The Metropolitan School of the Arts—formerly the Metropolitan Fine Arts Center—was founded more than 14 years ago. This multidisciplinary performing-arts organization takes a holistic approach to teaching and encouraging performance-arts skills, creating performance opportunities in dance, music, and theater for a diverse population of students of all ages and abilities. Its students have gone to perform on Broadway, at The Juilliard School, and in highly esteemed companies, such as the Mark Morris Dance Company, The Washington Ballet, and Ford's Theater and Signature Theater. Youth programs include year-round programs in dance, theater, music, music-theater, and acting, as well as a performing-arts program in the summer, all for children as young as 2. Adult classes range from basic to advanced, including ballet, jazz, and tap lessons, plus yoga and ballet-barre fitness workouts.
Margaret Townsend first started dancing at age five and apprenticed with the La Jolla Ballet Company. She went on to teach yoga and dance in New York and later moved to Virginia to earn her master's of fine arts in dance. Since practicing yoga, Margaret has studied an array of styles such as iyengar, ashtanga, and pre- and post-natal yoga, in addition to earning certification in the integral tradition. Margaret is the founder and executive director of Yogis for Positive Change and the founder of Virginia Yoga Week.
As owner and director of River's Edge Yoga, Margaret draws on more than a decade of experience while guiding students through challenging movements and poses that strengthen and stretch sinews. A compassionate team of instructors mirrors her commitment to helping students grow and learn. Margaret also strives to live by the the Green Yoga Association's tenets, which encourage environmentally friendly practices, such as building earth empathic studios, hosting programs, and setting up blind dates for lonely trees.
Olivia Sheldon, the owner of Positive Energy Yoga, doesn't worry about doing yoga "right". Instead, her classes focus on doing what's right for each person in each moment. She encourages students to perform only what they have the ability and comfort to do, but not because she's going easy on them. The program is actually designed to help each student realize, and appreciate, his or her own potential and uniqueness. Her classes emphasize flow, with each pose seamlessly melding into the next for a serene workout, and she offers guidance to the students for taking that self-reliance out into their lives outside of the studio. She teaches her 75-minute classes three days a week, and students can take home a DVD of her sessions for at-home practice or to leave it on for pets looking for indoor exercise.