At Edelweiss Premier Ballroom, seasoned dance instructors impart their love of artistic movement to students of all ages and experience levels. The broad curriculum includes classes in styles such as ballroom, latin, cha-cha, foxtrot, rumba, and waltz.
A gallery of masterpieces showcases stunningly virtuosic renderings—which are especially impressive considering they were created by kids. While fostering a friendly, cheerful atmosphere, instructors teach classical art skills to classes of up to 12 students at a time. During weekly classes, the skilled instructors demonstrate how to realistically illustrate animals, figures, and still-life scenes using traditional media. "Creativity follows mastery" is the KidsArt philosophy, so they designed the sort of program they imagine the old masters would have approved. Planting graphite sticks and paintbrushes in pupils' hands, instructors teach color mixing, show students how to break an image into its component parts, and instill necessary behaviors such as focus and patience. Programs include individualized drawing and painting lessons and special-topic workshops, such as clay sculpture, figure drawing, and Anime/cartooning.
"I am artistry"—that's the translation of Je M'appelle Artistry, as well as owner Shonny's philosophy. Shonny works as a photographer, designer, and instructor, often combining all three passions. Snapping photos with her Nikon D600, she captures intimate boudoir scenes, romantic wedding images, and fanciful kids' shots, focusing on portraits. She extends this love of portraits into group or private workshops, where students learn to incorporate natural light and elements into their pictures. Her photos have been published in the cloth-diapering book Changing Diapers; she also designs her own cloth-diaper and clothing patterns.
At Vamp Salon & Spa, licensed massage therapist Shannon Wyrwitzke skillfully extracts stress from overworked bodies and ushers in all-over relaxation via a 60-minute massage. Long, gentle strokes characterize the Swedish massage, which chases tension from entangled musculature with persistent pressure and a strongly worded eviction notice. In addition to prompting relaxation and easing aches, the method promotes proactive circulation to help to heal tissue tears quickly. Alternatively, the deep-tissue massage focuses on specific sore spots, targeting damaged tendons with intensely applied pressure. Wyrwitzke's firm touch quiets muscle spasms, unfurls knots, and decisively settles land disputes between feuding muscle groups. With increased limberness and flexibility, massaged clients can swivel their heads up and around to gawk at Vamp’s high ceilings and trendy décor.
Within Bikram Yoga of Los Angeles' Covina studio, Dr. Vern Rollins helms a team of certified and passionate instructors who have taught thousands of classes and accrued hundreds of teacher-training hours. As the studio's temperature summits to 105 degrees with 40% humidity, these instructors model and explain poses, encourage deep breathing, and tiptoe around puddles. Thanks to their intimate knowledge of modifications, they capably assist students of all levels. Further, they maintain a flexible schedule of morning and evening classes that are 90 minutes apiece.
Bikram’s 26 poses and two breathing exercises work to engage the entire body with the strength and grace of a full-contact symphony-orchestra performance. Systematically isolating muscle groups one at a time, the poses begin on a mat and work up to a standing position, gradually building stamina and flexibility and jump-starting circulation. As waves of heat loosen limbs enough to make sea-anemone shadow puppets, the body begins to sweat and release toxins. The studio rents yoga mats and has onsite showers.
A pupil’s holiday letter addressed to “Mr. Vargas” captures the heart of Vargas Conservatory of Music in one simple sentence: “You are one of my favorite teachers.” Michael Vargas and a team of degreed instructors—who are trained by Vargas himself—work hard to motivate and encourage their students, forming genuine friendships as they instruct pupils in music theory and sight-reading. The private lessons tackle everything from classical to jazz to pop music, depending on the student’s tastes.
Room 2 Dance’s instructors help students of all levels hone their dancing skills through private and group lessons. They can teach students to salsa, introduce them to the world of ballroom dance, and more—even mixing up rotating Tuesday-night classes with everything from Argentine tango to a “Thriller” flash-mob routine. The studio’s two floating dance floors are easy on the joints, and the decor is easy on the eyes; the space boasts a vintage-meets-modern style with warm tones accented by splashes of deep red, antique armchairs, gilded mirrors, and strings of lights hanging from the ceiling.