At CrossFit Miami, it's not rare to hear encouragements and instructions shouted English, Spanish, or Portuguese. Founded by Sao Paulo native Marcio Pizanelli, the gym and adjoining capoeira school boast an international staff of certified instructors hailing from Brazil, Venezuela, and the United States. Marcio and his team promote hard work and competition during each energizing workout, which might include weight balls, rowing machines, pull-up bars, or any other piece of the gym's extensive arsenal. Basic classes emphasize proper form for CrossFit's central lifts, and daily workouts keep muscles guessing with a variable blend of conditioning, strength training, core workouts, and getting chased by a terrier with gross, muddy paws.
There are plenty of ways to learn?reading a book, listening to an audio tape, or watching an instructional video, to name a few. Effective as those methods are for some, for others, they are too impersonal. That's where Face to Face Cooking Club comes in. Here, teachers lead enriching cooking classes, sharing with budding chefs the skills needed to cook the cuisine of many international cultures. The club also offers intensive Spanish programs that cover all four language-related skills?writing, speaking, reading, and listening?but focus especially on speaking, which enables students to communicate quickly instead of etching hieroglyphics into the wall.
Under the culinary guidance of chef Rayon Howard, students sear, chop, and sauté fresh ingredients into tantalizing dishes with Aura Catering Services. For more than a dozen years, Howard has crafted flavorful cuisine for restaurants, hotels, and private caterers. He now brings his expertise and recipes to special events throughout Miami. Chef Ray also shares his knowledge with aspiring chefs during two-and-a-half-hour cooking classes, which rotate according to participant demand, allowing students to hone their kitchen know-how with a stainless-steel arsenal of cookware, myriad ingredients, and the mystical ability to transmute fire into cooked food. Pupils can tackle global gastronomy by exploring cuisine such as bite-sized Spanish-style tapas or robust Italian-inspired pasta. At the end of each class, students can sample their newfound skills by enthusiastically devouring their work, a luxury not afforded by other artistic disciplines, as evidenced by Rodin's painful attempts to eat The Thinker.
When Mayré Martínez says that her singing method is her proudest accomplishment, she's really saying something. She's won the Internacional Talent Award at the Latin American Song Festival in 2000 and toured with the likes of Franco de Vita, Sin Bandera, Simon Díaz. Her true claim to fame, however, came when she beat out 25,000 other singers to take top honors in the first season of the Latin American version of American Idol.
And still, passing her love for singing down to new generations remains her first love. Her bilingual teaching staff help students develop ears for melody, rhythm, and harmony, learning to discern which notes belong in a song and which are guaranteed to summon all the neighborhood's dogs. Students also practice breathing and vocalization exercises to tune and tone the voice. As they gain technical expertise, they'll also gain the confidence to let their singing fill with emotion and the independence to continue their development with or without formal instruction. Finally, they'll have fun. To that end, they also offer a "singing therapy" program that turns clients loose with backing tracks and pro recording equipment to revel in what they've learned.