Though Michiyo Fukushima was a successful photographer in her native Japan, she felt that something in her art form was lacking. It wasn't until she moved to New York City and discovered watercolor that she found the medium where she could fully express herself, transferring the interplay of light and shadow she knew well from photography onto her canvases.
In classes, Michiyo and her associates give students a taste of the techniques behind the luminous washes and precise shapes of her nearly photorealistic work, which finds her captivated by humble fire escapes and ethereal stone cherubs alike. Ranked among the "5 Best Casual Art Classes in New York City" by CBS New York, Fukushima's lessons in watercolor and drawing are designed for artists of all levels, from casual hobbyists to those who dream of having their work displayed on the Louvre's fridge. In addition to sessions held in a cozy red-brick building, she also teaches at the New York Academy of Art.
Spotlighted in Time magazine and the New York Times, Music for Aardvarks and Other Mammals is a nationally renowned program offering a unique take on musical education for children 3 months to 4 years old. Classes consist of 45 minutes of singing, dancing, musical storytelling, and jamming. Children's songsmith David Weinstone designed a curriculum celebrating the urban environment as well as universal concerns of youth via his classes, which have exploded into the national spotlight since their humble beginnings in 1997. Rather than being strict and results-driven, the teaching style at Music for Aardvarks is based on adult modeling and exposing children to ideas and sounds without dumbing them down. Parent participation is strongly encouraged for atonal squealers and former Yes drummers alike. Check the Music for Aardvarks website for the drop-in sessions and 10-class series schedules.
When Sheila Kelley broke into the fitness scene, fitness pole-dancing classes were unheard of. However, in just a few years, the S Factor—her unique fusion of yoga, ballet, Pilates, and striptease—became renowned for its physical benefits and confidence-boosting ability. Due to this focus on both mind and body, the S Factor garnered widespread acclaim, with endorsements from Oprah, Ellen DeGeneres, and Martha Stewart. The workout's mission is clear: engendering female empowerment, confidence, and respect through sultry pole dancing. The S Factor's healthful impact on its students' bodies can be attributed to its combination of diverse workout methods, all of which build lean muscle mass. The course's six levels build on one another, relying on stretches, pole work, and traditional dance to get students twirling around the pole safely regardless of their athletic experience.
In order to understand Alchemy in Movement (A.I.M.), you'll have to set aside any preconceived notions about your own physical limitations. Because at Sal Anthony's Movement Salon, those limitations are negligible. Sal created A.I.M., which uses a table with suspension straps hanging over it, to get people moving in new ways that can improve mobility in everyday life. His private 90-minute A.I.M. yoga classes enlist the special apparatus to help clients hoist their legs over their heads, perform back bends, and otherwise defy gravity and stiff muscles.
Sal and his staff bring the same enthusiasm for unconventional movement to Gyrotonic sessions, which rely on a special pulley tower to support students as they sway in circular motions that limber up the body and give an internal massage, like swallowing a pager. But instructors don't disregard traditional workouts altogether; they also teach Pilates and yoga.
Fitness industry veteran Dulcinea Lee Hellings's goal is to bring a high-quality, effective exercise regimen to people who don't love big gyms or can't afford personal trainers. In 2004, she realized that mornings could be used for more than hitting the snooze button over and over for two hours, and founded Boot Camp "Morning Crunch!" to help fledgling exercisers whip into shape.
She designs her all-levels programs to be scream-free morning motivators⎯the first stop in her patrons' journey of daily accomplishments. The fast-paced, ever-changing circuit of strength and cardio exercises keeps bodies guessing and minds from becoming bored. Each of the boot camp's 12 outdoor locations has a different dedicated trainer who gets to know each student personally, remembering their names and memorizing any interesting freckle patterns. They complement their morning routines with a smattering of evening options for those who prefer to work out after the day's activities.
Harnessing a minimum of 500 hours of Yoga Alliance training, YogaWorks's expert instructors build lean muscles with traditional Ashtanga, Iyengar, and Vinyasa flows enhanced by inspiring music, ambient candlelight, meditation, and props. Their fitness classes further the body-shaping results of yoga, strengthening core muscles with Pilates, increasing endurance and lean muscles with TRX classes, and building stamina with resistance-based SculptWorks. Instructors also host exotic yoga retreats, which marry the excitement of travel to far-away locales with the benefits of yoga to bestow students with the confident grace required to approach a foreign yoga mat without startling it.
Those in search of further training can access online videos by subscribing to myyogaworks.com, which offers a free, 14-day trial for new users. Students can search for videos by workout duration, skill level, and the targeted area of the body.