A sprawling mandala design covers the floor of Plaza de Anaya's main dance studio, welcoming dancers in with warmth and beauty. Amid that artistic setting, seasoned instructors teach dance styles from around the world that include belly dancing, barefoot flamenco, and anaya tribal dancing. Cultural gatherings are an important part of the school's community, which is why the studio also schedules an array of monthly events and workshops that might be dance-based or include henna tattoos that dance when you pinch them.
Jim Keegan, the founder of Yoga Nirvana, draws on his studies in kinesiology and biomechanics to help visitors obtain inner peace and healthy bodies. Before opening his own studio, he served a nine-year stint as the head yoga teacher at Arizona State University and continues his teaching career through international workshops. Jim and his fellow instructors guide students through classes such as Ashtanga for beginners, Kundalini yoga, power yoga, and mediation. Sore students can ease their tired muscles by scheduling an appointment with the studio's licensed massage therapist. In addition to group classes, Jim offers private lessons and whisks pupils away on all-inclusive yoga retreats.
As part of the Southwest Institute of Healing Arts, a private college that educates holistic healthcare providers, Spirit of Yoga focuses on self-restoration and self-empowerment. The classes here range from traditional Vinyasa yoga, which combines poses into a continuous flow, to more creative sessions on a “yoga wall”. But all emphasize more spiritual practices, focusing on movements and breath work that provide therapeutic benefits. Meditation is offered as part of many of the sessions. That’s not to say Spirit of Yoga doesn’t have fitness-oriented classes as well; if you want to get your heart rate up, take Hatha Tone, which uses body weight training techniques for a muscle toning workout.
The schedule here is accommodating, covering a variety of disciplines and skill levels. All classes are drop-in, though some request reservations. Check out the Soy Shop while you’re in the studio if you want to pick up some yoga-related gear, books, or jewelry.
Owner Mark Hill and his staff customize each personal-training session to help clients meet their fitness goals. Hill and company have also crafted precision programs for those who are athletes, expecting a baby, or with cardiac-health issues.
Students build skills necessary for careers in the restaurant and hospitality industries with Bartending and Casino College's hands-on training programs. Each 40-hour bartending course is divided into 14 distinct sections, which train attendees in how to set up a bar, knowledgably describe different spirits, and make as many as 200 popular cocktails in a single cement mixer. Shifting its focus from behind a bar to behind felt-lined tables, the casino school shows students how to handle cards and read hands for poker and blackjack. The school also teaches how to dexterously spin and flip bottles in bar-flair training sessions and offers job-placement assistance to all of its graduates.
With more than 30 years of teaching experience, 25 of which were spent in the Phoenix area, Bob Hermes shares his musical expertise with students of all ages and skill levels. The virtuoso bolsters the abilities of guitarists and bassists with his instructional skills, and also teaches beginners’ workshops in piano, banjo, and mandolin. Other lesson topics include songwriting, home recording, and fretboard theory. Some of Bob’s students have gone on to enjoy full-time careers in music, most notably hit pop star Avery, who filmed some of her multimillion-hit YouTube videos right in Bob’s own studio.