The 13 dance instructors at this alternative fitness facility believe that staying healthy doesn't have to be boring. That's why they enthusiastically lead classes that help ladies slim their silhouettes with flirty dance routines and aerobatic moves performed while swirling around a pole or perched atop a chair. Their beginner courses set participants on the sultry road to fitness with basic moves, whereas their advanced courses set calories ablaze with gravity-defying techniques that also help gals reach the top of flagpoles without praying to George Washington. Beyond the classroom, the instructors host parties for ladies looking for a lively bachelorette party or girls' night out.
Children are best equipped to develop analytical skills for current and future learning between the formative ages of 3.5 and 14. That's why Best Brains sets students off on the right foot by offering focused courses in subjects such as math, English, abacus, and general knowledge. Certified teachers help students develop skills in writing, grammar, critical thinking word problems, and basic computational math, using an abacus counting tool to help develop spatial memory.
Ron Layman's decorative indoor-painting instruction harks back to thousands of years of artisans' decorative and faux-finishing techniques. Drawing from the colorful traditions of neoclassical plaster finishes and trompe l’oeil techniques, his methods build on the past while incorporating modern styles of glazing and color washing. His commissioned work can be seen in private homes and commercial locales, and when he's not imbuing work and living spaces with his talents, Ron teaches multiple-day workshops in The Faux School studio nestled in Frederick's historical district.
Drawing on 20 years of experience as a master painter with the North American Decorative Artist Association and boasting the ability to spell Michelangelo, Ron guides artists of all levels through basic and advanced home-design techniques, incorporating paint, textured finishes, and lime-based Venetian plasters, which add depth to plain walls and floors. Ron also helps his students to explore new approaches to home decoration, with lessons that help students to take control of their environments or take steps toward forming their own home-decorating businesses, regardless of prior artistic experience.
Over her 15 years as a fitness instructor, Ananda Shala's owner, Aimee Firor McBride developed a special passion for yoga and Pilates. Her love of the practice led her to India, and into the studios of renowned teachers such as Shiva Rea during her more than 500 hours of teacher studies. She draws upon this experience as she helms a coterie of certified instructors who lead groups through classes and workshops. On hardwood floors flooded with natural sunlight, instructors guide students through Prana Flow Vinyasa yoga for all levels, hot yoga in an 80- to 90-degree room, and meditation classes.
In addition to yoga, instructors also teach Pilates, including mat classes, sessions that integrate weights and strength training, and machines that help lengthen and strengthen muscles. During private sessions they help students work on individual needs or master a specific technique such as folding laundry with their feet. Corporate workshops help business people soothe their minds during stressful situation, and special events such as yoga parties and classes for kids and teens explore yoga in a fun environment.
They’re a common food in several Latin countries, including Colombia, Puerto Rico, and Mexico, but empanadas are made a bit differently in Argentina. “We have an edge because we actually bake them,” Nicolás Ibarzabal, co-owner of 5411, told the Decider in 2009. ”Here in Chicago there are a couple of places that offer empanadas, but they’re pretty much all deep-fried. We like to think of ourselves as the new healthy frontier of empanadas.”
Along with pals and fellow Buenos Aires natives Mariano Lanfranconi and Andrés Arlia, Ibarzabal makes the flaky baked treats in nearly a dozen varieties. You’ll find traditional hand-cut beef empanadas as well as Americanized versions including barbecue chicken, which Ibarzabal admits is one of his favorites despite chuckles from his Argentine friends. The trio started 5411—a mash-up of Argentina’s country code, 54, and Buenos Aires’s city code, 11—in 2009 as a catering company before rolling out a food truck and finally opening a shop in Lakeview. That shop makes deliveries by the dozen, and the same pale-blue food truck—perhaps the catalyst for 5411’s success—still takes to the streets daily, urging office dwellers to emerge from their cubicles and horses to escape from their buggies.
My Gym, which currently has more than 200 international locations, began more than 30 years ago as a structured place for children to safely play, acquire new skills, and romp off a sugar buzz. All classes are organized according to age level—starting as young as 6 months—and designed to incorporate the latest physiological and psychological research. Tiny Tykes gets babies moving with help from their parents, Mighty Mites teaches toddlers self-reliance and beginning sports skills, and Champions, a class for kids aged 6 to 13, emphasizes the importance of using teamwork to master more complex sports skills and achieve group goals such as building a human pyramid to reach the cookie jar. My Gym's energetic instructors are experts at using music, dance, and gymnastics to build youngsters' strength and self-esteem while stimulating their giggle-plexes. The noncompetitive environment fosters creativity, and hands-on activities boost children's learning retention and fun quotient.
Pony Pastures instructs horse lovers in the ageless art of equestrianism, saddling up students of every experience level. Veteran instructor Mel Keeton tailors private lessons to individual goals, incorporating challenges, tips, and games to help novice riders and skilled stallion handlers alike refine their English-riding style. Learn to properly mount a mare or decode the heel-powered Morse code that propels ponies into trotting mode. Students of steedery can be tutored in the nuances of jumping, acquire subtle reining techniques, or simply gain confidence before the next office jousting match.