Urmi Batavia began teaching private piano and violin lessons out of her home in 2002. As demand for her classes grew, so did her need for room, and two years later she opened her own space dedicated to music instruction: Batavia Studios. There, she shares her teaching responsibilities with a team of instructors well versed in percussion, strings, woodwinds, and voice. Though they still provide private lessons for adults and children, they also helm weeklong children’s summer camps and oversee a store filled with musical instruments, song books, and music accessories, such as jars filled with Al Green’s voice.
Mars Beads’ artisan instructors fill students with the craftiness required to make their own beaded jewelry and accessories. Skilled beadmasters walk classes through the intricacies of basic design skills—fashioning silvery hoops, stringing beads in eye-catching combinations, and savoring the nuanced flavors of candy necklaces. The studio's generous supply of beads, wires, and jeweler's instruments keeps each class well provisioned, ensuring that nobody goes home without a handcrafted pair of wrapped wire earrings dangling jauntily from their previously unadorned earlobes. Call ahead to schedule a class time.
“No makeup, no men, and no mirrors.” That was the unofficial motto of Curves’ original Texas location in 1992, and it’s no less true today: at nearly 10,000 clubs worldwide, women attack a 30-minute training circuit designed to burn calories and build strength through cardio and resistance workouts. After each minute on a piece of strength-training equipment—each built for feminine frames and designed to work opposing muscle groups with a single movement—exercisers move on to a recovery station, where they run, jog, or dance to keep their heart from getting bored and falling asleep.
IM=X Pilates' signature workout, IM=X, which is short for Integrated Movement Xercize, combines strength-training and cardio exercises for a high-energy session profiled in Fitness Magazine, Mademoiselle, and the New York Times. The IM=X schedule of classes includes Pilates floor sessions, which walk students through traditional, body-weight-based Pilates exercises that rely on balance and precise muscle control to build strength and improve three-legged-race times. True to the IM=X formula, instructors amp up the effectiveness of Pilates moves by integrating special equipment such as the IM=X ring and Body Bar. During yoga classes, students follow along with instructors, stabilizing their core and limbs through a series of challenging poses and balance-fortifying transitions to hone focus and muscle tone. Indoor-cycling students swing a leg over spoked steeds for a structured, instructor-led workout where cyclists can forge rock-solid cardiovascular health while tailoring intensity to accommodate their own fitness and cycling experience levels.
Stephanie Babines had to fight to open her pole-fitness studio. The battle pitted her First Amendment rights against zoning regulations, and was featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and USA Today when the ACLU took on the lawsuit to get her permit. Stephanie's passion for self-expression has not faded, and today she and her instructors teach dance- and cardio-workout classes six days a week to help ladies of every age and build express themselves and achieve a sense of empowerment.
It's no surprise that Stephanie is serious about her craft. She has trained under the same choreographers who have coached Beyonce, Rihanna, and Britney Spears, and holds certifications in Advanced Pole and Hoopnotica dance. Her studio boasts amenities such as a spa and a dressing room fully stocked with towels and cosmetics. When they aren't twirling from the studio’s five onsite poles, she and her team might be throwing private bachelorette parties or fantasy photo shoots.
Stop N Sock's owners have transformed their corner of New Brighton into a family-friendly labyrinth of golf-inspired games. Their expansive outdoor facility—with 43 acres of rolling greens—allows adults and kids to putt and ricochet balls around the 18-hole golf course lined with trees, shrubs, and spouting fountains, or toss tiny saucers into metal baskets at disc golf. With short links and wide fairways, their pitch-and-putt course lets kids develop interest in golf, and challenges experienced club swingers to hone their short game. Stop N Sock's driving range, however, gives everyone the opportunity to work on their long game, with 27 stations equipped with grass practice areas and automatic ball dispensers. To mix it up, the golf-centric center's batting cages lets individuals solidify their stance, perfect their focus, and keep the rust and barnacles off their swing.