On any given day at Branford Academy of Hair & Cosmetology, you may find student hair stylists bent over mannequin heads during cosmetology courses or makeup-artists-in-training transforming models into skeletons and wood nymphs as part of their makeup artistry certification. At the school's spa, visitors can receive relaxing facials, expert haircuts, and other beauty services from students who work under the watchful eye of a certified aesthetician and instructor.
This fort of fitness caters to workout-a-holics and common folks alike with a wide spectrum of physique-sculpting classes designed to calibrate cardiovascular systems and mold muscle. Develop strength and self-confidence in the cardio-kickboxing classes, or mindfully stretch sinew in Ishta yoga to prepare for a 24-hour charades marathon. Alternately, dance-infused Zumba allows students to cut calories while cutting a rug to Latin beats. For students seeking an athletic total-body workout, New Haven Strength & Fitness provides the popular Les Mills Bodyattack and Bodypump classes, which combine sport exercises with pumping music and dynamic instructors. Most classes are of the drop-in variety unless otherwise noted in the course description or on the online schedule.
The recently relocated Breathing Room strives to create a yogic community by curating a selection of Vinyasa-based classes for students of all skill levels. Led by a dedicated staff of instructors that includes a massage therapist and a former gymnast, Mixed-Level Vinyasa sessions loosely adhere to a defined sequence of postures, each connected to the next by dynamic transitions. Attentive instructors help pupils tailor the class's difficulty by modifying too-hard poses or adding deeper stretches and 100-yard dashes. Iyengar-Inspired Vinyasa classes emphasize students' postural alignment, alternating between sustained stretches and sporadic bursts of flowing, breath-based sequences. Jazz Flow Vinyasa keeps fingers snapping by playing smooth, melodic music over the practice space's speakers. In addition, Breathing Room accommodates attendees with onsite shower facilities and complimentary yoga mats, props, and blankets for students who can recite the Bill of Rights in Esperanto.
During 90-minute sessions, Bikram Yoga's experienced yogis lead side-by-side beginning to advanced students through a challenging series of 26 postures and two breathing exercises in a studio heated to 105 degrees. Torsos twist into various stress-reducing asanas to increase flexibility, tone muscles, and boost concentration, all while the heat draws toxins out of pores. Like a mom at a child's soccer game, instructors proffer post-workout sliced fruit and advice on how to properly re-tie your shoes. Students should come to class with bottled water, a sticky mat, and two towels, but all are available to rent or buy at the studio. After each class, body-benders can take advantage of the on-site locker rooms and showers. 25 classes are held each week, including one in Spanish and one in Pig Latin.
Though many merely fantasize about making art into a career, professional artist Bella Zadore has lived the dream for more than a decade. Though she's been sharing her talent since 2002, when she began selling masterpieces at trade shows, it wasn't until 2012 that she created Art Plus Studio and started teaching BYOB art classes. Sessions focus on various crafts, such as drawing live models, fashioning colorful clocks, painting wine-glasses, or painting still-life scenes on 11"x14" canvases. The classes are geared toward apprentices and require no previous experience—just a bottle of wine, your favorite snacks, and good friends or whoever was available.
Since 2002, Rock House's system of musical instruction—which comprises DVDs, books, and Web-based lesson support—has helped aspiring rock stars to master strumming guitars, plucking basses, and tickling keyboards to a variety of different genres. Several renowned blues, rock, and metal artists have participated in the Rock House program, including members of Megadeth, The Gary Hoey Band, and Parliament-Funkadelic. In addition to their training materials, Rock House also certifies instructors at local music centers so they can conduct one-on-one private lessons tailored to enhancing students' strengths and neutralizing their weaknesses, such as the inability to destroy a guitar on the first smash.
The expert climbing instructors at CT Rock Gym guide cliff-scalers through the ins and outs of rock climbing and belaying during a 90-minute On Belay! class. Teachers introduce students to climbing equipment, movements and techniques, and the basics of belaying, which involves clambering up overhangs while tethered via rope to a partner. Two automatic belay machines help solo climbers achieve the heights of dynamic duos, and the staff ensures safety by checking each person prior to their belaying foray and leading everyone through typhoon disaster drills. A two-week membership allows patrons to develop their climbing prowess by exploring a bouldering area, which includes a cave, and shimmying up artfully designed rope paths that rotate every 2.5 months—the time it takes to hatch a rhinoceros.