Ten-year-old John refused to wear socks. His Asperger’s made him hypersensitive to touch and unpredictably violent with siblings and classmates. Four years on medication weren’t bringing the results his parents were hoping for, so they enrolled him at Brain Balance Achievement Centers, a network of therapeutic facilities aiming to assuage the symptoms of kids’ behavioral disorders without the use of pharmaceuticals. Within three months of starting his program, John’s tantrums lessened significantly, he became a member of the Boy Scouts, and his doctor approved eliminating his medication.
John’s journey is just one of many success stories shared by Brain Balance. Their programs strive to remedy the adverse effects of functional disconnection, a miscommunication between the two hemispheres of the brain, which they believe to be the root of conditions such as autism, dyslexia, and ADHD.
After an assessment of a child's physical and cognitive ability, a team of professionals designs a custom program of academic exercises, sensory-motor activities, and nutritional changes that can improve brain function. Along the way, continual feedback keeps families notified of the child’s progress. To achieve further awareness of developments in children’s neuroscience, Brain Balance partners with various research facilities such as New York’s F. R. Carrick Institute and the Children’s Autism Hope Project.
Turning Pointe Music & Dance is like a garden for artistic talents. Their instructors start cultivating dance students when they're just 3 years old, and as they progress, the fledgling dancers move on to more and more advanced techniques. The curriculum includes a four-level pre-professional program with technique classes that cover the finer points required of a well-rounded dancer. Turning Pointe Music & Dance's experts also teach music, and they work with adults during dance and fitness classes, such as Pilates.
Angie Acosta, founder of Queen City DanceOut, has a simple motto for her students: "If you're moving, you're doing it right." This encouraging, low-pressure attitude attracts people of all ages to her dance-inspired fitness classes, which meet at 18 public locations. Angie and her instructors aim to make exercise feel like a celebration and a refreshing break rather than a dreaded routine. To this end, their classes incorporate intuitive dance moves and invigorating music. DanceOut, the signature course, blends genres as diverse as swing, hip-hop, and reggae into a workout, relying on repetition and basic choreography to keep everyone grooving. Other highlights of the curriculum include the Latin rhythms of Zumba; the Dance Impact class, which fuses dance and kickboxing; and JamStrong, a mixture of core-conditioning, dance, and fun.
Community is a central aspect of every DanceOut class. As pupils practice their twirls, they can follow both the teacher and the Jam Crew—a team of regulars who help make the steps easy to follow and can assist fellow dancers. In addition to group workouts, instructors host skill workshops such as Booty Bootcamp, where attendees learn rump-shaking techniques and how to turn any chair into a rocking chair. They also put on performances and lead private classes for special events and parties.
Designed by golf legend Arnold Palmer, Birkdale Golf Club’s course transforms natural beauty into challenging obstacles, with 200 acres of rolling hills intersected by streams and framed by mature pines. The course’s bermuda fairways lie beyond elevation changes that give way to greenscapes festooned with ponds and deep, stone-lined bunkers that test players to use every club in their bags before desperately reaching for the oversized soup ladle. Once approach shots find the green, golfers must putt precisely atop the firm and true crenshaw bentgrass greens.
Birkdale Golf Club pampers players before and after rounds with a practice range and onsite tavern trimmed with rich wood hues and green leather barstools. The club also staffs a team of PGA pro instructors who school pupils in the arts of swinging and scorecard penmanship with private lessons and group clinics.
Course at a Glance: * Par 72 * Four sets of tees * Length of 7,013 yards from back tees * Course rating of 74.3 from back tees * Slope rating of 138 from back tees
As members of the United Professional Horseman’s Association and the American Saddlebred Horse Association, the husband-and-wife team of Brooke and Quintus VanderSpuy cultivate a nurturing environment for all levels of rider at their 35-acre equestrian facility, Lenux Stables & Riding Academy, Inc. The couple packs more than 20 years of professional riding experience into the English Saddleseat riding lessons that they lead and into the American Saddlebred show horses and Hackney ponies that they train. Whether their goals involve riding for shows, for pleasure, or for chasing down the rustlers who stole their prize steer, all new riders start out with private, half-hour lessons before advancing to semi-private instruction. Friends and family can watch the proceedings from the separate viewing room and lounge outfitted with free wi-fi, a kitchen area, and changing rooms.
A member of the Professional Photographers of America, Mimo Photography owner Michelle jump-started her photography career when she received a grant to document Parisian architecture. Today, she's traded the majesty of the Eiffel Tower for the miracle of life, specializing in newborn, baby, and maternity photography. She operates out of a natural light studio in her own home.