Where there is human life, there is dance. At United Dance Academy, the instructors take an anthropological approach to their adult and children's dance classes by teaching styles from all over the globe. The instructors lead international styles such as the Brazilian samba and African dance, imparting their worldly skills to adults of all ability levels. In addition to perfecting their technique, students can enhance their endurance and ability to bench press a salsa partner in fitness-driven classes such as barre and Latin-based Zumba classes.
Kids age 3 and older can begin their dance voyages with classical styles such as ballet and jazz, or more contemporary styles such as hip-hop. The staff also lends their talents to parties and private events with Bollywood or belly-dance performances, and conduct personal Zumba and Brazilian samba lessons.
When Karen and David first met at the Bikram College of India in Los Angeles, they could barely believe that they had grown up within spitting distance of one another in their hometown of Houston, Texas. Through their intense nine-week, 500 hours of training, they grew closer, swapping stories about the unfulfilling corporate lives they had left behind. It wasn't until David returned to Texas and Karen to Portland that they realized they wanted to spend the rest of their lives together. After Karen returned to her home state to be with David, the pair embarked on the biggest adventure of their lives: scouring the earth for scissors big enough to cut the grand-opening ribbon to Bikram Yoga Dallas in tandem.
The duo outfitted their spacious 2,300-square-foot sanctuary with soft, eco-friendly flooring and gigantic windows that flood the heated studio with sunlight. They corralled a troupe of passionate, Bikram-certified instructors to help lead the 90-minute classes that strengthen students with 26 postures. To keep the space community-oriented, Karen and David offer special events such as new student orientations, posture workshops, yoga challenges and celebration parties.
While Lisa Carmen manages the day-to-day operations of The Burlesque Experience, her alter ego, Carmen Diablo, teaches women of all abilities to express themselves through movement during her esteem-boosting burlesque classes. She grew up practicing more formal styles of dance, such as ballet, tap, and jazz, which she now channels into her more sultry steps, demonstrating the art of seduction through teasing technique and choreographed group numbers. During her steamy workshops and parties, ladies learn to develop their own stage personas and tempt onlookers with a bit of skin and tongue-in-cheek dance steps that often elicit as many chuckles as they do blushes. The full courses culminate in a performance—complete with stage lighting and props—for which gals are encouraged to gather an audience of their friends and any jurors at their upcoming small-claims court hearings.
When hairstylist Shelton Ogle opened his first salon at 21, he quickly realized the secret to maximizing the number of gorgeous haircuts he could render: a well-trained staff. So two years later, he opened his beauty school, Ogle School of Hair, Skin & Nails. Now in its 40th year, the school leverages its accrued experience and knowledge to teach aesthetic arts ranging from skincare to hair coloring. In the school’s salons, students practice on the public, cutting hair into elegant, customized shapes, texturizing strands with relaxers and perms, and highlighting nails with manicures, rather than with rings with built-in strobe lights. A testament to Shelton’s success in building his vision, he was even able to develop a weekly show for PBS about the beauty industry.
The playing field is level and accented in aqua at LOA Fitness for Women, where health is a community endeavor. The gym houses special strength-training equipment with 5-pound pin-adjusted weights that, by virtue of being lighter, prevent injury and foster healthy muscle development. On-site babysitting services and an all-female crew of personal trainers similarly break down physical, practical, and emotional barriers to women's well-being. Eleven types of group movement classes, including Zumba and Pilates, re-enforce the feeling of sweat-bonded camaraderie that permeates the ranks of treadmills and bikes, and nutrition counselors equip women with the skills to make healthy choices at home.
LOA Fitness also offers team training, which incorporate equipment such as kettle bells, balls, and sandbags, and group fitness classes, which include kickboxing, yoga-lates, Zumba, and much more. During automated spa treatments, women step into tranquil chambers that rejuvenate muscles and skin.
Pinot's Palette is less an art studio than it is a way for people to enjoy a libation-filled night out with friends, one that happens to include a painting project. The painting sessions evoke adults' inner artists whether they have any painting experience or not, encouraging conversation and good cheer while painting and sipping. Some locations feature a BYOB policy while others serve beer and wine from the bar. Each session features a predetermined painting?from flowers and animals to known classics such as Van Gogh's Starry Night?which each participant tackles from their own artistic angle under the guidance of an experienced instructor.