Having survived two kidney transplants, Denise Perry is no stranger to poor health—or to promoting good health. In 1994 in the basement of a local church, she and her first three dance pupils planted the seeds for Millennium Dance Company, a business that embodies wellness. Today, Denise and her staff of international instructors spur more than 200 students—from 3-year-olds to adults—toward a lifetime of agility, fitness, and creativity in adult and youth dance classes. The classes cater to pupils seeking active fun or professional careers, as Millennium's three dance companies have dominated stages at the Apollo Theater, the Bronx Museum, and the Waldorf Astoria hotel. Adult classes range from the sensual swivels of pole dancing to the flowing poses of yoga. For kids, African dance fosters a sense of community as students move as one to the beat of a live drummer. Modern dance presents the opportunity for pupils to choreograph their own routines based on their innermost emotions or the emotions their mood rings recommend. At year's end, all dancers unite for a community recital that showcases each athlete's talent.
For many, being a professional singer is a distant and often unrealized dream. But for students of The Singing Experience, the reality gets more attainable, even if only for one night. That's because the program immerses performers in a singing workshop that teaches vocal techniques and helps them overcoms stage fright. At the end of the course, students sing a song in a live cabaret performance on the stage of The Triad.
All this was made possible by performer Linda Amiel Burns, who dreamed up The Singing Experience in 1977 as a way to help novice singers tackle their fears of performing and of sea witches stealing their voices. It's also become a valuable tool of expression. "You sing out anger, love, your problems," Burns told The New York Times in 2009. She knows what she's talking about—she founded the business after a divorce and has helped countless others since. She has also earned accolades along the way from CBS and Cabaret Scenes magazine. A member of SAG and AFTRA, Linda also lends her talents to various arts programs, and is a two-time winner of the MAC Award.
Some couples write their own marriage vows, while others?well, others prefer a more fiery expression of their love and commitment. At New York Wedding Ring, metal artist Sam Abbay helps couples forge their own engagement and wedding rings from raw precious metals, coins, and existing jewelry. At a studio replete with all the necessary equipment, Abbay will guide you and your significant other as you choose your raw material?like palladium, gold, and platinum?and conceive a design for rings that can even include engravings and settings for gemstones.
The process, which can take as little as four hours or as long as a day, includes melting the metals, annealing, and shaping. All the while, Abbay is on hand to offer advice such as how thick wedding rings should be and how to keep them polished if there are no automatic car washes in your area to run through. He can also work with clients to design a custom ring of his own creation. The romantic experience culminates on a couple's big day, when they exchange their handmade and personally designed rings?a perfect symbol for the love they've nurtured.
Simon Herfray, a French native hailing from the Vend?e region, is a master's-degree-certified pastry chef and baker. He's whisked and sculpted fine treats for esteemed establishments in the London and New York culinary scenes?Aubaine and Bluebird in South Kensington, Falai and Caf? M Studio in Manhattan, and Bacchus Bistro and La D?fense Bistro in Brooklyn.
At French'Encas, Simon directs his world-class sweetmeat techniques toward kitchens full of apron-wearing students and in-disguise dentists. Whether it's their first or hundredth time gripping pastry bags and whisks, attendees handcraft their very own macarons, chocolate-lemon tarts, chocolate fondant, and full quiche lorraine meals. Some classes cater to advanced students, some cover basics, and others suit all skill levels. And when not instructing students, Simon and his team whip up treats for parties and other events.
Ilana Martin has toured with Barry White, Patti LaBelle, and Stevie Wonder, but she founded Vocal Workout Singing School to do something else: teach. Ilana guides groups, duos, and individuals at this elite and boutique vocal training studio for radio singers. Vocal Workout coaches aim for what Ilana terms a "'me singing' sound". The school's holistic philosophy incorporates awareness of one's mind, body, and spirit, revealing confident tones via a balanced, happy instrument. Forbes and Refinery 29 have each sent their own reporters to work with Ilana, resulting in lighthearted videos that showcase the deft way in which the renowned vocal coach puts nervous pupils at ease.
After seven years of teaching dance at others' studios, JesAnn Nail realized it was time for her to strike out on her own. In 2012, the Texas native opened Art in Motion Dance Co. in the heart of Midtown, where she brings her years of experience to classrooms filled with curious and passionate students of dance. Specializing in swing, salsa, ballroom, and dance-fitness classes, JesAnn gathers groups for four-week sessions to teach dancers of all levels graceful movement. Each 55-minute class imparts personal attention and training, whether clients are looking to impress guests on their wedding day or to show up everyone on the playground with a wild swing routine.