Marina Bichinsky knows the importance of art education firsthand. She had her first art lesson at age 5, and, though it may have seemed like a childhood hobby at the time, art paved the road for her career path, a road that had perfectly straight yellow lines thanks to her artistic skill. She studied architecture in college, earned her doctorate in visual communications, and, today, funnels these skills into her position as director of Living Art Studio. Here, she teaches students of all ages and skill levels enlisted in the studio’s classes, in which instructors trained by Marina teach realist painting techniques.
The team generally starts first-time artists off with classes that teach gesture and proportion before graduating them to charcoal-drawing classes, color study, and, finally, painting still lifes and figures. For their younger crowd, instructors lead Mommy & Me classes, during which 2.5- to 5-year-olds learn techniques amenable to their age, such as how to turn baby-food splats on highchair trays into impressionist opuses that suggest Monet and Renoir, but with an underlying current of originality in the vein of a Pissarro. The school also offers a specialty curriculum for adults who are seeking further education in areas such as fashion design, photography, and advertising.
In addition to cardio and weight-training equipment, ClubSport Green Valley hosts sundry athletic endeavors from running to swimming to shooting hoops. Runners can leave the stationary machines behind and hoof it on the three-lane indoor track, which provides separate lanes for walking, jogging, and fleeing packs of wild medicine balls. With courts designated for racquetball, squash, tennis, volleyball, and basketball, patrons can hone their ball-handling skills, and swimmers can paddle in the six-lane outdoor pool or the four-lane indoor pool.
The certified fitness trainers instruct guests in using the facility’s Precor and Life Fitness weight and cardio equipment, and supervise sets in the designated stretching and core-training area. When not conducting personal-training sessions, trainers lead group classes of step, power sculpting, Zumba, and Pilates. The staff also wrangles children aged 6 weeks to 12 years old in Kids World, helping them burn extra energy with fitness activities and arts and crafts as their caretakers burn calories.
The certified instructors from American Swim Academy recognize that, unlike many other mammals, humans aren't born with the ability to swim safely. Their passion for teaching students how to glide through the water without worry propels each class at the academy and inspires students of all ages to silence the mocking comments from their neighbor's dolphin. Each instructor must have obtained both CPR and academy swim training before leading lessons, which are structured to meet students' abilities.
Furthering the tenants of safety and control, all academy classes are hosted inside an indoor facility with pools designed specifically for instruction. Waters are heated to 92 degrees and feature wide steps, teaching stations, and shallow areas for small children. On-deck managers oversee each class to heighten student safety and shout out Olympic swimming records every five minutes for inspiration.
Within his teaching domain at Fremont Park Golf Center, PGA professional Ren Chang smoothes rusty swing mechanics and hones mental strategy, with an emphasis on shoring up the fundamentals. Ren brings more than 20 years of golf experience—including more than 10 years as a teacher—when he teaches his personally tailored lessons. He employs video analysis to ascertain problem areas such as assuming a weak stance or mistaking a tire iron for a pitching wedge, and then both student and teacher collaborate to craft a swing that feels comfortable and leads to lower scores. Throughout instruction, Ren aims to make students as comfortable as possible, keeping an extra set of clubs on hand to loan to those who need them. He is also fluent in Chinese, ideal for native Chinese speakers and those seeking to curse at their clubs in more than one language.
Fremont Table Tennis Academy's seasoned coach and instructor Shashin Shodhan, winner of 15 national and international table-tennis titles, guides players aged 4 and older to ping-pong mastery during fun, competitive classes. The facility's shock-absorbent floors minimize accidental skidding as players shuffle side to side, launching balls across tables that meet the International Table Tennis Federation criteria for international play. Intensive multiweek courses or drop-in classes dedicate one to two hours to improving speed, shot precision, and strategy by pitting students against an octopus wielding eight paddles. Fremont Table Tennis Academy's fully stocked pro shop equips visitors for competitive tournaments with a lineup of equipment from brands such as Butterfly, Killerspin, and Double Happiness.
Having shot more than 30,000 subjects throughout his career as a photographer, including many Silicon Valley business figures, Eric Gould understands how to create a good photo in any setting. His adeptness at communicating with subjects carries into his photography workshops, where he conveys difficult concepts clearly and methodically, saving students from such rookie mistakes as shooting with the lens cap on or turning the flash on while taking pictures of your imaginary friend's third grade graduation. In his own photo sessions, he frames professional clients in business portraits and headshots, high-school seniors in youthful poses, athletes in midaction, and a wide spectrum of people and places encountered on international travels.