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.
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.
The bride stood under the photographer’s lights, resplendent in her wedding gown, as her family looked on from a distance. As she and her photographer, M. Chen, prepared for the shoot, she was handed a package—a prewedding gift from her soon-to-be husband. When she lifted the lid, she immediately burst into tears. Inside laid a photo of a great dane puppy—the dog she’d always wanted, which her husband planned to give her on their wedding day. As she ran to hug her mother, Mr. Chen ran after, shooting image after image, capturing the exact moment she fell into her mother’s arms. These quick reflexes have been honed through his nearly 30 years as a sports photographer and professional fly swatter, and he draws on photojournalistic techniques to compose a traditional portrait or snap once-in-a-lifetime, candid moments.
Regardless of specific approaches, he consistently draws from the landscape style of Ansel Adams and the dramatic lighting techniques of Monte Zucker. His work as a photojournalist and private portrait photographer has earned him more than 300 publications in the glossy pages of New York Daily News, Popular Photography, ESPN Magazine, and Professional Photographers of America magazine. When not snapping on-location engagement shoots, family portraits, or boudoir sessions, he passes on his technique through traveling photography seminars, hands-on workshops, and by gently tapping the heads of his students. Though formerly designed only for professional-level photographers, these classes instill confidence and camera basics in beginners. As he frequently finds new class examples and takes feedback from his students, Mr. Chen frequently fine-tunes the curriculum after each seminar.