Ann Kamhi Toran credits Pilates practice with saving her dancing career. After a major back injury threatened her ability to continue performing, Ann devoted herself to Pilates, and the exercises helped rehabilitate her body so effectively that she was eventually promoted to soloist after recovering. Although she stopped professionally dancing more than 20 years ago, Ann still practices Pilates daily.
Ann?s husband, Dr. Errol Toran, also is a believer in the rejuvenating capabilities of Pilates, and he suggested it to his chiropractic patients, incorporating the exercises into their physical rehabilitation. Together, Ann and Dr. Toran decided to create a studio that shared these benefits with the general public, introducing the time-honored exercise techniques that improve posture and build lean, toned muscles.
The studio boasts four locations throughout the New York area, each featuring an arsenal of traditional Pilates equipment. The signature apparatus, the Reformer, generates gentle resistance with a system of springs, pulleys, and miniature black holes. Students push and pull against this resistance while performing sequences of relatively simple movements that require unwavering mental focus to maintain the ideal technique and alignment. By emphasizing controlled, quality movements over flailing your body against a boulder, Pilates exercises can evenly tone muscles across the entire body, with a particular emphasis on the core muscle groups.
Ann and Dr. Toran encourage their instructors to take initiative when leading classes and tailor the pacing or sequence to accommodate students, but each studio does host sessions for particular skill levels. Introductory and Level 1 classes work to develop form and technique, whereas the more advanced sessions begin to include modified exercises or long-division flashcards to ensure a more challenging workout.
Once every three years, the curators at New York's International Center of Photography set out on a mission to encapsulate the world. They scour every corner of the globe to collect the most interesting video and photography. The end result is an exhibit that reveals the Earth at present—its economic conditions, political instabilities, and social mores. The museum's other gallery spaces surround their visitors in works from the 19th century to modern day, offering windows into every era since Santa invented cameras as a new Christmas toy. These ever-changing exhibits showcase everything from evolving fashions to countries in the midst of full-blown revolution.
Hidden behind theses photographs' imagery, lies the minds of brilliant visual artists. Some of these masters speak at the The Photographers Lecture Series, a staple of the museum's research center since 1974. During these events, distinguished photographers discuss their work and how photography fits into the worlds of art, fashion, and journalism. The ICP's Library delves into these worlds even further with thousands of photobooks, periodicals, and digital files.
ICP's faculty also nurtures emerging artists. Together, they lead more than 400 continuing education courses, exploring areas such as digital photography and video. And for the most serious students, they offer a one-year certificate program and an MFA program.
Housed within a complex designed to resemble a mountainside monastery, the Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art immerses visitors within an environment intended to foster a widespread appreciation for the artistic and cultural creations of the Himalayan peoples. The fieldstone buildings were inspired by photographs of the Potala Palace?the historic seat of the Dalai Lamas?and the surrounding landscape features terraced gardens, lotus and goldfish ponds, and secluded nooks for meditation or high-stakes staring competitions. This connection to Himalayan architecture is also apparent in the structures' architectural details, such as a flat roof crowned with a four-sided pagoda, the trapezoidal windows, and the slate-capped doorways. When taken together, all of these architectural and landscaping features allow visitors to lose themselves in the setting while viewing the collection of artwork and culturally relevant artifacts.
The museum's permanent collection focuses on rare and sacred pieces from Tibet and nations influenced by Tibetan Buddhism, such as Nepal, Bhutan, Mongolia, and northern China. Featuring works from the 12th?20th centuries, this selection includes everything from bronze sculptures and silk-backed scroll paintings to furniture, photographs, and ritualistic objects. Allowing guests to view these items is only one aspect of the museum's mission though. Additionally, the staff members encourage visitors to engage with Himalayan culture by participating in tai chi and guided-meditation classes that the instructors lead on select days.
Roshelle “Rocky” Wilder, NYC Dance Arts’ founding director, began dancing and choreographing dance pieces when she was still in high school. She has performed with underground hip-hop artists such as Denzil Porter, Deena Jones, and The Future, and her students at NYC Dance Arts have performed on Broadway, earning mention from ExpertsColumn.com.. With a team of teachers, Wilder guides students through the steps of contemporary hip-hop, classical ballet, heart-healthy Zumba, and other dance-centric classes.
Ballet classes boost students’ balance, concentration, and coordination while strengthening core muscles. Modern/contemporary dance rebels against the traditional aesthetic of classical ballet with abstract, emotive movements—or by cutting class, sneaking out, and taking the works of Jean-Paul Sartre very seriously. Break dance 101 introduces students to urban street dance, focusing on inspiration and creativity. Yoga fitness classes combine a cardio workout with deep-breathing exercises and yoga poses. In addition to regular classes, NYC Dance Arts offers special workshops with visiting choreographers and professional dancers, and organizes dance flash mobs—groups of dancers who meet in a public place to perform a dance routine.
Hudson River Community Sailing is a unique combination of a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and sailing club. The proceeds from adult lessons and memberships go toward funding scholarship-based programs for at-risk urban youth. Each year, their Sail Academy,?an after-school academic program built on experiential, student-first lessons?immerses these students in the world of sailing and boat building. In addition to unlocking the secrets of boating, these sessions teach students the functional fundamentals of math, science, and self-esteem, earning them credit towards graduation along the way. The club's other youth work include the First Mates program?which preps students for college and career through a deep dedication to boating, racing, and navigation?and the City Sail summer program, which groups students into a small crew for a week of character-building exercises aboard a working 24' boat.
Hosting frequent fundraising events, such as the Dark and Stormy benefit, helps the team introduce as many new mariners as possible to the singular pleasure of sailing the Hudson. Their sailors also enjoy the perks of the club's location, drinking in awe-inspiring views of the Manhattan skyline that the Beatles saw just as they landed their moon module on Ellis Island.
In 1929, three highly regarded patrons of the arts joined forces to found an institution that would break away from the conservative archetype of an art museum. Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, Lillie P. Bliss, and Mary Quinn Sullivan could hardly have guessed that their mutual brainchild—The Museum of Modern Art, or MoMa—would someday transform into an archetype all its own. The museum’s original director, Alfred H. Barr Jr., moved to create the first-ever multidepartmental structure, with various departments devoted to architecture and design, film and video, and photography. These were in addition to the standard painting, sculpture, and visual-arts exhibits found in nearly every other museum to date. The public's response was overwhelmingly positive. After outgrowing two spaces, MoMA moved to its Midtown location, where it stands to this day. MoMA's initial gift of eight prints and one drawing has exploded to encompass a collection of more than 150,000 paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, photos, and design pieces. This collection continues to offer a wide-angle view into modern art and has spilled over into a massive library that houses more than 300,000 volumes. Every day, art lovers from around the world make their way through the museum’s structure, stopping at galleries that house iconic works by Picasso, Bourgeois, Warhol, Rauschenberg, and others. A constant influx of exhibitions keeps MoMA's many walls alive in the spirit of its progressive founders.