Dirk Dahl discovered the joy of ceramics in high school when his artistic nature immediately took to the elegant accidents and random, dramatic shapes even a beginner could coax from clay. Ceramics became the bread and butter of his long artistic career, but—like many artists—he found his studio confining, and sought a way to interact with more people. That's when he decided to start teaching, an exercise that compelled him to create Dahl Arts Ceramic Studio as a way to introduce people to his beloved ceramic arts.
"Every time I teach a class or workshop, I learn something," remarks Dirk. Watching his students experiment for the first time or hundredth time in one of his many classes or workshops inspires the sculptor to experiment in his own work, from sculpting faces into pottery to reassembling the broken shards of old pieces into Frankenstein's flatware. The results have landed his work in international juried and invitation exhibitions and even allowed him to open his own personal gallery in Santa Monica, California.
One has been a martial artist for more than 35 years; the other has been a bus driver for almost as long. Instructors at Lakeview Yoga and Wellness Center, Vidal Bitton and Joyce MacFarlane know what it's like to balance a busy schedule with the demands of staying healthy. Vidal's approach to yoga incorporates his knowledge of tae kwon do, hapkido, and tai chi, especially as to how physical exertion can lead to painful injury. Joyce also practices yoga with a mind toward healing—her years behind the wheel of a school bus have resulted in several spinal injuries. By juggling a demanding job that can take physical tolls, Joyce's empathy and spirit shine through in each class she teaches.
Along with the other instructors, Vidal and Joyce bring their distinct backgrounds to hot and power yoga classes that strengthen muscles and boost flexibility. The mind and spirit are considered just as vital; on-staff wellness practitioners augment the effects of yoga with services such as massage, acupuncture, personal training, and therapy.
The fast-paced steps of mambo, the seamless grace of waltzes, the improvisational stylings of west coast swing—American Ballroom Dance Institute embraces dance styles from across the world and helps students of all ages master the footwork and the showmanship of each one. The instructors break these styles into five basic categories: ballroom, latin, swing, social, and fitness. For each style, the institute offers separate classes specifically tailored to beginners as well as more experienced students. Private lessons and group classes build upon a particular style's fundamentals while helping attendees learn anything from the cha cha to the country-western two step with confidence. Additionally, the institute's Zumba sessions can provide an invigorating aerobic workout by setting basic, easy-to-follow choreography to energetic latin rhythms and engaging public-service announcements.
Musikgarten classes elevate kinesthetic, logical, spatial, and social intelligences through musical instruction to children ages 3 months to 10 years. Each course responds to the developmental needs of a particular age group, with activities and acquired skills becoming more complex as classes ascend in age group. Family Music for Babies (ages 3–16 months) engages an adult and infant with 30–35 minutes of bouncing songs, dancing, and playing simple instruments. Curiosity curdles in amateur earthling brains and a foundation for future musical exploration is set during the Cycle of Seasons course, where children 3-1/2 to 5 years of age flirt with the foundations of rhythm and tune, coddle concentration skills, and garner the ability to self-express through sound waves. The Young Musician and Piano class, for ages 4-1/2–6 and 7–10 respectively, focus on symbolic thinking, memory, and listening acuity, and run for 55–60 minutes or until the first prodigious rock opera has been composed.
Since its 1965 founding in Venice Beach, California, Gold's Gym has dotted the globe with more than 600 locations where professional athletes and exercise newbies gather under the umbrella of personal strength. Nearly 3.5 million Gold's members chart and aim for their fitness peaks, perspiring beneath the gaze of certified personal trainers or pedaling beside peers in cycling sessions. In a diverse lineup of group sessions, patrons strengthen cores with Pilates, bolster flexibility during yoga, and amp up heart rates along to the pulsating soundtracks of Les Mills routines.
At the Gold's Gym Northwest locations, instructors lead water-aerobics sessions within 25-yard salt-purified pools before cooling off in spacious hot tubs. The gyms also boast innovative cardio cinema theaters, where popular films and concession-stand advertisements flicker across massive flat screens as guests peddle away on treadmills and elliptical machines. After lively rounds of racquetball, members can unwind in steam rooms and saunas or sip on replenishing smoothies at the juice bar. During the week, the gyms keep round-the-clock hours.