After wowing audiences with her dance moves for more than 25 years, Rachelle Nemec—a former captain of the Denver Nuggets Dancers who has twirled across Las Vegas stages and several TV commercials—decided to ignite a passion for the arts in her community's children. At X-treme Dance Force, she helms an experienced crew of dance instructors who hail from such prestigious arts organizations as the Houston Grand Opera, Hawaii's Iona Contemporary Dance Theatre, and the Kim Robards Dance company. They teach kids of all abilities to perform a variety of dance styles that range from contemporary pointe and tap to hip-hop in classes divided by age. Their comprehensive instruction helps students master fundamental moves and confidently conquer turns, leaps, and shuffles for memorable touchdown celebrations.
The instructors further prepare kids for a career in the arts with drama and musical-theater training, and they host auditions for the studio's three dance companies, which whip advanced students into performance form. In addition to the studio's yearly dance competitions, these students show off their moves at instructional dance conventions, Denver Nuggets games, Colorado Christian University basketball games, and local fairs.
Beth and Jim Trammell started 5280 Gymnastics to share their love of gymnastics with students young and old, novice and expert, casual and competitive. They assembled an elite team of coaches that trained Olympic gymnast Sasha Artemev and placed graduates on the gymnastics teams at Stanford University, into officer's education at West Point, and onto the diving team at Northwestern University. Under this refined tutelage, the two USA Gymnastics teams that regularly train within 5280's confines took home awards at regional, state, and national levels of competition.
The owners and coaches recognize that not everyone desires to train for peak levels of gymnastics competition, and so the range of classes encompasses plenty of other options, including casual, confidence-inspiring play for tots and free running and parkour classes for older students. During the summer, daily camps keep kids busy during sunny hours with athletic games and arts-and-crafts projects such as building a balance beam out of popsicle sticks.
Although Prestige Fitness' new facilities sparkle with brand-new cardio and strength-training machines and freshly painted walls, they still possess an air of intensity found in most worn-in gyms. Personal TVs on each piece of cardio equipment wire members into their favorite shows as they slay calories, saving them from the standard gym entertainment of harmonized grunting. Group exercise classes challenge members to burn calories in tandem, as they engage in the intense routines of Lance Armstrong Livestrong group cycling, Zumba, or yoga. Massage therapists help melt away the tension of a hard workout, plying their trade in quiet massage rooms isolated from the rest of the gym's hubbub. A two-story mini gym keeps tykes active in the Kids Club, where they shoot down slides, clamber up and down climbing equipment, and give kisses to punching bags.
Denver Botanic Gardens houses vibrant flowers, lush vegetation, and educational activities for visitors of all ages. Native and adapted plants flourish in the York Street campus, which also houses Mordecai Children’s Garden—a 3-acre lot with alpine gardens, mountain ranges, and cool bugs. The two-story waterfall at Marnie's Pavilion bursts with blooming orchids year-round, and a Japanese garden features Ponderosa pines sculpted to look like bonsai. Visitors stroll through water gardens inspired by Monet's estate at Giverny.
At Sunstone Yoga, students radiate calm and self-awareness as they practice ancient poses designed to stretch, strengthen, and purify the body. Instructors complete 500 hours of training in yogic techniques, teaching, and physiology before leading classes, so they can hand out researched, tested tips on safety and alignment. Most classes come in 30-, 60-, and 90-minute varieties and focus on energy or restorative relaxation. A two-class introductory series welcomes beginners with basic standing poses, and the popular fire series explores up to 34 poses in a 99-degree room that loosens muscles to facilitate deeper stretches as it ousts toxins. Filled with soothing music and 90-degree temperatures, the water series cultivates more serenity than getting a massage from a singing whale.
UFC Gym?s four fight-centric Denver-area gyms ditch the polished look of wood-floored workout studios for gritty, competitive spaces filled with 150-pound punching bags and intense workouts. Like a baker molding gingerbread men, UFC Gym sculpts six-packs with boxing, kickboxing, and mixed-martial-arts classes. Although instructors and students agree that the gym?s atmosphere may enkindle intimidation in first-time attendees, most experience boosted self-confidence after conquering their first class. Private training sessions further stoke courage with workouts that leave patrons with the exhilaration of having survived 12 rounds in the ring or five minutes in a high-school lunchroom.