Chi Chi Randolph has choreographed routines for hip-hop artists including Nelly and the Black Eyed Peas. Kari Lehman has 15 years of ballet training experience. Viviane Bressan turned her love of belly dance into a career, traversing the globe while teaching and performing the ancient art. At Dance Austin Studio, these three number among more than a dozen dance instructors whose dazzlingly diverse backgrounds enable an array of classes for everyone from preschoolers to grownups and fitness buffs to serious students of dance.
Zumba combines fast-paced cardio choreography with dynamic Latin rhythms, and the 18-and-older Sexy Stiletto Fit class uses high heels to tone calves and build confidence. Students can choose to learn fundamental positions, steps, and vocabulary during structured ballet, lyrical, and jazz programs, or they can develop video-ready swagger during hip-hop classes. The studio’s sense of fun occasionally spills out into the community—it recently teamed up with the city’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management to spark a flash mob at city hall, held to raise awareness of emergency preparedness and help officials practice what to do if invaded by dancing aliens.
When lifelong gymnast Natalie McKee first started teaching children gymnastics as a college student, it was more of a side job than a career. Her only goal was to pay her tuition. But that changed when Natalie realized that most gymnastics curriculums for kids suffered a fatal flaw. They all landed in one of two camps: either too structured, or not structured enough. Students were forced to choose one, leaving them either bored without challenges or frustrated by tasks they couldn't achieve. To solve this problem, Natalie opened Jump! Gymnastics, which strives to challenge each gymnast within his or her ability level in fun, engaging gymnastics programs for kids.
Each class, designed for children from 18 months to 12 years of age, builds upon the previous class's teachings, ensuring that gymnasts stay stimulated with new moves without feeling overwhelmed by the challenge. With the success of her gymnastics classes, Natalie also decided to foray into other children's activities, including after-school care that keeps kids active, preschool, camps, and birthday parties.
A USA Gymnastics Jr. Olympic Training Center, Platinum Gymnastics Academy isn't afraid to push its young students. It does, however, make sure they're safe and having fun at the same time with age-appropriate classes designed to boost coordination and improve both physical and mental fitness. Recreational gymnastics classes allow kids ages 6 and older to learn stunts and techniques by working with real gymnastics apparatuses, such as the uneven bars, vaults, and trampolines. Preschool programs build gross motor skills and spatial awareness in walking toddlers as young as 18 months. These sessions use the same fitness equipment as their big-kid counterparts, just scaled-down and covered with Sesame Street stickers. Though not every student is required to follow the path to competition, students can also be trained in professional tumbling or on one of the center's two gymnastics teams.
JW Tumbles helps kids develop confidence, motor skills, and social tools in a fun, nurturing environment. Classes are offered for children from 4 months to 7 years old, and involve songs, gymnastics, exploration, and sports. Art classes are also offered, granting petite Magrittes the opportunity to play with paints, doughs, and crayons, crafting conventional masterpieces or shocking rejections of aesthetic orthodoxy. Open play space offers unstructured play time, giving kids the opportunity for general frolic in the space. Groupon buyers also get a $50 discount on a JW Tumbles birthday party, with two party professionals concocting an action-packed celebration of games, singing, sports, dancing, and all-around revelry.
Scattered across the globe like so many building blocks in the playpen of a toddler architect-to-be, Gymboree Play and Music provides wee ones up to five years old with a safe place for enriching, educational play. At more than 500 facilities across 30 countries, grown-ups come along to observe art, music, and sports classes for toddlers up to five years old, as well as their signature Play and Learn sessions.
At River Place Country Club, a championship golf course designed by Jay Morrish and Tom Kite, winner of the 1992 U.S. Open, invites golfers to launch balls over sand bunkers and twisting creeks that wend their way through the landscape’s hilly contours. The course’s superintendent draws on experience at Baton Rouge Country Club and Colonial Country Club, as well as a degree in Plant and Soil Systems, as he ensures that the greens and rolling Bermuda grass fairways are more carefully manicured than a prize-winning pet wooly mammoth. The course’s PGA professional instructors are on hand to improve individual games, and a driving range lets players practice at 15 hitting stations.
Adjacent to the course, eight lighted tennis courts abut a 40,000-square-foot clubhouse with an outdoor pool, fully equipped fitness center, and locker rooms whose dry saunas and whirlpools melt tension quicker than butter melts on the calves of a sprinter. The Grille invites clubgoers to sup on steak or seafood, and a pair of outdoor decks let guests drink in scenic views.
Course at a Glance: