Situated on 24 acres of woods and meadows in central Massachusetts, Cornerstone Ranch allows riders to savor New England's breathtaking foliage year-round with lessons, camps, and rides through scenic terrain. Owner Sue Connell and her family prep their fleet of horses with exhaustive training and pesticide-free fly-control practices, making the steeds even safer to ride than Smokey the Bear. Sue steers horse-drawn sleighs during winter months and gangs astride steeds during warmer weather, leading fellow riders through a labyrinth of woodsy trails. She and an equally experienced instructor helm riding lessons for all levels year-round and fold the same principles into weeklong summer camps. The camps cater to beginner and advanced equestrians alike, teaching kids how to catch, lead, tie up, groom, and outfit horses with bridles and saddles before mounting and riding them into kid-sized sunsets. Daily schedules consist of two rides, including group excursions and trail jaunts. At week's end, equestrians flaunt their new skills at a horse show for friends and parents.
Nestled on 55 acres brimming with evergreen trees and verdant fields, Integrity Equestrian Center's facilities cater to equestrians' every need, hosting activities ranging from lessons and camps to dressage competitions. Inside the main barn, the team of school horses whinnies in anticipation of rides across the wood-chipped trails or romps in the indoor arenas or outdoor ring, equipped with gates and fences for the age-old English sport of horse limbo. Whether helping advanced riders further their hunter-jumper skills or introducing beginners to the basics of horsemanship, the ranch's instructors—all experienced riders themselves—create a fun and positive learning environment during private or group lessons.
On a recent birthday, Shawn Shaw reflected on her life. There had been lessons learned about love, happiness, and the inherent beauty of life that is present even amid disappointment. For Shawn, a dedicated practice of yoga and meditation was the wellspring for many of the lessons learned. The teenage Shawn kept fit as a distance runner, first picking up yoga as a supplementary form of exercise and stretching. It wasn't until a few years later, amid a storm of personal struggles, that she discovered the healing properties of daily practice. Today she credits yoga with transforming her physical and emotional health and cultivating a peaceful attitude. Moreover, her newfound clarity and mental presence become something Shawn had to share. She opened her own studio, Metrowest Yoga, in 2005. Now with two locations in Westborough and Worcester, the curriculum includes Shawn's own invention, Myoga Hot Hatha, which is grounded in stillness and allows students to hold poses longer than usual as they make peace between breath and body.
Metrowest Yoga's studio focuses on building a strong healthy body and cultivating a calm, peaceful mind. The styles offered are mostly vigorous in a heated room but some gentle restorative classes are offered too. Regularly scheduled classes include Vinyasa or Flow, Hatha and Ashtanga styles. Beginner?s classes or a 6 week Brand New Beginner?s course are also offered.
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Ballroom instructor Jared Vigneault—recipient of the Top Teacher award at the 2012 Massachusetts DanceSport Challenge—draws from multiple dance degrees and eight years of ballroom experience as he works to infect his pupils with dance fever at Poise, Style & Motion. Along with a diverse cast of experienced instructors, he works to help students of all ages and abilities gracefully twirl across the dance floor through private and group lessons, social parties, and performances. They prepare their students to confidently cut a rug at dance clubs, weddings, competitions, and important business meetings with instruction in several styles. Their instruction range from the fast-paced footwork of swing and the merengue to the more stoic arts of the tango and waltz. To whip bodies into dance-athon shape, Poise, Style & Motion's instructors blend their fancy-footwork training with aerobics during their Latin-dance-inspired fitness classes. They also help dancers improve their endurance and pump up core muscles with modified merengue, samba, swing, and paso-doble dance steps.
Arthur Murray has been a leading name in franchise dance since 1912, when the entrepreneur began selling mail-order dance lessons. Expanding his reach, he enlisted teachers to spread his signature dance lessons on first-class steamships and skyrocketed to fame in the '30s after introducing the public to such dances as the Lambeth Walk and The Big Apple. By the 1950s, Arthur and his wife, Kathryn, were hosting their own highly popular TV show on ABC, The Arthur Murray Dance Party, which ran for 12 years. Today, Arthur Murray's team prepares students for rug cutting at special events and weekend nightclub jaunts. Clients who arrive to lessons partnerless will be paired up with other classmates as the instructors assess their current skill level and make recommendations on the most appropriate program. Throughout lessons, instructors teach the foundations of two to four dances from a long list of styles that range from Latin to country-western, helping students to learn basic step patterns, timing, and the ability to lead or follow.