Within Bikram Yoga of Los Angeles' Covina studio, Dr. Vern Rollins helms a team of certified and passionate instructors who have taught thousands of classes and accrued hundreds of teacher-training hours. As the studio's temperature summits to 105 degrees with 40% humidity, these instructors model and explain poses, encourage deep breathing, and tiptoe around puddles. Thanks to their intimate knowledge of modifications, they capably assist students of all levels. Further, they maintain a flexible schedule of morning and evening classes that are 90 minutes apiece.
Bikram’s 26 poses and two breathing exercises work to engage the entire body with the strength and grace of a full-contact symphony-orchestra performance. Systematically isolating muscle groups one at a time, the poses begin on a mat and work up to a standing position, gradually building stamina and flexibility and jump-starting circulation. As waves of heat loosen limbs enough to make sea-anemone shadow puppets, the body begins to sweat and release toxins. The studio rents yoga mats and has onsite showers.
Room 2 Dance’s instructors help students of all levels hone their dancing skills through private and group lessons. They can teach students to salsa, introduce them to the world of ballroom dance, and more—even mixing up rotating Tuesday-night classes with everything from Argentine tango to a “Thriller” flash-mob routine. The studio’s two floating dance floors are easy on the joints, and the decor is easy on the eyes; the space boasts a vintage-meets-modern style with warm tones accented by splashes of deep red, antique armchairs, gilded mirrors, and strings of lights hanging from the ceiling.
Ben Chen has experienced his share of success in his nearly 30-year photography career?his work has been published in such publications as Cosmopolitan, The Los Angeles Times, and ESPN Magazine, and he has lent his expertise to some of the nation's largest corporations, including Procter & Gamble and The American Red Cross. In 2006, the photographer began to notice that more and more novices were purchasing complex DSLR cameras, and that gave him an idea. Chen decided to share his wealth of knowledge with aspiring photographers by creating the 4-Hour Newbie Photography Boot Camp, which teaches students how to shoot manually with their DSLRs and create artistic, professional-quality photos. Since then, more than 5,000 students in 20 cities throughout the country have benefited from these classes. In 2013, he acquiesced to student demand and created Part II of the class, which goes beyond photography basics by diving into post-production techniques. Nowadays, students can take both Part I and Part II in the same day, helping them go from student to master in less time than most action-movie montages.
Students in Modern Music School's international net of 70 locations get more than by-the-numbers technical training. Instead, the focus is on enjoying the art, and though the teachers are classically trained, their lesson plans home in on rock, jazz, funk, pop, or virtually any other genre. Beginners thrive in the laid-back, fun-first atmosphere, which encourages them to set their own pace on the path to stardom, both in practicing their instrument and in converting to an all-leather wardrobe. The school's highly individualized method readily lends itself to private lessons, and the band program not only helps fledgling stars strengthen their chosen style but also rounds up potential gigs when the group feels stage ready. Other performance opportunities are available at regularly staged concerts through the team program and every morning in students' own showers.
A gallery of masterpieces showcases stunningly virtuosic renderings?which are especially impressive considering they were created by kids. While fostering a friendly, cheerful atmosphere, instructors teach classical art skills to classes of up to 12 students at a time. During weekly classes, the skilled instructors demonstrate how to realistically illustrate animals, figures, and still-life scenes using traditional media. "Creativity follows mastery" is the KidsArt philosophy, so they designed the sort of program they imagine the old masters would have approved. Planting graphite sticks and paintbrushes in pupils' hands, instructors teach color mixing, show students how to break an image into its component parts, and instill necessary behaviors such as focus and patience. Programs include individualized drawing and painting lessons and special-topic workshops, such as clay sculpture, figure drawing, and Anime/cartooning.
After a course at Village Kitchen, accomplished chefs will inch closer to pro status, while those who've chopped more fingers than potatoes will have their clumsiness exorcised thanks to patient instruction from Village's enlightened gurus of all things edible. Classes are held every Saturday at 10:30 a.m. (the classes are also offered one Wednesday a month at 6 p.m.), while the theme varies from week to week. On April 10, learn to master the pressure cooker to easily turn out incredible delights like coq au vin with button mushrooms, or discover the joys of the spring harvest on April 24 with a complete tutorial in a four-course seasonal feast with salmon medallions, baked gnocchi, and cherry-chocolate gelato. On May 8, harness the subtle power of Indian spices to create tandoori shrimp, curried salmon with cinnamon rice and golden raisins, and warm rice pudding; or craft the perfect wine appetizers (you'll make five), like scallop ceviche with melon and red-onion asparagus quesadillas, on May 22. You'll eat everything you make and get a beverage, so no one escapes hungry. Classes are limited to 18 people, so when you find the apple class of your human eye, call to schedule before it fills up.