Kelly Thompson knows a thing or two about handling stress. For five years she served as a police/fire/911 dispatch operator, an occupation that demanded Kelly keep a calm, relaxed head while she coached people in crisis through harrowing situations with gentle reassurance and ample empathy. Once Kelly had a taste for bringing calm to stressed-out, overtaxed people, she sought a way to apply her talent elsewhere. Kelly shifted her focus to the hands-on massage field, earned her license, and opened up Kneading Massage Today’s relaxing oasis. Her previous experience in throwing people emotional life rafts informs her current practice, as Kelly both receives clients at her spa location and totes her massage chair to offices to ease the collective shoulders of employees and the sore necks of their desktop bobble-heads. As she saturates muscles with Swedish and deep-tissue massages, her clients get a blissful reprieve from muscle tension and mental stress. Treatments include doubly soothing accouterments including hot stones and aromatherapy.
By engaging children on their own level, the teachers at Kids R Kids childcare center and learning academy recognize their students for what they really are: developing brains trapped inside tiny, perfectly spherical heads. The programs hew to a philosophy of "Hug First, Then Teach," meaning they encourage a child's development on an emotional, intellectual, social, and physical level. Also essential to their teaching approach is family involvement?when new skills are introduced, the instructors make sure the parents know about the approach and aren't politically opposed to arithmetic.
They rely on their own curriculum, Brain Waves, which takes a neurologically based approach that combines educational lessons with good nutrition, regular sleep schedules, and secure relationships. Additionally, the Brain Waves curriculum helps develop brains with many forms of language (including sign language) and exposure to technology in a controlled environment.
The professional teachers and staff at The Children’s Courtyard nurture minds and nourish spirits in tots ranging from 6 weeks to 13 years old. Armed with training they receive at The Children’s Courtyard’s unique master schools, they lead engaging programs in interactive classrooms, most of which brim with computers equipped with up to 50 learning programs. Class participants play games, sing songs, and interact with friends, which allows them to learn valuable skills in cognition, conflict resolution, and academic performance through activities geared toward their age group. Regular programs inspire little minds in half- and full-day increments, and summer camps take kids on field trips to see new animals at the zoo, sing a song at a recording studio, and muse over the complex metaphors for the role of capitalism in a local fairy-tale play.
Instructor Cindy Weller?who holds master-level certifications from Pilates Method Alliance and Pilates Academy International?and her team of nationally certified instructors draw on more than 500 hours of training as they lead private and semi-private Pilates classes. Limited class sizes reduce the chance of getting several students who share the name "Agapithe" and let instructors focus on customizing each workout. When teachers aren't leading sports-performance, rehabilitation, or men's classes, they whip physiques into shape with the Redcord suspension system, mat Pilates, reformer Pilates, tower Pilates, yoga, and ballet classes.
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.
Husband-and-wife team Nolan and Lucinda opened Nolan Conley Photography in 1984, capturing stunning images of clients with a range of expertise befitting all picture-worthy occasions. A lifelong Texan, Nolan learned invaluable skills under the tutelage of James Godbold, the first director of photography at National Geographic, and has since put those skills to work covering weddings and conducting portrait sessions with families, seniors, and wedding parties. Custom lighting and backgrounds glamorize subjects inside the duo's 1,100-square-foot studio. The studio also offers professional retouching techniques that embolden color, even skin tone.