Amid the ballroom's dramatic red walls, professional rug cutters impart proper dance techniques, shepherding feet through wedding dance interludes and styles such as salsa, swing, waltz, and the fox trot during group and private lessons. Five primary curricula await pupils, who start off with classes from the basic introductory program before boogying on to the Associate Bronze, Bronze, Silver, and Gold programs. As classes progress, Bronze sessions get students comfortable and stylish on any dance floor, whereas Gold classes prep more advanced dancers for exhibitions and competitions. Event-specific classes are also available to prepare Sweet 16 guests of honor, aspiring brides and grooms, bar mitzvah attendees, and tiny plastic cake toppers for properly getting down on party floors.
The Village Artist’s experienced portrait pedagogues guide aspiring artists through a bevy of media. Pintsize Picassos will spend the morning or afternoon in a focused workshop under the tutelage of experienced instructors. The three-hour sessions (for ages 6–12) concentrate on fun right-brain pursuits that include working in watercolors, drawing cartoons, and sculpting life-size clay models of the Great Wall of China. Meanwhile, those ages 13–18 hone their individual creative cachets in a guided portfolio workshop, which devotes 2.75 hours to channeling the muse of their chosen medium while free from distractions such as recreational trigonometry. Village Artist also publically exhibits the eye-catching output of its students, reaping accolades for Monets in training and opening doors to future art opportunities.
Huntington Bay Music's instructors are rarely seen without a guitar in their hands or glued to their stomach. But while they keep their axes close, the teachers also instruct students a variety of other instruments, from piano to violin. To complement their lessons, the duo outfits budding musicians with guitars, also available as rentals.
Stacy Plaske, founder and owner of Balance Yoga & Healing Arts, nurtures an environment of self-discovery and holistic health with a team of alternative-health professionals and the experience she accrued over 10 years of teaching Ashtanga-style yoga. Stacy hones her understanding of the challenging yoga modality through constant study and yearly pilgrimages to India, where she studies Ashtanga’s self-guided counterpart, Mysore. Bolstered by a staff of instructors, Stacy helms a schedule of athletic Ashtanga, flowing Vinyasa, and alignment-focused Iyengar classes. Instructors accommodate students of all skill levels by suggesting modified poses, and ease less flexible attendees into stretches by affixing helium balloons to students' limbs. The center’s professional massage therapists use relaxing or restorative modalities to soothe overstressed muscles, and an on-staff acupuncturist frees up the body's blocked energy pathways with a combination of precise needle placement and Chinese herbal medicine.
In one way or another, Janine Friedman has always been involved in fitness—practicing Pilates, training clients, and serving as a fitness coordinator for local Girl Scouts. "Movement has always been a part of my life," says Janine. "It gives me purpose, focus, and happiness all at once, allowing me to share the positive and healthful benefits with others.” Pulling from her passion and years of experience, Janine opened her own private training studio—Esteem Wellness & Fitness—where she continues to teach classes alongside a team of certified instructors.
Reflected in the studio's mirror-lined walls and cushioned by its carpeted floors, coaches guide students through the poses of Vinyasa yoga and Pilates, the sultry movements of belly dancing, and the high-intensity cardio and strength-training exercises of conditioning classes. The studio even offers a Jedi Training program for kids—in which instructors guide youngsters in meditation and peaceful problem solving—along with youth and teen yoga classes, in which students learn techniques that enable them to avoid geometry class by neatly tucking themselves into their lockers—an ironic use of geometry.
Diane Garetano's school—whose curriculum covers piano as well as other instruments—was an immediate success in the first year. She was renting space to accommodate her ever-expanding student body and the pianos that kept sprouting extra keys. Today, The Piano Studio for Kids imparts instrument skills at two locations. The school also has evolved in terms of technique, with instructors now incorporating even more methods built on fun, structure, and positive reinforcement. Once a year, students may elect to show off the fruits of these labors, with admission free of charge at a recital culminating in certificates, gift bags, and applause.