The inside of Blue Ash Strength & Conditioning looks like a jungle gym for adults. Here, people hang from bars of different heights, jump up to gymnastics rings, or flip giant tires through the space. This is a typical CrossFit class, led by experienced trainers who change up the workout routine every day to ensure muscles don't plateau. Their exercises are designed to create well-rounded athletes, and everything that's done can be scaled to accommodate guests of all fitness levels. A typical day at Blue Ash can bring any number of unforeseen challenges, from running around outside to hurling medicine balls.
Patty first discovered rock climbing in college. “I got sucked in right away,” she says. Before long, she found herself marrying a fellow climber—a man she met at Climb Time back when it was still managed by the original owners who also blended their relationship with climbing. “They got married at the gym,” Patty says, describing how the first owners scaled the roof to say their "I dos." Though Patty and her husband didn’t exchange rings at the top of a wall, they did decide to buy the gym.
The expansive arena challenges climbers with a 24-foot climbing wall, where novice and expert mountaineers alike grasp handholds with chalked palms or coax a gorilla to carry them up piggyback style. Along the other side of the facility, Patty and crew dare climbers to test their strength on a wide array of 15- to 60-degree bouldering inclines that sit above moveable pads to cushion jumps or falls.
Led by championship dancer Marco Mechelke, Dare to Dance's squad of experienced instructors help dancers of all experience levels to kick up their heels and ignite calorie bonfires. Up-tempo beats resound in high-energy Zumba and fitness classes, and quick-steppers master more than 15 styles in ballroom-dance classes. Wall-to-wall mirrors reflect synchronized fleet-footers as they cut and painstakingly resew rugs across three studios' combined 10,000 square feet of smooth, polished wood floors.
Portrait painting used to require a subject to sit for hours on end, forcing them to first take tedious lessons on not moving from willing ventriloquist dummies. Thankfully, modern technology allows Daniel Dean to take a more practical approach. When a client commissions a portrait, Mr. Dean first snaps hundreds of images of them during a photo shoot, focusing on capturing natural expressions that show their personality. As clients return to their daily lives, he refers to the images to produce works of art. The result is a life-like, yet uniquely stylized, oil painting.
Every stroke of Mr. Dean’s brush is guided by his extensive art background. The artist trained as an oil painter, and earned an undergraduate degree at Bowling Green State University and a master’s degree at the University of Cincinnati. When not painting, he shares his expertise as an adjunct professor at UC and the University of Dayton, and trains younger students during classes held at his studio.
From the welcoming confines of her art studio, Jen Meade calls on more than 35 years of experience as a self-taught artist as she shepherds visitors through their own colorful journeys of self-expression. Group classes for adults instill painters of all levels with new brushing skills, and private lessons give students one-on-one attention to focus on useful techniques, such as disguising mistakes with unobtrusive trees and bobcats wearing sunglasses. During Jen's specialty classes, brushstrokes elude the canvas to instead embellish a variety of creative keepsakes, such as paintable wineglasses and articles of clothing.