Donna Park's passion for performance preceded the bulk of her vocabulary: at 4 years old, she got into the habit of correcting the dance steps of the other children in her recitals. Her unquenchable thirst for performance led her through a theater minor in college to the discovery of film, then onto a career as a director, writer, and producer of television specials and commercials. Now, calling upon contacts developed during her 20-year career, she brings working professionals to Texas Creative Arts Academy to share their hard-earned wisdom with the young.
The Academy's year-round programs gather students aged 4 to 18 to celebrate their interest in dance, art, film, and melodrama. Aspiring artisans learn the basics of canvas and garment craftsmanship in Hi Ho! Van Gogh! and Design Fashion Diva! camps. Teachers unlock high notes in students' vocal ranges with voice lessons and train the eyes of future cameramen in video-production classes. Piano and guitar instruction empowers kids to realize a future where spontaneous public musical numbers don’t just happen on stage.
Velocity's coaches, many of whom are trained in kinesiology and exercise science, lead heart-pounding fitness programs for adults and children ages 8 and older. The one-hour movement sessions gather an ever-shifting array of exercises calculated to increase kids' speed and agility and challenge grownups' coordination more than their offices' annual air-hockey-based performance reviews. Small groups of 15 people work to reach their peak performance level under the coach's custom-tailored tutelage. After the program, strengthened bodies may measure their tangible successes in greater endurance, improved metabolism, and an abandoned belief that stale Twizzler jousts counts as exercise.
At Coppell ATA/Karate for Kids, every student is given the tools they need to succeed in martial arts. Owner and fourth-degree black belt Christy Jackson, expects all of her students to work hard at building both strength and life skills. She and her team of black-belt instructors teach kids and adults tae kwon do and self-defense techniques.
The instructors are passionate about helping students flourish, which is something 13-year-old Andrea's mom can attest to. Andrea has down syndrome, but she is a black belt who is able to break a board with her foot and her hand. At first, her mom was wary about signing her up for martial-arts classes. Andrea had actually taken them before but didn't do very well. Yet at Coppell, the youth martial-arts instructors held her to a high standard, treating Andrea as a "student, not as someone with a disability," said her mom in a testimonial, and she was able to succeed.
The founders of Studio 108 Yoga, Eagan and Kim Wilson, lead a highly experienced team of instructors as they steep people in a serene space conducive for meditation. Kim and her cadre of seasoned yogis lead session of Gentle, Vinyasa, Restorative, Yin and Tantric Hatha Yoga, in a comfortable learning center that is warm enough for muscles to stretch safely without sustaining injury or insults from spiteful snowmen. In two rooms outfitted with sustainable bamboo flooring and custom murals, students can cycle through myriad classes or get advice from instructors on which version of yoga might best suit them.
Inside Studio 108 lies a separate body-toning facility: Elite Self Defense Training, which specializes in self-defense and kempo karate classes. Its black-belt instructors teach men, women, and children how to defend themselves against punches, knives, and guns. They also tailor their classes to suit each group, which might mean teaching children how to defend themselves against a bully or men how to protect themselves in a bar fight.
Surya Center for Yoga founder Lisa Marshall discovered yoga while she was pregnant, when she used the ancient practice as a way to calm and strengthen her body and create a better environment for her little-one-to-be. The Surya Center for Yoga community is available to students seven days a week, and they can drop in on classes in 10 distinct modalities, including sessions exclusively for beginners and all-levels classes. A stable of 10 certified instructors guides students through sessions such as a 60-minute gentle Hatha-style yoga class designed to calm the mind and reduce stress, or a Wednesday-night candlelight session that incorporates blocks, straps, and blankets to ease inflexible joints or injured limbs into position more gently than a lamb moves a Jenga block.
The closest ocean is hundreds of miles away, but you wouldn't know it once you've set foot on the grounds of Bahama Beach Club. Outside, competitors spike volleyballs on fourteen sand-covered courts and, during breaks in the action, order cocktails from a beach bar. It's all part of the club's summery theme. Once the victor has been crowned, teammates retire to a shaded deck to relax with sandwiches and tacos, flat-screen TVs, a beer garden, and, once a week, live music.