Diver's World, Northwest Pennsylvania's only NAUI Worldwide Pro Platinum Dive Center, offers sub-aquatic explorers state-of-the-art training and instruction in the safe confines of an on-site, heated pool. Owner Linda Huston and her brigade of divemasters boil down 90 years of combined underwater wayfaring into each scuba lesson. The Try Scuba Lesson functions as a gateway course, allowing nautical neophytes to learn the ropes, then gear up, sink down, and rise again to the safe, less exciting surface. Held concurrently with the center's more extensive diving courses, this fins-on lesson requires students to bring both a bathing suit and towel, with the remaining equipment provided.
With an arsenal of workout regimens and classes, Willie Blanks—brother of Tae-Bo creator Billy Blanks—carries on the family tradition as he and his team of trainers lead healthy hopefuls to their goals. Students of the Wil-li-netics program are instructed in positive thinking and self-motivation as well as physical strength, giving them the mental wherewithal to pursue their fitness ambitions and telekinetically deflect cannon-propelled hot dogs. Individual attention comes in the form of a series of personalized routines, which may feature step aerobics, kickboxing, dance, or hand-weight workouts. An approximately one-hour massage (a $50 value) softens tight tendons, and a series of 15-minute life-coaching sessions (a $12.50 value per session) tones thought patterns into sleeker, more positive outlooks. Each gym membership entitles trainees to as many classes as their de-jellified limbs desire (up to a $60 value).
Since 1913, the Erie Philharmonic has been on a melody-driven mission to enrich its surrounding communities with live concerts and stirring performances. Tchaikovsky's symphony begins by spotlighting one of America's most successful composers, Christopher Theofanidis, as he conducts "Rainbow Body," an evocative movement inspired by medieval mystic Hildegard of Bingen and her propensity to lead chants at high-school football games. Next, guitarist Ana Vidovic continues her drag race to the top of the classical genre by cramming the swaying, syncopated rhythms of a Spanish concerto into open ears. Pathétique closes the evening with a spirited rendition of Tchaikovsky's final symphonic piece. Fueled by the juxtaposition of varying emotions, Pathétique tows listeners to the top of triumphant crests, only to yank them back into the darkened valleys of personal upheaval and frustration over uncertain weather forecasts.
Claytopia's spacious studio gives children and adults a place to test their creative chops through the medium of clay painting. A wide variety of blank, premade clay bisques offer myriad canvasses upon which the fevered imaginations of patrons may be projected. Bisque prices range from $1 to $50 per piece, and an hourly fee applies ($6 per hour for adults, $4 per hour for children under 13) to cover unlimited use of all paints, glazes, stencils, stamps, and other instruments of artistic creation, including philosophical advice and painting tips from the talented staff. Possible paintable forms include coffee mugs, plates, picture frames, and Disney figurines. All bisques and paints are food, microwave, and dishwasher safe. After painting and glazing their piece of choice, art makers should allow a week for the bisque to be fired in the kiln and laid off from its part-time job before picking up the newly hardened artistic creation.
Erie’s first and only power-yoga studio, yogaErie was voted Best Yoga Studio in 2010 by Erie Times-News readers. Taught by registered or certified instructors in a room heated to a gentle 85 degrees, most of the classes on the schedule are fit for all levels of experience, from the twistable-as-taffy to the first timer. The studio’s basic class focuses on building a strong yoga foundation, so yoga architects can develop a solid base of skyscraping poses. Throughout the class, students focus on their breath, alignment, and the mental and physical strength needed to box up unnecessary burdens and heave them out a window. In the all-levels classes, an instructor leads a power flow that offers both modifications and challenges so practitioners can pull back, push forward, or slide sideways as needed. Gentle directional lighting throughout the space fosters a warm glow on the walls that mysteriously attaches to the faces of students and continues to glow long after class has concluded.