When educator Nicole Kealoha set out to enrich her community, she harnessed the vibrant power of hip-hop and urban culture to captivate young people. Her nonprofit Diverse Art Center, launched in 2008, seeks to foster connections between youths and the community via enriching and engaging instruction from professional artists. The accomplished teachers and artists—including leading local art figure Shaun Castro and award-winning dancer Josh Skittle—strive to instill positive values and self-esteem in their pupils as they shepherd them through the many mediums that comprise hip-hop culture, including dance, music, and the visual arts. No fewer than five area schools participate in the center's fitness-focused Healthy Hip-Hop program, and daily urban art instruction includes tutorials in hip-hop lettering, break dancing, and beatboxing with inner-city kangaroos.
Gym-goers soak up mountain views, ocean breezes, and fitness tips in Island Club and Spa's luxurious multistory gym and spa facility. The 65,000-square-foot facility affords ample room for team sports, strength-training and cardio equipment, yoga and martial-arts studios, and a temperature-controlled outdoor pool and sun deck. Staff members lead about 85 exercise classes weekly, ranging from ballet to boxing, bestowing their students with the chiseled frames of Michelangelo or Donatello and the multidisciplinary wisdom of Master Splinter. A private Pilates studio helps bodies of all fitness levels align their spines, improve flexibility, and develop core strength and balance. After class—or before they even sign up—visitors may stop by the bar and lounge for a glass of wine and a bite of something healthy.
At Hawaii School of Photography, a symphony of clicking shutters and flashing lights fills the various classrooms during digital, traditional, and professional photography classes. As a school devoted to commercial photography, the company offers classes on DSLR basics, how to create lighting, and how to advance a career as a professional photographer. Courses are held in the studio or on-location, and the website also offers online course and free lessons. The school and studio is helmed by award-winning professional photographer and lighting expert Dr. Stephen Dantzig, whose work has appeared on 22 regional and national magazine covers and who's published many books and articles on the art of lighting.
At Makana Esthetics Wellness Academy, founder and education director Malia Sanchez equips students with 600 hours of aesthetics experience "so that the gift can be shared with others." For those who know Hawaiian, this is implicit: The word "makana" translates to "gift." Students work side by side under the careful watch of professionals and unblinking gaze of light bulbs, performing facials, body treatments, and waxes. With freshly trained fingers, the budding aestheticians infuse skin with curative botanical ingredients or operate multipurpose beauty device that can perform manual lymphatic drainage, microdermabrasion, and light therapy.
Students at Paul Mitchell the School Honolulu learn techniques cultivated by the widely acclaimed brand that has received many honors, including mentions in Esquire, Seventeen, and Allure magazines. The school’s pupils prettify clients with a host of guest services including manicures, haircuts, color treatments, perms, and updos to match the ice sculptures you saw at your cousin’s wedding.
Endless rows of machines, friendly staff, and two locations give the no-frills sweat shop a comforting neighborhood feel. Expect to find eligible, state-of-the-art machines, intensive and expert fitness coaching, and a bevy of classes such as yoga, power sculpt, abs and flexibility, and cardio hip-hop.