[Owen Walker](http://www.insideoutimprov.com/page9/page9.html#!owen-walker/c60z has been teaching the Action Theater method for more than 15 years. Originally a visual artist, Owen found a more immediate medium?the human body?and began to experiment with physical improv as a method to further explore his creative impulses. He studied extensively with Ruth Zaporah, the guru of the Action Theater method, and he is now one of the method?s six designated senior teachers.
The Action Theater method approaches physical improvisation and theater from three angles: language, voice, and movement. Classes give special attention to being fully present, connecting with a scene partner, and urging students to focus on how they do something, rather than what they do. The end result not only can transform a student?s performance on the stage, it can also enhance everyday skills such as empathy and spontaneity. Thus, though the technique is rooted in the theater, it can also benefit non-actors, much like a playhouse?s cell-phone-activated trap door.
Though Action Theater sometimes features a discounted price online, this Groupon still offers the best deal available
The staccato beat of conga drums rises over the deep voice of a bass guitar and the higher trills of the timbales and piano. Head dancer Evan Margolin and his bevy of experienced instructors lead students in classes that take beginners through basic footwork and salsa rhythms, with intermediate and advanced sessions offering salsa aficionados more challenging instruction. The social class structure—partners rotate throughout every session—creates a low-pressure learning environment and keeps dancers from scrambling to locate a partner or human-shaped tupperware container. The one-hour beginner classes are mostly filled with salsa novices and new dancers, and Dance SF's experienced and engaging local salsateers are patient and friendly when showing new students how to bust well-timed moves. During intermediate classes, which require six months or more of social dancing experience, students focus on timing and cross-body leads with turns. After some evening classes, new dancers are invited to join an all-night salsa party where they can put their new moves in practice. Students should wear comfortable clothing, which includes dancing shoes, but does not include rear-flapped onesie pajamas.
Jill Dailey McIntosh has always been intrigued by the human body and how it moves?so much so that she graduated in 1991 with a kinesiology degree and soon thereafter decided to open her own Pilates teaching studio. But it wasn't until years later that this curiosity would manifest itself in a single question: "How can one aggressively transform the shape of their body while still maintaining proper alignment of the spine?" Eventually Jill began to examine her diverse fitness background, pulling low-impact movements from ballet, Pilates, and even orthopedic-exercise routines to create the basis for her fitness style, The Dailey Method.
Now, more than a decade later, Dailey's fitness routine has ballooned into studios sprawled across more than 10 states and gained praise from Self, Allure, FitPregnancy, and InStyle magazines. Regardless of the location, instructors remain true to Jill's mission of offering a diverse series of exercises that focus on toning and lengthening the body while lengthening the spine and building strong core muscles.
Monkey Yoga Shala's attentive instructors help students hone energy, balance, and strength with individualized instruction in a variety of specialized yoga classes. The studio's signature Isometric Monkey yoga melds aspects of dance, martial arts, and Ashtanga yoga to create an exhilarating low-impact workout. Additionally, resistance stretches lengthen limbs as instructors personally assist students in finding their most comfortable pose. In Vinyasa classes, aspiring yogis harness deliberate breathing to flow through asanas and backbends with the grace of a swan performing downward-facing dog. New mothers gather for 90-minute Mom & Baby sessions, toting tots through a series of mind-body exercises designed to increase energy and facilitate more focused baby-bottle juggling. Monkey Yoga's flexible roster of early-morning and late-night classes beckons participants to the spacious studio, which glows with natural light and hardwood floors polished well enough to reflect the radiance emanating from students? auras.
With the vision of a bracelet in mind, a student lays a strip of steel over an anvil and begins bending it under the blows of a hammer. Down the hall, another budding artist pours molten glass into a mold, which soon cools into a decorative orb. Each year, the faculty at The Crucible educates roughly 5,000 adults and children in arts that range from ceramics to fire dancing. Starting in 1999 with a $1,750 grant, the nonprofit's founders?a small group of artists that includes sculptor Michael Sturtz?nurtured a vision that took them from a 6,000-square-foot warehouse to a solar-powered, 56,000-square-foot arts-education studio. Beyond the classrooms, The Crucible also hosts galleries where both students and faculty show their work, exploring the various elements of design or states of longing for a Twinkie.
The two grand exhibition rooms at the Institute of Mosaic Art show off the textured tile work of its staff and visiting artists, with more works displayed outside in its lush garden. Within, more than 80 classes and workshops for all skill levels cover a wide range of topics and techniques, including working with glass, smalti, and tiles, as well as projects such as jewelry and exterior decorations. Visiting artists conduct special workshops, giving students insight into their creative processes and suggestions on the best brand of car windshield to smash for supplies.
The institute also houses Mosaic Studio Supply, which fills its homey halls with materials and manuals for all projects. Mosaic makers can browse the stock of a la carte supplies, from colorful tiles to tools and adhesives, as well as kits full of color-coordinated pieces.