In 2003, Shaina Traisman taught her first yoga class in Seattle’s downtown jail. The students' blossoming interest in the class and the facility’s obvious need touched Shaina. So two years later, she founded Yoga Behind Bars to reach as many students as possible and helped increase the number of teachers involved. Every week, 35 volunteer instructors teach yoga poses, breath work, philosophy, and meditation exercises to more than 150 men, women, and children at correctional facilities across the region as a form of therapy and rehabilitation. The yoga classes are designed to grant the students inner freedom and help them overcome their stressors and destructive behavioral patterns for when they reenter society.
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Owner Steve Olson added Parlor Live to the Parlor complex in 2008 as a way to bring big city-caliber evening entertainment to suburban Bellevue. National comedians take the stage in a wide, shallow room with seating that wraps around three sides of the action as colored shapes produced by a sophisticated lighting system dance across the walls. A globally inspired menu introduces the agonizing dilemma of whether to laugh, fill one’s mouth, or mold little edible hearts to toss toward the performer with shareable dishes that include garlic-gorgonzola waffle fries and coconut prawns. The drink menu, too, aims to surprise with complex cocktails that range from a classic old-fashioned to a sparkling rosemary potion with Aperol.
The experienced dance instructors at Century Ballroom teach novice and veteran hoofers alike on its 2,000-square-foot dance floor, schooling on the basics of a variety of toe-tapping numbers. Aspiring rug-cutters select a dance style for the five-week course ($60), with options including the East Coast swing, energetic Lindy hop, and sultry tango. In 60-minute classes, learn the basic foot patterns and seductive steps of salsa—a blend of Afro-Cuban and Latin moves set on the crunchy surface of a tortilla chip—or glide across the floor in a sophisticated waltz set to the music of Strauss. Century Ballroom shares a building with The Tin Table restaurant, allowing dancers to replenish calories expended during energetic sashays and face-melting jazz hands.
The Little Gym fosters the healthy growth of children by allowing them to progress at their own pace in a nonthreatening, nurturing environment. As wee ones from 4 months to 12 years-old tackle challenges, overcome fears, and learn to confidently express their opinions about Platonic theory, The Little Gym's original music graces their ears and supports their lessons. The month includes four classes that let tots develop through weekly, age-specific curriculum, with programs including pre-school/kindergarten gymnastics, dance, sports-skills development, and karate.
Dizzy’s Tumblebuses both look like bright yellow school buses, yet they have never taken a kid to school. They don’t even have seats inside. Instead, their interiors are stocked with tumbling equipment, ball pits, and slides, and they make stops at schools, where they augment gym classes. These traveling fun-buses were invented by founder and mother of three, Dizzy, who has spent the last 10 years growing her company, trying to find parking spaces big enough for her buses, and testing out lesson plans with her own eager kids.
And in addition to the busses, Dizzy also created Dizzy’s Bus Stop, the company’s stationary facility. Despite its immobility, the facility hosts a bus structure inside that recreates the fun of the company’s popular Tumblebuses. Kids can clamber up a pint-size rock-climbing wall, jump on trampolines, and join in activities from dress-up to play dough sculpting. To accommodate a variety of little ones, the center offers drop-in day care, parent-supervised open play sessions, or preschool for tykes ages 2-5.
The craftsmen at New Dimensions Frame & Mirror do not mess around when it comes to custom framing. Not only do they handcraft each frame in-house, they use museum standards and conservation materials to protect prized pieces. They also boast a constantly rotating collection of artwork to fill empty frames, as well as custom mirrors that range from ornate to contemporary.