad, where his lifelong devotion to creation began during childhood under the artistically trained eye of his mother. Today, after years of crisscrossing the United States, Stuart has left a multi-colored mark on Inman Park with the gallery that carries his name. Outfitted with a large collection of bright, feel-good pieces, including canvases, photography, and sculptures, the gallery reflects Stuart's Caribbean roots, alluring visitors to browse its vibrant gems amid an atmosphere that is warmer than a bear hug from a grizzly bear in a teddy-bear costume. Works from world-renowned artists snake along the walls and even lead to a second story, which is actually a dark, wooden balcony that wraps around the gallery and pours elevated views of the first floor into meandering eyes. In addition to general browsing, the gallery can also be rented out for weddings, parties, and fundraisers throughout the year.