At the tender age of 6, Mark Cafiero received his first camera. Though it was broken and filled with cartoons his father had drawn of Mark and his sisters, that camera sparked an early interest in photography. Since then, that spark has erupted into a full-fledged passion, leading Mark to become a professional photographer who has snapped photos for hundreds of clients, including celebrities and professional athletes. To share his spark with others, Mark founded Chimpsy, an resource that helps photographers of all experience levels calibrate their skills with casual in-person and online classes.
Available in more than 30 cities across the nation, Chimpsy's two-hour crash course features a hands-on shooting session and campfire-style presentation on topics ranging from camera anatomy to photo composition. For home study, online classes help photographers—beginners and aspiring pros alike—get more from their pictures through two-hour video tutorials that cover photo-editing software, shooting tips and techniques, and steps on how to build a photography business. From the comfort of their bedrooms, students can watch these professional photographer-led tutorials live or replay previously recorded sessions. Along with instructional classes, Chimpsy offers shutterbugs a place to submit photos for contests with monthly prizes or for feedback from peers, pros, and sentient picture frames.
At the Colorado Academy of Music and Dance, experienced instructors cultivate students' passion for the performing arts. Kids aged 2?4 hone their coordination, balance, and rhythm skills in group dance classes that include tap, jazz, and ballet programs, and adults burn calories in adult-only sessions. Students of any age can build their endurance and flexibility with high-energy Brazilian capoeira?a mix of martial arts, dance, and acrobatics?sessions that also include instruction on speaking basic Portuguese and playing Afro-Brazilian instruments. The facility's sprung floors with professional marley surfaces help prevent injury and protect joins by absorbing dancers' impact.
The academy's university-trained music teachers conduct private lessons for youngsters seeking to learn the guitar, study singing, or play the mandolin at a local battle of the medieval bands. Parents can sit in on the lesson or access complimentary wireless Internet as they relax in the spacious waiting area.
After spending years working for Dominos Pizza, Vince Schmuhl decided that he could do a better job of preparing and delivering quality pies to people's homes. He challenged the nationwide chain's dominance in the region by founding the first Blackjack Pizza on June 29, 1983.
Although delivering oven-fresh pies within 30 minutes was still a major goal for Schmuhl, he emphasized the importance of quality ingredients using sauce made from freshly packed tomatoes as well as hand-tossed dough that never sees the inside of a freezer or cryogenic chamber. This dedication to quality and speedy service allowed Blackjack Pizza to not only survive, but also thrive over the decades. The chain now includes more than 40 stores operating in four different states.
In addition to offering seven signature pies, Blackjack Pizza also allows customers to build their own order from crust to toppings. A choice of up to four savory, tangy, and piquant sauces form the base, topped with any of the 3 available cheeses, 7 meats, and 10 freshly diced vegetables. Regardless of the toppings, Blackjack Pizza respects the potential danger of food allergies by ensuring that none of its pies ever contain traces of MSG, peanuts, or peanut oil.
Featured in such publications as the Wall Street Journal, BenchPrep's educational network prepares students to undertake difficult exams with confidence through innovative and interactive online content. Students can enlist in a field of study from BenchPrep's courses, forged with the aid of McGraw-Hill, Pearson, Wiley, and photocopies of Athena's classroom cheat sheets, to gain access to the site's comprehensive content, reporting, and score-analysis tools. Students cultivate their academic knowledge with content-specific reading material, videos, notes, bookmarks, customizable quizzes, and practice tests.
BenchPrep's innovative cross-platform technology allows online students to begin their studies on a web-based computer and continue their lessons in transit via iPhone, Android, or iPad. Lesson plans can also be downloaded to a smartphone device through the BenchPrep app to facilitate on-the-go learning without an Internet connection, handy for studying in signal-destroying subways or while time traveling to pre-WiFi locales. Upon completion, students receive a digital completion certificate.
The Colorado School of Acting's directors, Elizabeth Horne and Troy Horne, combine their dual loves of stage and screen to impart acting chops to students of all ages and experience levels. Elizabeth—who has acted in more than 25 plays and 12 movies—and Troy—a sitcom and film producer who appeared on Broadway in the Tony Award–winning musical Rent—staff their team with veteran acting instructors, each of whom have more than 10 years of experience in the biz. During their classes, they teach students to focus and perform under a variety of circumstances, with workshops in subjects ranging from improv and commercial work to audition skills and voiceovers. They welcome kids for acting summer camps, where they introduce fundamentals of memorization, character development, and rehearsal. Instructors also help thespians develop with more advanced training, including filmmaking summer camps for kids, and a certificate program for all age levels that requires students to audition or present a signed permission slip from David Schwimmer.
Designed as one of the tallest, steepest man-made climbing destinations in the Rocky Mountain region, ROCK'n & JAM'n challenges climbers new and old with a medley of nook- and cranny-laden walls. During the two-hour introductory lesson, ROCK'n & JAM'n's full-time, web-slinging instructors teach aspiring mountain goats the basics of belaying (a term used to describe rope management between climbing partners), safety, and how to avoid rookie climbing errors such as ignoring gravity and walking vertically up the wall. After two hours of training, you'll be free to spend the rest of the day taking on challenges such as Boulder or the neck-craning Front Canyon.