The walls of an old, repurposed church reverberate with the sounds of joyful singing, strumming guitars, rhythmic tap shoes, theatrical monologues, and whirring pottery wheels. As part of a nonprofit organization, ACPPA Community Art Center's instructors kindle sparks of creativity in the community through youth and adult programs in studio and performing arts, fitness, and dance. A jam-packed calendar keeps families busy with art exhibitions, Mommy and Me pottery-painting classes, and community mural projects bring that residents together to beautify local spaces or paint over typos on the town's welcome sign.
The popular Anytime Fitness chain, which has hundreds of locations across America, stays open 24 hours per day, seven days per week, to accommodate the hours of its busy clients. The Norristown location of Anytime Fitness is spacious and modern, filled with Hammer Strength and Precor strength-training machines, free weights, and cardio equipment with TVs. To supplement the salvo of workout equipment, Anytime offers fitness classes such as Zumba and yoga. And its cheerful staff of certified personal trainers is on hand to develop wellness programs specifically to clients' individual fitness goals.
Years ago, Joyce Nichols suffered a loss that triggered emotional overeating, leaving her 30 pounds overweight. Thanks to her professional background in fitness, she knew that she needed a weight-loss plan healthier than a crash diet, a dependence on supplements, or a resolution to carry a set of fun-house mirrors around with her at all times. So she started developing a set of recipes reminiscent of her grandmother's comforting cooking, yet lighter and rich in fat-burning ingredients. She put a bikini in her kitchen to remind her of her weight-loss goal.
Today, a trimmed-down Joyce shares the knowledge she's gleaned at her studio, The Bikini Kitchen, during classes that are part nutrition lesson and part motivational coaching. Groups prepare four-course dinners of brunch menus, learning to make dishes such as coconut-encrusted chicken with sweet dill sauce, heirloom-tomato bruschetta, or fried chicken. Joyce's kitchen is cozy yet spacious, with warm-hued cabinets, wood floors, and separate stations to accommodate guests with nut allergies.
For Maria de Sousa, tango dancing was part of her Argentinian heritage. She embraced the style as a way to reconnect with her native country, and traveled back and forth between her American home and Buenos Aires to master her steps. Conversely, for Pierre Baston, his passion for tango began as a foreign fascination. He watched a dinner show while visiting Buenos Aires that enraptured him, inspiring him to immerse himself not only in dance lessons, but historical and cultural research—he still collects authentic tango sheet music from the early 20th century. Both dancers became certified through a master's program at the Escuela Argentina de Tango in Buenos Aires, and now elucidate the art of dipping and spinning at eight Philadelphia locales.
Maria and Pierre walk students of all experience levels through tango's passionate choreography. They host group classes for social learning experiences, and lead private seminars at their studios or a venue of the client's choice. Because they coordinate all the necessary partner match-ups and music, their protégés needn't bring a companion or play Keep Away with a violin's bow to make it whine.
The expert fitness instructors at Sweat Fitness's Philadelphia-area locations help students of all ages and fitness levels track down svelter silhouettes with Precor training equipment and fat-roasting classes—including yoga, Pilates, spinning, Zumba, and kickboxing. Committed to fostering a supportive community for all fit seekers, the trainers devote individual attention to each patron to help them meet their fitness goals. Clients first undergo a body-fat analysis to assess their preworkout fitness level and to help them gauge their progress throughout their journey. During group sweat sessions, patrons can tone their bodies in classes such as Group Power and Power Pump, which blast subdermal meat suits via squats, lunges, and curls. A full aquatics center welcomes guests to dive into relatively narwhal-free waters for swimming lessons, triathlon training, and pool parties.