Fueled by a passion to make the Asia-born sport of badminton more accessible and popular here in the United States, the founders of Bay Badminton Center lovingly maintain 37 regulation courts across three locations. They’ve designed everything to let players concentrate on their game, from an electronic court-queuing system that keeps everyone in order to adequate lighting that reduces strain on the eyes. They even installed a full Robbins flooring system that allows players to lob shuttlecocks back and forth without worrying about slipping on a mat or being unkind to their leg joints. After games, guests can hit the shower-equipped locker rooms to rinse off. Players who haven’t yet surgically replaced their hand with a racket can rent one or buy one at the fully equipped pro shop at each location.
The artists at Wine and Canvas awaken their students’ inner Rembrandts and Van Goghs with classes that pair a featured painting with specialty cocktails and wines. The mobile studio’s monthly calendar includes themed classes in which instructors expound on the nuances of painting Parisian street lamps, Japanese flowers, or Venetian cityscapes. The master painters—many of them local artists—provide step-by-step instructions while students mimic each stroke and periodically dip their brushes into glasses filled with crimson cabernet. Each of the studio’s various drink-friendly venues boasts a specialty libation selected to incite creativity or conversations with fellow painters. When the artistic frenzy concludes, students return home with a finished masterpiece large enough to conceal any wall safe or mirror portal.
LA Boxing’s instructors thumb their noses at the suggestion that fighting has no place in public. They happily subvert this social convention, leading students through safe and noncontact fitness classes inspired by the pugilistic arts. Each boxing, kickboxing, or group MMA class is lead by a professional fighter, who teaches basic skills during the up-tempo, one-hour workouts. Students warm up with plyometrics before strapping on 6-ounce gloves and hitting a heavy bag with combination of kicks, knees, and elbows. Classes may burn between 800 and 1,000 calories per session, improve coordination and stamina, and increase your tolerance for listening to the theme from Rocky IV on repeat.
Under the formidable chops of professional limelighter Giovannie Espiritu, The Young Actors Workshop edifies aspiring ingénues with a slate of technique-toning classes in acting, auditioning, and the entertainment business. A recurring regular on several hit network shows, Espiritu also boasts familiarity with casting and representation, granting each student comprehensive tutelage that’s been proven to score her scholars notable roles, auditions, and VIP access to swanky backstage snack spreads. Geared towards pint-size pontificators and nimble-tongued teens, each class hones young actors' abilities in a nurturing environment that places the student’s comfort center stage.
Bearing the titles of Master of Photography and Photographic Craftsman from Professional Photographers of America, David and Ally McKay embody the keen vision and aesthetic prowess that separated good photographers from great ones. They share these skills during classes at McKay Photography Academy, where they train eyes, fingers, and imaginations to work in tandem as a snapshooting dream machine. Their classes help aspiring photographers progress from neophytes to seasoned pros; the Beginning Digital Photography course teaches students to harness the intricacies of their instruments, and the Pro Academy offers inside tips on how to successfully snap wedding portraits, pose recent grads, or tease out candid emotions. When not busy instructing the next generation of shutterbugs, David and Ally also devise photo safaris, which send small teams of photographers to capture shots of famed landmarks including San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge; the Lincoln Memorial of Washington, DC; or Yosemite's 60-foot statue of Yogi Bear.