In 1987, indoor climbing was as unpopular in the Seattle area as breeding labradoodles. But Vertical World––a pioneer indoor climbing gym––introduced the city to the up-and-coming sport of rock climbing in a controlled environment. Since its inception, the gym has expanded to three other locations in Everett, Tacoma, and Redmond, the latter hosting eastside climbers for more than 20 years.
A team of experienced route creators challenges climbers with more than 200 bouldering, lead, or top-rope routes in a wide variety of difficulty levels. The gym hosts competitive youth teams that have gone on to national or world tournaments. The gym's staff of climbers and guides also leads outdoor excursions that build confidence and teach novices how to identify a rock wall in the wild.
Northwest Curves, a fitness center designed exclusively for women, provides members with a 30-minute circuit of hydraulic resistance machines designed for an efficient cardio and strength training workout. During the training, attendees can burn up to 500 calories and work each major muscle group to work toward individual fitness goals. An experienced coach is always nearby to teach and motivate participants, and a soundtrack of fun, upbeat music cues participants to move on to the next station. Instead of fiddling with weight stacks and losing momentum, the hydraulic machines use your own body weight and fitness level to create resistance. Each machine uses push-and-pull motions to create toned, lean muscles perfect for crushing a grapefruit without looking like you can.
Whether inside the gym hopping on and off plyometric boxes or outside lifting weights when the sun shines, the trainers at Westsound CrossFit keep routines interesting with ever-changing daily workouts. It’s all part of the CrossFit system, which is designed to employ all muscle groups while staving off the boredom of repetition. Intense classes feature functional movements—such as lifting, pushing, and pulling—that prep participants for all sports, work, and daily activities.
Dancers of all ages can mix and match styles with a series of classes, which include the dramatic musical theater, the percussive rhythms of tap dance, the swinging-waltzing-fox-trotting of ballroom dance, hip-hop, Irish step dance, ballet, modern dance, parent-toddler dance (18 months to 3.5 years), and nurturing baby (baby). Rediscover a favorite form from memories past or try a style that's gone untapped with classes scheduled throughout the afternoon and evening seven days a week. Unlimited enrollment lets you get greedy with your rhythmic workout and add an entire arsenal of moves to your leg bones.
Married for nine years and a photography team for five, Brian and Jennifer Hartman bring an artistic touch and approach to their on-location photography. Employing a photojournalistic style and dramatic lighting, they capture solo subjects and groups during posed and candid moments, earning critical acclaim from the Artistic Guild of the Wedding Photojournalist Association and The Knot and placing images in the pages of Elle and Seattle Bride magazines.
Not content to simply point and shoot, the Hartmans light compositions using chiaroscuro or high-exposure natural lighting and often accentuate subjects with extreme angles, forced perspective, or unique natural surroundings. They shoot in vibrant color or black and white, and can edit photos to enhance colors or, by request, replace each subject’s face with Winston Churchill’s. Though the Hartmans use professional tools, they’re glad to help students break into photography via ultra-accessible devices such as the iPhone—following in the footsteps, they note, of Annie Leibovitz, who endorsed the iPhone’s camera on NBC Nightly News in 2011. When not conducting on-location sessions, Brian also leads large-scale workshops in which they pass on their knowledge through graphic slideshows and hands-on training.
Founder Neil Buckland grew up with a Canon FTb in his hands, and as an adult, parlayed his affinity for striking images into a lucrative career in advertising design and branding. But something wasn’t right. As time passed, Buckland was spending more and more time finding excuses to ditch work and take some snapshots. Finally in 2008, he gave into his true calling, ditched the workaday world of office life, and founded REDred Photo School & Studio.
Today, his accessible workshops and classes help students learn some of the trickier intricacies of modern photography—from understanding what exposure is and how to manipulate it to how to rejigger a DSLR’s auto-modes so that it actually takes decent pictures. Other classes cover more technical concepts such as studio lighting, while still others such as The Art of Photography focus on the aesthetic side. Buckland’s studio is available to rent for personal or commercial photo shoots of any kind, and, for additional fees, the staff can augment such shoots with make-up services, lighting assistance, models for hire, and old-fashioned pterodactyl-powered cameras.