When Maria Espinoza dances, she feels free from both everyday worries and chronic health problems. She opened Dancin' Motion to share this feeling with others, giving the community a creative outlet for dance, art, and music lessons. Instructors lead dance classes such as salsa, belly dance, and Zumba to shake the dust off advanced students' dancing shoes or train beginners in dance basics. Each month at social dances, DJ David fills the sprawling studio space and adjoining outdoor patio, available for private event rental, with the rhythms of upbeat Latin tunes and the sound effects of downbeat Latin legal dramas. During daylight hours, congas, timbales, and bongos fill class spaces with Latin percussion during private music lessons.
Staffed by a certified team of yoga-teaching women—some of whom have racked up more than 700 teaching hours—Asana carves out a serene space where people can refuel energy reserves. Students from every skill level downward dog into a variety of classes that cycle between Vinyasa and hot flow to stimulate circulation, feeding muscles with oxygen, or guided meditation that unwinds tendons in classes that focus on relieving stress with meditation. Expectant mothers wind limbs around baby bumps in prenatal sessions, and classes for kids aged 5–10 initiate little ones with stretching exercises, focused breathing, singing, and games. The studio itself reflects inner peace as beams of natural light amble through sheer floor-to-ceiling curtains and soothing music gives patrons back massages.
With machines set up in rows to encourage competition, many ordinary gyms cater to men's bodies and psychology, right down to the urinals that were "accidentally" installed in the women's locker room. At Curves, you'll move around a circuit of hydraulic resistance machines that have been designed to work with women's bodies and promote weight loss, protect against osteoporosis, and deal with arthritis. An experienced trainer is always nearby to help manage your machine maneuvering and your muscle making. Instead of fiddling with weight stacks and losing your momentum, the hydraulic machines use your body weight and fitness level to create resistance that matches your abilities, decreasing the risk of soreness or injury. Because traditional lift-and-lower motions create bulky muscles, each machine uses push-and-pull motions to create toned, lean muscles perfect for crushing a grapefruit without looking like you can.
The Rack boasts impressive lunch, dinner, sushi, and cocktail menus at both the Hyde Park and Brandon eateries. House favorites include the Bomber ($12.95–$14.95), a specialty sushi roll of cooked and uncooked delights (snow crab, avocado, and asparagus topped with salmon, tuna, and eel sauce) served with tempura chips. Or blast through hunger with the Volcano roll’s cucumber, crab, cream cheese, avocado, eel sauce, and spicy mayo ($12.95–$13.95). Fusion appetizers, salads, sandwiches, single rolls, and chef special entrees round out The Rack's eclectic menus into a rolling billiard ball made of sticky rice.
Though the staff at The Brass Tap take beer very seriously, they've nevertheless turned drinking it into a game. Customers get a single point for each of the pub's 300 craft beers that they try. At certain milestones, they'll receive gift cards or a t-shirt with a new title, all the way from rookie to beer guru?and, if they conquer the challenge three times, they can win the coveted Repeat Offender 900 shirt.
Thankfully, the bar makes it easy to sort through its 300 beers. The menu is divided up into different beer types, which go deeper than the basic delineation of ale vs. lager vs. water that's been dyed amber. Guests can peruse listings of bottled barleywines and porters, or have a resident beer aficionado fill their mug with an imported brew on draft. Beer even permeates the food: the chipotle mustard on the house-baked pretzels is made with pale ale, just as the cheese dip is made with Samuel Adams. All of the burgers, sandwiches, and pretzel pizzas also have recommended drink pairings.
As for entertainment, each Brass Tap books a variety of local bands throughout the week. Trivia, bingo, and happy hours find regular spots on the schedule, and some locations have outdoor patios and cigars for purchase.
At Shapes Total Fitness for Women, the instructors strive to make working out as easy and fun as possible. That's why?in addition to providing access to free weights and cardio machines?they host more than 67 group training sessions per week, with options ranging from yoga to indoor cycling. That way, clients can get in shape using whatever means work best for them. Some of the eclectic classes have zero impact on joints, too?specifically the ones in the on-site pool. These include 45-minute water cardio classes and versatile aqua aerobics sessions, which are ideal for athletes with arthritis and other special needs. The most completely flexible workouts at the gym, however, are the personal training sessions. The one-on-one workouts are designed purely around the client's goals, whether she wants to lose weight or grow strong enough to carry her favorite dumbbell home with her.