At a time when most kids were learning to spell with the letters in their alphabet soup, Mark and Missy Seyler were learning gymnastics. What began as a fun extracurricular activity turned into a successful college career for both Mark and Missy at the University of Oklahoma, which led the siblings into the teaching profession. Their academy resembles an Olympic training facility with wall-to-wall mats and rows of gymnastics training equipment, such as balance beams and uneven bars. The center's in-ground trampolines, play mountains, and foam pits also help youngsters discover the fun in physical fitness. Mark and Missy lead an extensive gymnastics curriculum in classes for boys and girls, and students can attend the academy as soon as they enter preschool or learn to recite the alphabet backward. In addition to their standard classes, Mark and Missy lead regular events such as camps, Friday Nights Out, and birthday parties. As their skills progress, students can pit themselves against their peers in Southlake’s competitive programs.
Inside the climate-controlled environs of his 8,500-square-foot training center, Jeff Isler heads a team of teaching professionals that helps students of all ability levels shave strokes off their scores. Each lesson illustrates the importance of the game's fundamentals, such as grip, ball position, and posture. Players absorb these principles through customized drills, practice, and a steady diet of putting-green grass. Novices learn to build an efficient, repeatable swing, and seasoned veterans see what bad habits might be holding them back, such as an overly steep downswing. The teaching team also employs a number of different technologies to assist with the instruction process, with the TrackMan launch monitor and K-Vest training system treating students to further analysis of their techniques.
The golfing gurus at Edwin Watts Golf Academy diagnose and correct their students' poor swing and putting habits in an effort to help them improve their shots and lower their scores. In one-on-one swing-analysis sessions, students learn a repeatable swing that eliminates tendencies they may have to slice, hook, push, or pull the ball. A special laser attaches to the end of the player's club and tracks the swing path while JC Video swing-analysis software records the session from two separate angles, lest analysis be thrown off by only looking at the golfer's good side. Putting analysis employs Tomi technology to measure eight separate parameters of the putting stroke, from clubhead orientation at address to swing path and tempo. After swing and putting lessons, students may access the recordings on a password-protected website, so they can forward videos to friends or sports-documentary filmmakers.
Since age 3, Dana Bailey has been twirling to her own beat, progressing from childhood cha-chas to appearances in promotions for Pepsi and JC Penney. After studying under instructors in California and New York City, Dana now offers pintsize patrons the same opportunity to get a head start in the performing arts with child and teen dance classes. She enlists working industry pros to wrangle kids as young as 2.5 in tap, ballet, and tumbling classes atop pliable wood and marley floors.
The boys' tap, jazz, and hip-hop classes accommodate a demographic often overlooked by the dance industry and prepare a studio team for local and national performances. Instructors regularly glean pointers from top national choreographers to craft classes such as Teen Hip Hop, which equips students with basic moves and combos that, much like the prom held outside the Grammys, are set to a soundtrack of current hits.
Within Leapin' Lizards' 20,000-square-foot funscape, kids release pent-up energy as they trample across three rooms of inflatable slides, houses, and a bungee trampoline. Rambunctious, sock-clad tykes crawl through tunnels in a four-story playscape, zip down a 20-foot Kraken (from Pirates of the Caribbean) slide, or conquer an obstacle course. In a girls-only room, the staff treat guests like princesses, beautifying hair, nails, and faces amidst dancing, singing, and modeling for photo ops. Elsewhere, younger kids play in a toddler room, and birthday kids call celebrations together in themed party rooms, bedecked with an enchanted landscape or castle imagery to make the guest of honor feel like a monarch, demanding that each partygoer surrender a portion of their crop yield to the royal family.
At Sunstone Yoga, students radiate calm and self-awareness as they practice ancient poses designed to stretch, strengthen, and purify the body. Instructors complete 500 hours of training in yogic techniques, teaching, and physiology before leading classes, so they can hand out researched, tested tips on safety and alignment. Most classes come in 30-, 60-, and 90-minute varieties and focus on energy or restorative relaxation. A two-class introductory series welcomes beginners with basic standing poses, and the popular fire series explores up to 34 poses in a 99-degree room that loosens muscles to facilitate deeper stretches as it ousts toxins. Filled with soothing music and 90-degree temperatures, the water series cultivates more serenity than getting a massage from a singing whale.