Inside Different Strokes Art Studio, pristine white ceramic bisques fill the cubbies that line one wall, taking all kinds of shapes—from giant vases to wizard hats. Artists of all ages bend to their work at the studio’s tables, dabbling colored glazes onto the matte clay and picking colors and brushes from the center of the table as they go, creating keepsakes such as personalized dinner platters for holidays or ornaments with their child's hand print painted on. When customers are done bedecking their pieces, the shop’s assistants glaze and fire each one, turning items such as plates, bowls, and dip platters instantly food safe and ready to hang on the wall or hold beautifully presented piles of marshmallow fluff.
Certified dance instructors who have trained with Arthur Murray, Fred Astaire, and the National Dance Council of America impart ballroom, Latin, and swing moves to dancers in all-level and wedding-specific courses. The main ballroom's mammoth disco ball, grown from a sequin planted on the roof, tosses light across a blacked-out ceiling that, along with high-tech lighting, fosters a nightclub atmosphere during weekly dance parties.
On the Ross Barnett Reservoir sits the Main Harbor Marina, and subsequently, the full-service Main Harbor Store. There, the staff dispenses a host of boating aids, ranging from ethanol-free fuel to ice, food, and supplies, such as life jackets or inflatable marinas for boating vacations on the go. But the store doesn't merely indulge its customers in boating merchandise. It also rents out party-boat behemoths, such as pontoons fit for a dozen people looking to relax in the sun and dip their faces into the marina's waters. And in addition to personal watercraft, or small jets fit for three passengers, there's also the massive, 30-foot party barge, which holds up to 16 people and features two levels of above-water decks, as well as a slide.
Guided by 27 years of martial-arts experience, seventh-degree black belt Jason Griffin helps budding martial artists cultivate their skills with his team of certified Taekwondo instructors. Since 1996, they’ve helped students of all ages learn self-defense, compete in tournaments, and take pride in the practice of martial arts. The team’s dedication has paid off: In 2012, the Jackson Free Press awarded them the title of Best Martial Arts Studio. In addition to taekwondo classes, the studio hosts birthday parties, boot camps, and more.
Surrounded by the works of classes past, pupils at Easely Amused create their own pieces of art under the tutelage of experienced instructors. Provided brushes whisper against canvas while students follow their teacher to create a painting that matches the evening’s template. Like driving directions from a poet, the works often include seasonal scenes, abstract swirls of color, and bright flowers. Painters bring their own beverages to enjoy during classes, the clicking glasses of wine and beer helping provide inspiration for art.
In 1969, Judi Sheppard Missett shared her love of jazz dance with the world through an original exercise program known as Jazzercise. Almost instantaneously a phenomenon, the regimen took off and grew to include 7,800 instructors teaching 32,000 classes weekly in 32 countries around the world. The Jazzercise Ridgeland Fitness Center counts itself amongst one of the many locations that continues to carry Judi’s torch.
True to the original program, instructors fuse elements of many other athletics into the framework of jazz dance. Pilates and yoga strengthen the core and help build long and lean muscle. Resistance training provides muscle definition and explosive-movement power, which can be used to light a troublesome grill by slapping it. Kickboxing classes and classic jazz steps round out the program, providing cardio training that builds endurance. Because the program involves simple, easy-to-follow moves, it is an accessible form of exercise for people of all skill and experience levels.