A veteran of the arts, with more than 15 years of experience, Sarita Ciallella has performed her fair share of gymnastic, dancing, and acting routines. But it wasn't until May 2003 that these passions culminated in Virtuous Productions, a performing-arts community center where she could imbue kids, teens, and adults with her knowledge of the arts. Together with a dedicated staff of instructors, including dancers and acting coaches, Sarita's mission—to teach new artists creative skills in a purposeful and moral way—has never changed. Sarita and her team uphold the center's seven core values: excellence, innovation, teamwork, respect, integrity, social profit, and joy.
The schedule runs six days a week to keep dancers of any age or ability tapping, salsa-ing, and rhythmically stomping their feet across the studio's competition-size floor, which is made of the same material as the floor on Dancing with the Stars. Film and television classes teach aspiring stars how to emote for the camera and how to never lose a staring contest with the camera man, and the company's in-house shooting crew captures special moments with half- and full-day shoots that include editing, DVDs, and makeup applications.
Virtuous Productions also supports the arts through Virtuous Nites, which offer a safe, smoke- and drink-free environment for partiers to let loose and dance.
Insider tips on tidal patterns and secret surf spots, borne of a lifetime in local waters, are part of the intangible edge offered by Singer Island Surf Camp Inc., in operation for the past 15 years and run by a born-and-raised native of Palm Beach. As a Palm Beach County native, camp founder and owner Paige Parker doesn’t remember a time she wasn’t closely tied to the water. When she and her neighborhood pals were kids, she recalls, “The ocean was our playground and our babysitter.” And though it's probably true that anyone with a lifeguard certification could lead snorkeling tours and sportfishing charters, Parker knows that her inborn understanding of the local tidal patterns makes a difference.
A staff of surf-seasoned EMTs and firefighters who are also certified in ocean rescue, lifeguard, CPR, and first aid help Parker lead private and group surfing lessons for all ages and experience levels as well as provide paddleboarding and kayaking instruction. And when school’s out, kids aged 6–16 years old can dive into summer camps and surf along Singer Island's reef-and-sandbar system or paddleboard to Peanut Island. A full rental shop, meanwhile, fills out its stock of standard surf gear with standup paddleboards, kayaks, water trampolines, and inflatable water wheels.
At Haastyle Martial Arts Academy, instructors focus on teaching their students safety and proper technique, while maintaining a positive, non-competitive environment. Their style of choice is the Counterpoint Tactical System—a discipline with roots in Filipino martial arts that covers armed and unarmed training, as well as kickboxing, grappling, and ground fighting. By demonstrating focused strikes, locks, and throws, the black belts on staff enable students to carry their lessons over from the classroom to the real world.
The academy offers sessions for students as young as 3 years old, among them are junior and adult programs that include a fitness element, channeling the resistance of bodyweight to tone muscle. As they progress through different class levels, students learn to fight with sticks and other weapons in addition to their fists and their pointiest elbow. The curriculum even includes a Doce Pares stick-fighting program, which draws from other styles such as Aikido and Judo.
Gymnastics Plus's huge staff of coaches?21 in all?keep kids tumbling, laughing, and learning throughout the year. They teach recreational gymnastics to boys and girls, starting with the basics and advancing students to more challenging sessions as they progress. They also offer specialty classes in everything from acro-yoga for teens to movement with music for 2 to 3 year olds. More ambitious kids can sign up for the competitive program, which allows them to strut their stuff in statewide competitions.
At Extreme Punch Martial Arts, seasoned instructors lead classes that teach both children and adults how to defend themselves from assailants using karate techniques and how to punch through a cinder-block wall to frighten construction workers. Other classes focus on martial arts–influenced fitness such as cardio kickboxing, upping heart rates rather than uppercutting opponents.
Kickboxing classes deliver a knee to the face of fat, burning up to 860 calories an hour with the high-energy striking moves of martial arts and boxing. All four limbs get in on the bag-bludgeoning action at iLoveKickboxing as each class provides a full-body workout that tones arm, leg, and tentacle muscles while tightening the body’s core and improving balance. Hitting the heavy bags won't skin your knuckles once you don the included boxing gloves, which also double as excellent spring-loaded props for re-creating Three Stooges gags. Class times and dates vary based on location.