Imagine the moment when a shy, introverted young girl steps in front of a room full of people for the first time and speaks with confidence and clarity. This is a regular occurrence at Drama Kids International, where experienced teachers use a unique, copyrighted curriculum to help shape and focus outgoing children or draw shy children out of their shells. Classes for kids as young as 3 refine speech techniques, dramatic movement, and imagination, giving them the confidence to perform in front of an audience or finally ask their parents to change their names to Thespis. For older kids, aged 12–18, Drama Kids International offers the DKI Acting Academy, where serious theater kids can expand their speaking, acting, and auditioning skills through exercises and performances.
For nearly a decade, the nationally certified instructors at ATA Family Martial Arts have taught students how to block, strike, and kick in a series of self-defense patterns. Classes for kids as young as 4 focus on coordination, listening skills, and confidence, and adult-geared classes teach sparring and weapons training.
A joint venture between a professional boxer and a team of successful kickboxing-equipment tycoons, Title Boxing Club maintains a network of dozens of studios spread across 19 different states, winning over a devoted clientele with its invigorating and engaging boxing- and kickboxing-themed classes. Each workout uses the heart-healthy exercise of cardio training to satisfy people’s innate desire to punch and kick something other than a broken jukebox. Participants build lithe, strong muscle tissue by delivering powerful blows to punching bags, and build flexibility and agility by practicing roundhouse kicks and hooks. Students can build their core strength and endurance with medicine balls and burpees, enlist a qualified personal trainer to practice their newfound skills in the ring, or just torch calories during intense full-body Power Hour workouts.
Equipment: Martial arts equipment
Average class length: 60 minutes
Number of Staff: 1?5 people
Class location: Indoors only
Registration required: Yes
Good for beginners: Yes
Guests allowed: Yes
Parking: Parking lot
At Hip Hop Heels, high-heeled shoes aren't dainty accessories, but fierce dancing tools. Owner Geena Ngaaje encourages her students to don comfortable heeled boots for her signature classes, thereby increasing the workout for their lower bodies and injecting the choreography with style. Geena and her team practice a combination of hip-hop, street, and burlesque dance, often channeling the moxie of celebrities such as Beyoncé and Ciara. They also pull from personal experience as performers—their resumés list back-up gigs with the Black Eyed Peas, LL Cool J, and Pitbull.
Their sessions aren't geared entirely toward stars on the rise, however. Whether they're demonstrating sensual hip rolls during Pumps and Grinds or the seductive shimmies of Cabaret, they cater to women of all experience levels, from first-timers to fellow pros and animated characters that are drawn to dance. They also host workshops for beginners, which focus on becoming confident in heels. Private parties allow guests to choose their preferred dance style for a customized lesson, and special-event workshops cover entire routines, including holiday-themed performances set to "Santa Baby."
"Our brain is designed to realize what we wish, without any minor errors," says Dahn Yoga founder Ilchi Lee. "If you want success, it will create success. If you want happiness or health, it will create them. Anything is possible, as long as negative thoughts and emotions don't interfere."
To make this challenging, yet hopeful, philosophy accessible to all, Lee combined the Eastern concept of chi energy with his own brain-management system, developing a distinctive program that unlocks inner peace and sweeps up brain clutter caused by the daily stress of always having to find Waldo. This focus, shared by Body & Brain Holistic Yoga and The Life Yoga, forms the basis of the studio's classes and consultations. Warm-up yoga maneuvers awaken muscles before 30?40 minutes of breathing, stretching, core practice, and meditation?including a signature brain-wave vibration technique that aims to calibrate mental and physical energies. Cooldown exercises ease the body back into quotidian functionality before a 10-minute teatime invites socialization among participants while bolstering pinkie endurance.