U.S. World Class Taekwondo employs award-winning instructors to teach students martial arts and self-defense skills. During kids? martial arts classes, instructors split their time between bolstering tots? motor skills and increasing their self-respect and discipline. The adult classes combine combat techniques, self-defense moves, exercise, meditation, and, on occasion, dodgeball.
All of the coaches at 503 West Coast Jiu Jitsu are also active competitors. At 503, they foster a familial atmosphere in which they strive to identify each individual’s personal goals and make it their priority to help them achieve. They lead a variety of combat-style programs, including mixed martial arts, Brazilian jiu jitsu, wrestling, muay-thai kickboxing, and boxing for MMA. They also have classes for kids, teens, and women, as well as CrossFit classes.
Lori Luecke has been dancing since she was 5 and teaching dance since she was 17. At Clackamas Dance, she hopes to instill that same early passion for creativity and self-expression in each of her students. She and her staff lead lessons for dancers between ages 2 and 18, tailoring classes to each age group's capabilities. Students can study styles that include jazz, hip-hop, tap, acrobatics, and musical theater.
After spending time in Quaking Grass's furnished loft studio, you learn why some of the yoga, Zumba, and holistic-dance instructors refer to the space as their "big living room." Once inside the studio, you find yourself in a sprawling, high-ceilinged loft. Natural light spills in from tall windows and onto green walls, where African art and decorative Asian fans hang. Scanning the room, you see plush furniture, a kitchenette, and a massive Native American dream catcher, painted white and hanging 6 feet to the floor.
Quaking Grass is home to the Healing Arts Collective; many of its members left positions as businesspeople, teachers, and lawyers in favor of a more relaxed lifestyle. According to director Heather Straube, they each felt called to help others through techniques such as massage, yoga, and dance. Instructors lead students through progressive poses in Vinyasa yoga, dances set to Latin and Caribbean beats in Zumba, and blends of meditative martial arts and freeform movement in Earthquake Ecstatic and Nia dance. Though they guide some classes step-by-step, instructors emphasize free exploration over adhering to a strict routine—reminding students that they can meditate silently, pair off with partners, or dance alone to practice leading and following at the same time.
Once each month, Quaking Grass's members also host an open community clinic, experimental salon, and potluck. Practitioners stationed throughout the space introduce curious guests to basics of tarot-card reading, massage, hypnosis, quantum touch, and a host of other holistic methods—with the hope that visitors, like babies balancing their first checkbooks, experience something new. Individual members, artists, or community practitioners may also lead workshops or lectures explaining their craft.
Bouldering differs from other forms of rock climbing in a variety of ways, such as its heightened social element. When top roping, for example, climbers are more isolated, relying on a partner below to maintain rope tension. But because bouldering is done on lower courses that don't require a rope or harness, climbers are free to scale walls at will, often resulting in people sharing walls and striking up conversations in between surmounting terrain such as verticals, slabs, and roof climbs?overhangs that put climbers' bodies parallel to the floor.
That's how The Circuit Bouldering Gym got started. Some bouldering enthusiasts crossed paths at a local gym and found they all wanted to expand Portland's bouldering options. Today, they welcome guests to surmount courses?including a hanging boulder?ranging from 8- to 17-feet high and surrounded by crash-pad flooring. Boasting one of the largest bouldering-only gyms in the world, they also designed many of their simulated climbing stations as top-out boulders, letting guests experience what it's like to stand atop a boulder in the Rockies or on the moon. Additionally, they instruct guests with programs such as 90-minute intro courses, advanced clinics with professional climber athletes, and programs tailored for kids including birthday parties. Between climbs, a lounge area lets visitors relax and swap tales of defying gravity's relentless bullying. To further build the bouldering community, the gym's team organizes an annual fundraiser benefiting local charities, including the Pump-a-thon, which is scheduled for February 22nd.
In 1976, Joan Barnes—a Californian mom frustrated with the lack of spaces where she could take her kids for safe and age-appropriate play time—took matters into her own hands and founded Gymboree Play and Music. In the decades since Gymboree’s founding, Joan’s vision of a safe place where youngsters could build confidence and creativity has come to fruition and spread to 30 countries around the globe. Staffed by attentive and expertly trained instructors, each Gymboree outpost adheres to a curriculum of activities designed by experts to foster the development of children’s’ cognitive, physical, and social skills through structured play and close readings of Goodnight Moon. The staffers also conduct entertaining classes that cover subjects ranging from music to sports, imparting valuable lessons of imagination and physical activity to developing minds. To further set apart her business, Barnes employed nationally renowned playground designer Jay Beck to design the proprietary play equipment at her centers.