Bearing the titles of Master of Photography and Photographic Craftsman from Professional Photographers of America, David and Ally McKay embody the keen vision and aesthetic prowess that separated good photographers from great ones. They share these skills during classes at McKay Photography Academy, where they train eyes, fingers, and imaginations to work in tandem as a snapshooting dream machine. Their classes help aspiring photographers progress from neophytes to seasoned pros; the Beginning Digital Photography course teaches students to harness the intricacies of their instruments, and the Pro Academy offers inside tips on how to successfully snap wedding portraits, pose recent grads, or tease out candid emotions. When not busy instructing the next generation of shutterbugs, David and Ally also devise photo safaris, which send small teams of photographers to capture shots of famed landmarks including San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge; the Lincoln Memorial of Washington, DC; or Yosemite's 60-foot statue of Yogi Bear.
Keisha Gervais, the artistic director of Genesis Dance Unlimited, doesn't just teach the rote steps of familiar dances. She also actively creates new blends of styles. Her Caribbean heritage inspires her to add Latin, West Indian, and African tinges to the dances she teaches the school's youth company, the members of which show off their skills at various competitions, photo shoots, workshops, and other events. You don't have to be a company member to participate, however. The school also teaches kids ages 7 to 18 dance styles including jazz, modern, and ballet during drop-in classes.
The chefs at Go Cook Vegan value healthy eating that is also healthy for the environment. As the name implies, they craft menus that are entirely vegetarian and vegan, and they use pesticide-free, organic produce sourced from local farmers' markets and co-ops to do it. Their menu includes nutrient-packed wraps, salads, appetizers, and small plates, but they accommodate custom requests as well, whipping up vegetarian and vegan dishes to suit all palates.
However, the chefs don't confine themselves to the kitchen: They also travel throughout Landover and Columbia, Maryland, to lead custom, small-group cooking classes. The sessions bring friends together while introducing them to an array of vegan and vegetarian cooking techniques. Sessions might focus on growing vegetables or cooking vegan or gluten-free meals, or introduce kids to fun and simple cooking techniques beyond making Play-doh noodles. Each class ends with a farm-to-table gourmet meal, during which guests are welcome to sips of complimentary wine and mimosas.