Classes in Decatur

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Raised in a family that often gathered for social meals, Amanda J. Smith picked up an interest in cooking at an early age. Later, she cultivated her talents at Le Cordon Bleu in Orlando and studied under chefs such as CulinAero's Doug Kieley, who she names as a mentor. After deciding to launch her own business, Amanda outfitted a mobile catering trailer with a gourmet kitchen capable of food preparation onsite at parties or during highway drag races.

"I have everything I need at my fingertips to create all kinds of fresh, flavorful meals," she told Southern Family magazine this year. Those meals range from bacon-wrapped beef tenderloins and ornate spreads of sliced ham to petite cheesecake bites topped with berries. Amanda also sets up culinary stations at events so guests can select their own hors d'oeuvres or sample sweets arranged around a chocolate fountain.

Looney Rd
Athens,
AL
US

Musicology School of Music offers lessons in dozens of instruments, from guitar to mandolin and singing to trombone. Instructors hold classes in 12 private teaching studios, each built with sound-proofing materials to enhance privacy and concentration. Of course, part of a full musical education is learning to play with others, so the music experts also hold larger gatherings in their group classroom and recital hall.

They focus on multiple aspects of the musical process, providing amps, full drum kits with pads, and other accompaniment instruments. They also teach students the art of recording music, incorporating various types of music-mixing and playing software throughout their program.

160 Castle Drive
Madison,
AL
US

Experienced photo gurus Doug Box and Randy Kerr impart practical photo skills to curious shutterbugs during engaging seminars that have appeared across the States and in eight countries abroad. Doug Box, author of myriad photography-technique books, is one of 13 Kodak mentors and is the Executive Director of the Texas Professional Photographers Association. His co-teacher, Randy Kerr, heads World Photographic, which uses photography as a vehicle for illuminating humanitarian and environmental topics. Both men have been teaching photography classes for years and help amateurs take photos that capture piercing looks, toothy smiles, and elusive dodo sightings.

301 Boulevard South SW
Huntsville,
AL
US

Inspired by the artistic prowess of her mother, Debbie Russler made her first brushstroke two decades ago and has gone on to create vivid pieces of art in a variety of mediums. Intent on unlocking the same joy in others, Debbie now guides students through the finer points of paintsmanship in three-hour classes. Armed with a canvas and all required supplies, students follow her expert instruction to capture landscapes, still-lifes, or portraits of portraits of Abraham Lincoln.

1030 Old Monrovia Road Northwest
Huntsville,
AL
US

At Riviera Fitness Centers of Madison—a women-only fitness haven—patrons tackle Les Mills group fitness classes, strength and cardio equipment, and one-on-one personal training, all designed to make gals feel comfortable as they forge toward their fitness goals. The onsite childcare staff supervises tykes so moms can cartwheel off to classes such as BodyAttack and Zumba. During Zumba classes, the studio transforms into a club-like dance-party atmosphere, accented with colored lights and thumping Latin-inspired beats. The instructors lead the easy-to-follow dance steps on an elevated stage, allowing everyone to see the right moves instead of getting discouraged and reverting to the Hokey Pokey. Boot-camp sessions fuse cardio and resistance training to tone physiques as campers wield exercise equipment including kettlebells, barbells, and bosu balls.

In addition to getting fit during group training, ladies can seek one-on-one fitness advice during personal training sessions, which are tailored to suit their goals. Riviera Fitness Center also offers tanning, bronzing recently toned bodies for the beach or flexing in front of a mirror.

2211 University Dr NW
Huntsville,
AL
US