With eclectic backgrounds in ballet, Scottish Highland dancing, and environmental law, California Arts Academy co-owners and directors Julie Ann Keller and Christopher Campbell bring their students their own distinctive expertise and worldviews. Backed by a cadre of instructors, the duo strives to create a space where kids can freely express themselves through gymnastics and musical theater and can elaborate tap-dance routines that summon the ghost of Fred Astaire. California Arts Academy was also named Favorite for Children's Dance Classes, Art Classes, and Live Theater by the readers of the Central California Parent Magazine 2012-2014. Not content to just offer classes, Keller and Campbell hold semiannual auditions for their performances.
Since 1998, The Voice Shop has paired students with seasoned music instructors for one-on-one lessons held in the center of Fresno's historic Tower District. Those instructors draw from a wide range of experience: some have recorded music for feature films and video games, and others sing alongside classical symphony orchestras. The school tailors lesson plans to fit each student's interests and will even provide recording services or help organize performances.
Certified dance instructors Pete Swingle and Carmen Ahmen relish the challenge of curing extra left feet. They welcome total beginners to their salsa classes, where their patience and supportive attitudes help students feel comfortable enough to pull off the hip-swaying steps. In the interest of steadily progressing students to intermediate and advanced moves, they set up specific goals for each level, ranging from "step in time" to "twirl your partner without having to rely on shoes made of roombas.” They teach disciplines apart from salsa as well, including cha-cha, cumbia, and merengue.
Though learning show-stopping techniques is one of the core benefits of their lessons, Pete and Carmen also hope to reward protégés with the additional perks of dancing, including stress relief, improved muscle tone, and new friendships. Sunday dance socials focus on the latter ambition by gathering dancers for practice in a party setting, which sometimes features live percussion shows and music giveaways.
After working at Disneyland as part of the Disney College Program, Dreams Come True Entertainment’s owner Leeanna French couldn’t put her princess obsession to rest. Rather than spending her life waiting for a prince or book deal to come, she flipped this experience into motivation to start her own business. Today, she and her staff of trained dancers add a professional flair to parties with the arrival of costumed characters ranging from evil queens to Jedis, all of whom have been classically trained to portray authentic accents.
With a multitude of useful-and-creative class offerings for beginners and intermediate students alike, yogis of all levels can find a niche to suit their muscles and ligaments. Kick off the day with morning flow, defeat midday doldrums with a midday yoga session, or challenge your body and mind with an intermediate–Vinyasa class, among many others. A staff of veteran instructors helps visitors bend and flex in a relaxing, non-competitive environment that’s far more welcoming and accommodating than reality television shows like Last Yogi Standing.