In 1984, lifelong ballerina Elizabeth Chayer founded American Dance Institute in Anchorage, before relocating to two nearly-adjacent studios in Seattle. There she began amassing her current staff of talented toe-artists. Recruited from ballet troupes, contemporary dance companies, and flamenco ensembles around the world, the teachers lead open-level classes that balance technical training with expressive kineticism. Each instructs in their specialty, and as a result the twinned studios can offer a wide range of styles including ballroom, break dance, ballet, jazz, and the invisible lasso. Collectively, more than a century of professional experience conglomerates in the staff, and each boasts a solid footing on the basics of anatomy and kinesiology to maximize the effectiveness of training while minimizing the chance of injury. The classes themselves take on a welcoming, noncompetitive format that emphasizes enjoyment without sacrificing technique. Aimed at any dancers of 18 months and older, many classes, including musical theater, Irish step dancing, and ballet, come in a multitude of permutations designed for each age-set. Others are more restricted, such as adults- and teens-only flamenco, ballroom, and jazz sessions, or the grown-up-free Polynesian class. While individual movements and underlying concepts form the heart of these classes rather than choreographed productions, children enrolled in the spring semester get the chance to take part in a seasonal studio performance. American Dance Institute also hosts birthday parties where guests learn a particular style. During one notable jubilee, the attendees of a family reunion mastered an Irish ceili, then used their newfound skills to stomp on a block of icing until it became a cake.
Married for nine years and a photography team for five, Brian and Jennifer Hartman bring an artistic touch and approach to their on-location photography. Employing a photojournalistic style and dramatic lighting, they capture solo subjects and groups during posed and candid moments, earning critical acclaim from the Artistic Guild of the Wedding Photojournalist Association and The Knot and placing images in the pages of Elle and Seattle Bride magazines.
Not content to simply point and shoot, the Hartmans light compositions using chiaroscuro or high-exposure natural lighting and often accentuate subjects with extreme angles, forced perspective, or unique natural surroundings. They shoot in vibrant color or black and white, and can edit photos to enhance colors or, by request, replace each subject?s face with Winston Churchill?s. Though the Hartmans use professional tools, they?re glad to help students break into photography via ultra-accessible devices such as the iPhone?following in the footsteps, they note, of Annie Leibovitz, who endorsed the iPhone?s camera on NBC Nightly News in 2011. When not conducting on-location sessions, Brian also leads large-scale workshops in which they pass on their knowledge through graphic slideshows and hands-on training.
Founder Neil Buckland grew up with a Canon FTb in his hands, and as an adult, parlayed his affinity for striking images into a lucrative career in advertising design and branding. But something wasn’t right. As time passed, Buckland was spending more and more time finding excuses to ditch work and take some snapshots. Finally in 2008, he gave into his true calling, ditched the workaday world of office life, and founded REDred Photo School & Studio.
Today, his accessible workshops and classes help students learn some of the trickier intricacies of modern photography—from understanding what exposure is and how to manipulate it to how to rejigger a DSLR’s auto-modes so that it actually takes decent pictures. Other classes cover more technical concepts such as studio lighting, while still others such as The Art of Photography focus on the aesthetic side. Buckland’s studio is available to rent for personal or commercial photo shoots of any kind, and, for additional fees, the staff can augment such shoots with make-up services, lighting assistance, models for hire, and old-fashioned pterodactyl-powered cameras.
American Athlete’s owner, Tony Held, and his team strive to foster a community that inspires their members to carry health and fitness throughout all aspects of their lives. To push them toward reaching their fitness goals, they’ve stocked their facility with strength and cardio equipment, such as Precor ellipticals and Keiser M3 cycles. They lead students in a broad range of group fitness classes, such as the heart-pumping, Latin-inspired global dance party known as Zumba. Their Les Mills classes include BodyCombat, in which participants unleash a furious array of martial-arts-inspired moves on imaginary armies of parking-meter maids. For more solitary workouts, personal trainers customize one-on-one sessions, offering encouragement as they help their clients blast past plateaus to new levels of fitness.
The jazz standard ?Flying Home? brought Savoy Swing Club?s founders together in 1993 at a dance camp, after which the group of friends began meeting regularly to keep the choreography fresh in their minds. The troupe?s dedication to the lindy hop and other jazz-era dances gradually blossomed into the club?s current calendar of professionally staffed classes, workshops, and dance events. Classes grouped by skill level progressively transform students with two left feet or three right toes into fleet-footed hoofers, imparting classic moves that help nurture a sense of rhythm and speed. Each week, students of all levels can take part in Savoy Mondays, a decade-long tradition, as DJs and a single trumpeting swan provide background music for dancers to sharpen their moves. And on the first and third Fridays of every month, the basement of the local Bagel Deli becomes the Blues Underground, where a free introductory blues lesson is followed by a late night of dancing.
Members of Olympic Athletic Club strengthen their muscles in a building where weary nineteenth-century travelers used to rest theirs. The historical former hotel still exudes old-fashioned glamour, from the theater-like marquee and a clock designed by renowned neon artist Roger Legerano to the interior's leather furniture and exposed brick walls. A tour of the inside of the club also reveals why it was named Best Workout Venue in 2009 by the Ballard News-Tribune and Best Health Club in 2012 by Seattle Magazine.
In addition to rows of cardio machines with personal-viewing screens, visitors catch a glimpse of group classes that range from meditative tai chi to high-intensity boot-camp workouts. Children in the Kids Korner can entertain themselves by calculating the number of calories in an invisible friend's lunch while their parents swim laps in the pool or play a game on the basketball and racquetball courts.