At Riviera Fitness Centers of Madison—a women-only fitness haven—patrons tackle Les Mills group fitness classes, strength and cardio equipment, and one-on-one personal training, all designed to make gals feel comfortable as they forge toward their fitness goals. The onsite childcare staff supervises tykes so moms can cartwheel off to classes such as BodyAttack and Zumba. During Zumba classes, the studio transforms into a club-like dance-party atmosphere, accented with colored lights and thumping Latin-inspired beats. The instructors lead the easy-to-follow dance steps on an elevated stage, allowing everyone to see the right moves instead of getting discouraged and reverting to the Hokey Pokey. Boot-camp sessions fuse cardio and resistance training to tone physiques as campers wield exercise equipment including kettlebells, barbells, and bosu balls.
In addition to getting fit during group training, ladies can seek one-on-one fitness advice during personal training sessions, which are tailored to suit their goals. Riviera Fitness Center also offers tanning, bronzing recently toned bodies for the beach or flexing in front of a mirror.
Before Monica Yother became an artist and a graphic designer, she spent her childhood around horses. First watching her mother ride and then riding and tending to her own horse, Monica developed a deep appreciation for the animals. Today, she shares this passion with her daughter who also rides regularly at a nearby stable. Over the years, the two have befriended other mother-daughter riding duos who have helped inspire Monica to create My Horses Art, which gives girls a safe place to share their passion for horses. Monica also sells her own horse-themed artwork, which she emblazons on canvases and mugs. When she isn't creating her own masterpieces, she teaches youngsters how to paint horses and puppies during painting parties, which furnish guests with all the necessary supplies to craft their own finished painting.
Experienced photo gurus Doug Box and Randy Kerr impart practical photo skills to curious shutterbugs during engaging seminars that have appeared across the States and in eight countries abroad. Doug Box, author of myriad photography-technique books, is one of 13 Kodak mentors and is the Executive Director of the Texas Professional Photographers Association. His co-teacher, Randy Kerr, heads World Photographic, which uses photography as a vehicle for illuminating humanitarian and environmental topics. Both men have been teaching photography classes for years and help amateurs take photos that capture piercing looks, toothy smiles, and elusive dodo sightings.
Bolstered by a master’s in exercise physiology and a passion for body-sculpting competitions, Sarah Longshore opened Empire Fitness, a 24-hour gym stocked with modern equipment and amenities including a childcare center. She can often be found on the gym’s floor working out on Cybex leg-curl machines, offering words of encouragement to fellow exercisers, or curing dumbbells’ fear of heights in the weight room. Accompanied by a crew of experienced instructors, she offers group classes that motivate participants to burn fat by stepping on and around a step machine and singing along to an energetic soundtrack pulsing from overhead speakers. Also on the slate of classes are calorie incinerators such as barbell-heaving BodyPump and dance-based Zumba.
Inspired by the artistic prowess of her mother, Debbie Russler made her first brushstroke two decades ago and has gone on to create vivid pieces of art in a variety of mediums. Intent on unlocking the same joy in others, Debbie now guides students through the finer points of paintsmanship in three-hour classes. Armed with a canvas and all required supplies, students follow her expert instruction to capture landscapes, still-lifes, or portraits of portraits of Abraham Lincoln.
Operating next door to Ron Hogan's studio, Huntsville Stained Glass Class teaches students the uncommon art of dyeing sunlight. Beginners learn to work with copper foil and solder, resulting in kaleidoscopic suncatchers that are perfect for hanging up at home. Open sessions give more experienced artists a place to explore their creativity.