Leo Passage came to the United States in 1958, traveling with his wife Lenie and pair of shears. Leo was a rising star in the European hairdressing world, and had already gained noticed for his cuts that were a little more creative than most. He drew inspiration from the Bahaus principles of art and design as a starting point for his hair styles. His creative approach to personal style won him 95 hair dressing competitions and the title of World Supreme Champion and Hairdresser of the Year at New York's famed International Beauty Show in 1961. A year later, Leo decided to pass on his knowledge to a new generation of hairdressers, and founded the first Pivot Point Academy on the north side of Chicago.
Now, more than 50 years after its founding, Pivot Point's schools still embrace Leo's creative vision. Instructors arm students with top notch hair cutting and aesthetic skills, as well as an impeccable eye of style. The schools invite clients to come experience just how talented their students are with services such as haircuts, manicures, and pedicures, the cure for a listless foot.
Seasoned stage and screen actor Antoine McKay founded McKay Arts to give fresh faces the courage to step into the limelight and provide established artists with a place to cultivate and hone their craft. Antoine, an alumnus of The Second City's theaters in Detroit and Chicago, trains and manages actors and artists and also provides them with creative outlets in the form of regular performances at the Athenaeum Theatre, Pressure Comedy Café, and other local venues. He instructs students of all ages and skill levels in classes of approximately 12 students or in private coaching sessions, which give patrons ample attention and endless attempts to guess who is knocking at hypothetical doors.
The Akemi Fitness Method studio hosts a mix of alternative workout classes that incorporates a range of movements to tone muscles, improve equilibrium, and enhance endurance. Inspired by the results-oriented Lotte Berk Method, this workout style engages students in core exercises, dance, yoga, and light weight training during a variety of classes. Laura Baginski of Time Out Chicago notes that the Akemi barre class caused her to "walk out feeling taller, leaner," thanks to its combination of ballet barre exercises, Pilates, and free weights. Cardio dance-fusion classes combine elements from ballet, hip-hop, kickboxing, and yoga, adding in cardiovascular exercises to burn fat and light resistance training to sculpt frames until they achieve the angular glisten of a Roman statue. An hour of the arms, abs and booty session firms appendages, six-packs, and seats. With classes held throughout the day, six days a week, Akemi's calendar accommodates students with all types of schedules.
Founder Malik Turley funnels her passion for family into Hip Circle Studio, a center privy to the needs and hobbies of both parents and little ones. Each dance-based Zumba session aims to foster fettle in exercisers of all ages and levels of familiarity with the hokey pokey. Classic Zumba choreographs Latin-inspired steps to the beat of international tunes, igniting 45–60 minutes of calorie burn. With less impact, Zumba Gold's simple moves are tailored to those recovering from injuries as well as anyone returning to exercise after courageously breaking up with an overbearing recliner. Malik also leads domestic dance troupes through Family Zumba!, where the floor calls parents and kids to shake for fun. Children under 18 and robots convincingly sucking their thumbs can attend Family Zumba! at no extra charge. Baby-Wearing Zumba welcomes wee ones in slings or carriers and their guardians to work out together, and each class page lists a continually updated schedule.
The experienced instructors at Dharma Yoga Evanston—some influenced by the teachings of yoga superstar Sri Dharma Mittra—facilitate physical challenges and spiritual awakenings during classical Hatha yoga classes and special events such as Sanskrit courses. Like evening newscasts, yoga classes last between 60 and 90 minutes and explore the benefits of deep-breathing techniques. Dharma Gentle instructors welcome beginners with a series of gentle, traditional poses that focuses the mind while working to strengthen muscles. Students can progress through Dharma I, II, III, and IV, a study that culminates in advanced moves such as headstands and backbends. The studio also hosts Anusara-inspired routines whose mindful moves melt stress and icebergs of tension.