At Salsa Memphis, renowned dancer and choreographer Edgar "TunTun" Mendez leads each lesson, deploying skills he attained through years of dancing as a professional, performing onstage with Tito Puente and onscreen for Marc Anthony, as well as in salsa congresses and competitions. Within his airy, yellow-walled studio, Mendez shows students of all ages and ability levels how to perform a range of fast-paced, seductive salsa moves, beginning with basic steps, right and left turns, and cross-body leads. Intermediate and advanced lessons are designed for those ready to move on to more complex combinations, such as how to dip a partner in an airplane aisle. A private lesson bestows fledgling dancers with focused one-on-one time with the salsa professor for quicker learning and personalized tips. Lessons can be taken at the student's convenience, allowing dancers to learn on their own time as opposed to adhering to a weekly schedule.
Although painting is a solitary experience for many artists, it becomes a color-strewn party at ArtJamN. Enthusiastic staff members encourage participants to interact, inspire each other, and even collaborate on the same canvas. Painters are outfitted with a bevy of paints and textures that add dimension to magnum opuses and make it easier to crawl into someone else's painting and take a nap. Both regular painting sessions and private parties introduce burgeoning artists to a cornucopia of artistic styles as they intermingle and sip from their own stash of adult beverages.
Experienced photo gurus Doug Box and Randy Kerr impart practical photo skills to curious shutterbugs during engaging seminars that have appeared across the States and in eight countries abroad. Doug Box, author of myriad photography-technique books, is one of 13 Kodak mentors and is the Executive Director of the Texas Professional Photographers Association. His co-teacher, Randy Kerr, heads World Photographic, which uses photography as a vehicle for illuminating humanitarian and environmental topics. Both men have been teaching photography classes for years and help amateurs take photos that capture piercing looks, toothy smiles, and elusive dodo sightings.
Experienced gymnasts twirl and flip at one end of Gymcats Gymnastics’ floor as they train for advanced events. At the other end, toddlers learn introductory rolls and coordination. That’s the studio’s philosophy at a glance: real gymnastics taught in classes designed to suit all students. Kids aged 3–4 learn the basics of tumbling while increasing attention spans, learning social skills, and practicing human pyramids to reach cookie jars. More-seasoned athletes can receive instruction on the vault, bars, balance beam, and floor. After they graduate, students can apply their skills toward other sports or practice to become a part of Gymcats’ competitive teams. The gym also caters to grownups by hosting parents’ nights out on select Fridays and overseeing birthday parties.
Isis Dance Academy trains women in the art of undulation with belly-dance classes for students of all levels. Beginner through advanced dancers can learn new techniques and routines in choreography classes or burn fat in energetic belly boot camp. Isis's professional dancers can also perform their hypnotic moves for private parties and events.