When Maggie Carchrie voyaged to Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia, she hardly expected to discover a passion that would win her the U.S. Mòd Women's Championship in Gaelic Singing two years later. She was immediately enchanted by the traditional music of the region, planning her future travels around the areas of Cape Breton and Scotland and diving headfirst into the Celtic culture. With a college degree in music therapy and a resume that boasts subsequent studies at the Ceòlas Music School, she built a foundation for a life filled with award-winning Celtic performance and education. She lays claim to two albums, books several East Coast showcases throughout the year, and furthers the reach of Celtic stylings through the concerts and CDs of Mermaid Productions. Maggie draws from all of these experiences to act as director of the Callanish School of Celtic Arts. There, she instructs students of all ages in music, dance, and lyrical language, managing a non-competitive venue for guests to experiment with age-old harmonies and master a brogue without having to install a second tongue. From the high-stepping choreography of Scottish Highland Dance to the signature keening of the bagpipe, she outlines several levels of melodic techniques, all of which are steeped in rich history.
Ancient Himalayan singing bowls and the calming tone of a gong envelop The Conduit Center’s space as individuals lie comfortably on pillows and blankets, letting the deep vibrations and soothing sounds lull them into a deep meditative state. These sound-meditation concerts are just one aspect of the center’s meditation services, which are designed to create a state of effortless relaxation for each participant. Guests can also opt for vibrational sound massage and singing-bowl sessions, both of which use vibration and sound to calm the entire body while boosting mental focus, helping the body heal while making ordinary soup bowls seem sadly inadequate.
In addition to meditation, the center conducts yoga, tai chi, and qigong classes that are both challenging and accessible to all levels of participants. Complimentary herbal teas, massage therapy, and individual or marriage counseling are also offered as part of the center's goals to create a tranquil environment where each individual can quell anxieties and start a personal journey of self-exploration.
The consortium of professional instructors at Fred Astaire Dance Studios, which was cofounded by the legendary toe tapper himself, shepherds students of all ages and skill levels through lessons that span the style spectrum. Low-pressure private sessions allow enthusiastic teachers to fine-tune individual students' techniques and form, using their expert eyes and mechanical dancing shoes preprogrammed to do the Charleston. Patrons can learn how to cavort through classic waltz and fox-trot romps or swivel through the modern steps of salsa, swing, or samba. For dancers hoping to hoof it up in a social setting, the group practice parties provide a one-night extravaganza of instruction, demonstrations, and amateur firewalking.
Each instructor at Evolution Pilates is certified through Stott Pilates, which requires a minimum of 200 hours of training. Backed by this certification, the instructors lead private and group classes for all types of exercisers, from beginners to experienced athletes. The classes incorporate equipment such as reformers, which help exercisers build lean muscles.
Within Stone Age Rock Gym's indoor facility, 4,500 square feet of textured climbing walls help visitors ascend to new heights. Bouldering, 32-foot lead routes, and top-rope climbing areas await gym guests, surrounding them in technicolor handholds that creep up the walls at challenging angles. Elsewhere, a simulated ice-climbing wall absorbs the blows of axes, and a gear shop preps climbers to ascend walls with the dexterity of Spiderman.
A staff of certified guides lead classes that teach students as young as 6 the fundamental skills needed to ascend simulated peaks. Alternatively, the experts head up guided climbing trips to sites across the state. They help eager climbers scale the 30-foot Wolf Rock in Mansfield Hollow and reach the Sasquatch hugs awaiting them atop Ragged Mountain's 120-foot cliff.
An octopus graphic greets visitors at the doorway of Downtown Yoga Studios. It's an appropriate image: the mollusk holds a meditative quality as its eight arms flow outward with a strong yet relaxed energy. Downtown's instructors help guests attain a similar state of serenity and fitness with multiple styles and levels of yoga, such as Go with the Flow, Relax and Renew, and Power Yoga. They also lead fitness classes that include cycling, boxing, and chicken chasing.