New York-native John Cassese's motto is, "If you can walk, you can dance." The celebrity dance instructor and choreographer's own quick-stepping career began at the tender age of 10, jumpstarting a passion that would eventually take him careening across the stages of off-Broadway productions, nightclubs, dance competitions, and the occasional monster-truck rally. It wasn't until he relocated to Los Angeles that an agent dubbed him "The Dance Doctor," and soon after, he found his fleet-footed prowess and teaching abilities in high demand amongst production studios such as Sony, Paramount, and 20th Century Fox.
Between choreographing a Charleston dance sequence on AMC's Mad Men and singing at the 50th birthday parties of Billy Crystal and Wolfgang Puck, John leads a team of instructors as they teach celebs and everyday Tinseltowners the finer points of styles ranging from ballet to hip-hop. Despite all the fanfare, his biggest praise comes from his work with soon-to-be-married couples, who seek his advice on everything from basic steps and song selection, to the length of the post-cake-cutting conga line.
Guided by a mission of embracing every student's quest for personal growth, the team at YogaWorks offers programs for all ages and walks of life. Harnessing a minimum of 500 hours of Yoga Alliance training, expert instructors build lean muscles with traditional Ashtanga, Iyengar, and Vinyasa flow classes enhanced by inspiring music, ambient candlelight, meditation, and props. Their fitness classes further the body-shaping results of yoga, strengthening core muscles with Pilates, increasing endurance and lean muscles with TRX classes, and building stamina with resistance-based SculptWorks.
Instructors also host exotic yoga retreats, which marry the excitement of travel to far-away locales with the benefits of yoga to bestow students with the confident grace required to approach a foreign yoga mat without startling it. Those in search of further training can access online videos by subscribing to myyogaworks.com, which offers a free, 14-day trial for new users. Students can search for videos by workout duration, skill level, and the targeted area of the body.
Iron Fitness's name and garage-like exterior might suggest that it holds a cavernous space full of musclemen and barbells. Instead, step through the doors and you'll find an intimate, boutique workout experience marked by 9,000 square feet of fitness machines and three studios with distinct identities.
Iron x PT specializes in personal training. During one-on-one fitness sessions, upbeat but tough-minded trainers analyze what clients need to do to reach their fitness goals, then motivate them to do it. Momentum, on the other hand, is all about the power of group fitness. Its instructors don't just follow workout trends—often, they set them, pioneering styles such as the hip-hop-based Groov3 and Pound, which celebrates percussive rhythms and prepares students for marathon meat-tenderizing sessions. Finally, the Elite studio connects gloved fists and with punching bags in a ring run by pro-level boxing instructors.
Santa Monica Museum of Art started big: upon its founding in 1984, it moved right into a space designed by famed architect Frank Gehry. And it only got bigger. 14 years later, it relocated to expanded digs in the Bergamot Station Arts Center. That's remarkable in part because the museum has no permanent archive?instead of amassing a collection, it fills its schedule with rotating exhibits and the fruit of partnerships with with some of the world's most innovative modern artists.
A main gallery and two project rooms have showcased work including landscape and portrait paintings, mixed media, video sculpture, and creative installations from local and international artists. Programs ranging from modern crafting workshops to book-club meetings led by a guest artist or scholar also fill the space with creativity. To immerse guests deeper in the world of modern art, SMMoA also offers guided private-group tours and special members-only tours led by executive director Elsa Longhauser.
Matteo Baker didn't put ?220? in the name of his fitness center just to help people remember its street address. He did it to remind them of his goal for the center's services: to be ?second to none.? With body-bolstering services that range from personal training to chiropractic care to nutritional counseling, 220 Fitness and Wellness blends conventional gym practices with holistic wellness therapy to forge a multifaceted approach to health. While in one of three studios or out on the beach, guests can get hearts pumping in one of the center's group classes, including boot camp, cycling, and yoga, each of which take place frequently enough to let latecomers find a fun alternate class and early comers join in the previous class's naptime. When workouts are finished, the modern facility's licensed and certified health practitioners work to help guests recover from or prevent injuries with physical therapy, chiropractic care, and massage therapy.
Bryan Freeman wanted two things out of his career: to meet new people and spend time outdoors. With this in mind, Mr. Freeman's path seemed obvious. He would start giving bike tours. A self-described "fact guy," the expert guide draws upon his extensive knowledge of the Venice area to delight both tourists and California natives. From the Venice canals to the spacious mailboxes of celebrity homes, the expert guide tells stories about famous locations and uncovers some of the area's hidden gems. "Everyone always says they had no idea the tour would be so exciting," he says. "People think Venice is just the beach, but just a block away there is so much more."
Mr. Freeman doesn't keep his groups confined to the seats and cowboy saddles of bicycles. He frequently points out ideal spots for photo ops and occasionally pauses for activities, such as letting groups spray paint their names onto a legal-graffiti wall. He also supplies optional helmet cams that capture videos for souvenirs.