Bergen Academy of Music and Art fine-tunes the music skills of students of all ages, offering private lessons in piano, guitar, violin, voice, and a multitude of woodwinds. Students are matched with one of more than 20 potential teachers based on levels and instrument choice, and for most sound makers, including guitar, voice, and woodwinds, the minimum pupil age is typically 5–7 years. Lessons teach a variety of musical styles, including classical, rock, and jazz, and teachers develop pupil-personalized methods to cover technique and musicianship. Classes also coach scholars in music theory, ear training, instrument maintenance, and cummerbund-wearing basics. Private symphonious sessions are once a week, and must be taken in consecutive weeks at the same time and day. Those interested should call their selected location to schedule a first lesson.
A mother and her teenage daughter stand at the counter side-by-side, chop, chop, chopping in unison. Neither have cooked much with vegetables before, but under the friendly guidance of experts, they find their veggie phobias fading. This is a recurring theme within The Food Evolution's kitchen, where students learn to toss their culinary insecurities into the flames and begin having fun with meal prep.
At The Food Evolution, which Diane Hoch founded in 2010, students aged 16 and older learn from professional instructors how to create healthful, tasty, preservative-free meals. Classes highlight either techniques or styles of cuisine and vary in levels of participation—from demonstration classes where students observe and take notes, to hands-on courses in which students are required to touch everything with all 10 fingers. In private nutritional-counseling sessions, Diane, a certified nutritional-health counselor, tailors advice and programs to help individuals reach their health and wellness goals.
Mandy Grant is an expert at working up a sweat; she’s been a fitness enthusiast for decades. So it’s no surprise that the avid exerciser went on to open her personal yoga studio, which she lovingly named after the Zulu word for sweat. Students will also be pleasantly surprised to learn that Mandy donates 15% off all profits from this studio’s classes to assist AIDS orphans in South Africa and all donations from community classes to other charities.
Mandy’s passion to help others doesn’t stop there. At the Bergen County studio, students of all levels are given ample attention during 75-minute yoga classes, which are rooted in Hatha but also incorporate elements of Vinyasa flow, pranayama, and meditation. This style of teaching encourages yogis to connect their breathing with their postures and calming thoughts. Mandy and her dedicated instructors also spice up workout routines with heated Vinyasa sessions and mat Pilates.
Gotham Dream Cars lets drivers grip the throttle of exotic speed machines such as the Ferrari F430, Lamborghini Gallardo, and Bentley Continental GT for personal rental or specialized thrill experiences. During the Dream Car Sprint, auto enthusiasts slip into a Ferrari or Lamborghini on a closed course and whip their more than 500-horsepower drive three times around the autocross track, learning how to tame their power with the aid of an instructor before coming out of the third lap on a straightaway to open the engine up to its full potential. Drivers conduct an orchestra of firing pistons and camshafts for three laps before crossing the finish line and parking to the pianissimo of the softly purring V8 engine. Gotham Dream Cars snaps pictures of the sprint, so drivers are sent home with hands they will never wash and a CD of images to parade before jealous coworkers and humbled shopping carts.
One can look behind every stationary bike or beneath each treadmill, and never come across a man at American Woman Fitness Center. They will, however, find a swimming pool, rows of cardio machines, and a studio that hosts more than 50 fitness classes. Because the health club only admits women at its two locations, gals can feel more comfortable and confident as they break a sweat on elliptical machines and weight-training equipment.
The all-female staff leads a slew of group fitness classes, including CrossFit, Corebar training, Zumba, and yoga classes, some of which take place in the swimming pool and can result in highly desirable dolphin abs. In addition to classes, they offer personal-training sessions along with weight-loss and nutritional counseling tailored to female physiques. While ladies are working out, they can rest assured that their wee ones are looked after, as the staff also provides childcare services.
A licensed chiropractor and experienced martial artist, Dr. John Surie started practicing hot yoga when he met his future wife, Natalie. Charmed by her Australian accent and passion for the practice, he soon became an avid Bikram student himself, and in 2002, the husband-and-wife duo opened their first studio with Natalie helming her own curriculum of Bikram-inspired classes. Today, their hot-yoga empire has expanded to five studios sprinkled across the United States and Australia, each teeming with certified instructors who lead students through 13 different class styles. Designed to make hot yoga accessible to everyone, classes range from the studio’s signature Ignite series, which introduces newcomers to the foundations of hot yoga, to intense Shape classes that see stretchers melding hot-yoga and Pilates moves while solving Pythagorean equations.
Each studio comes equipped with special flooring tailored to the humid environment of hot yoga, as well as air-circulation and advanced heating systems to keep fresh, hot air blowing. Studios also boast children’s classes that take place concurrently with adult sessions, allowing kids and parents to work out simultaneously.
The Art Spot's workshop connects artists with professional materials, individual workstations, and friendly guidance to help them tap into their creative inclinations. Drop-in studio sessions present visitors with two avenues for crafting framed 2-D artwork: flesh out one of hundreds of pre-made sketches using studio materials, or build an image from scratch using acrylic paint, artistic vision, and the pair of cracked spectacles that prevented Picasso from lining up facial features correctly. A friendly instructor installs each student at a well-lit drafting table equipped with a box of basic mark-making materials, pointing out a meticulously organized supply cabinet of colored pencils, three kinds of pastels, brush art markers, watercolors, and acrylic paints. Coordinated media ensures that draftspeople pair the right materials for their masterpieces, saving brushes' wet kisses for cold-press watercolor paper or canvas and smearing pastels' thick lipstick on acid-free cotton paper. Those working without a sketch who would prefer access to the studio's full panoply of pigments may buy their way out of acrylics for an additional fee ($25/hour).