Youthful shrieks and the slap of feet on mats fill the air at Southwest Gymnastics Training Center, drifting past a climbing rope and floor-level trampoline. Coaches preside over the 10,500-square-foot facility, improving more than somersaults—they also help give kids the self-esteem and discipline to excel in school or run a successful ant farm. The safety-certified coaches encourage positive traits in their young charges during recreational and competitive classes for ages 18 months to 18 years. Designed to adhere to USA Gymnastics guidelines, the curriculum helps kids build skills in a logical order, ensuring that no one has to do a cartwheel before learning what a wheel is.
The coaches also teach trampoline and tumbling skills, occasionally retiring to the sidelines to supervise open gym sessions. During these unstructured play sessions, kids can safely experiment with any equipment or practice pushing a wheelbarrow full of gold medals. Recreational classes for girls aged 6–18, boys aged 6–18, little ones aged 18 months–5 years, and athletic action figures, as well as competitive classes for advanced-level acrobats. Tumbling and trampoline lessons build knowledge of the sport, with a bouncier surface than a circus seal's mattress.
The Phoenix New Times pick for Best Rock Club in 2010 and 2011, this live-music venue draws crowds that huddle around indoor and outdoor stages to groove and wail every night of the week. Concerts and festivals stage local bands, indie rockers, and national acts playing genres ranging from bluegrass and reggae to jam music and rock 'n' roll. Amid the big-name acts, the house upholds beloved traditions; Grateful Dead fanatics and people with tie-dyed flesh emerge to party on Sunday nights, and each Thursday, burgeoning starlets perform karaoke with the support of a full live band. Beside the outdoor stage, a spacious patio facilitates mingling under the sky's star-freckled firmament. At the indoor bar, barkeeps fill glasses with mixed drinks and brews while colorful lights flash against walls. Black leather couches and huge art canvases line the lounge area, and a dance floor carved before the stage affords up-close views of the passport stamps canvassing rock star's wrists. AZCentral noted: "Not far from Mill Avenue, the Sail Inn offers a whole different scene, with a cool vibe and laid-back people."
Each of Le Tutor Language School's experienced instructors is a native speaker of the language they teach, and they believe that anyone can learn a foreign language. The staff crushes communication barriers and expands cultural horizons with dynamic, interactive language programs that teach students of all ages to master conversational skills. Through step-by-step instruction, these teachers dive into cultural fluency as they impart both speaking and listening skills with simplified learning strategies. Their pedagogical prowess is available for small group classes, private lessons, and kids' classes. Le Tutor’s team teaches more than 15 languages—including Russian, Farsi, Chinese, and American Sign Language—in beginner to advanced levels. The sessions can help students communicate in real-life situations, increase business opportunities, and find more enjoyment in travels to exotic locales, such as the basement, where one might find a surly teen refusing to speak English to his family.
Le Tutor Language School is the official language partner of the Phoenix Sister Cities, which include Catania, Italy, Ennis, Ireland, and Taipei, Taiwan.
Wherever Sonia Kang has gone, she has always found a place to exercise. While earning her business degree from Arizona State University, she always managed to squeeze a few dance classes into her schedule—a mental and physical flexibility she continued to hone while working at a PR firm in Boston and enrolling in classes at the B.K.S. Iyengar Center. Ultimately, Kang supplemented her bachelor of science with an avalanche of certifications, including those from the Pilates Method Alliance and the Yoga Institute. After digging her way out from the mountain of paper, Kang founded Weon Keyong Health Center, where she and a team of instructors help others keep their own planners filled with Pilates classes that challenge physiques with a full-body workout. For more personalized attention, the teachers offer semiprivate classes—capped at four students each, as most end up stretching their torsos to become 10 feet tall—and host an array of workshops that focus on topics such as nutrition and working out with specially designed towels.
Dance can be healing. Studio founder Christie knows this better than anyone, having turned to sensual dance as an outlet after being diagnosed with a brain tumor. Her newfound practice not only set her on a healthier path, it also made her feel more confident and feminine as well. She was hooked, and opened Express MiE to share that same feeling with other women.
Today, Christie and her staff start each of Express MiE’s sultry fitness classes with a guided meditation. That’s because the studio prioritizes finding and trusting inner beauty over learning snazzy pole tricks. And while the moves are certainly sensual, they’re inspired less by the promiscuity of romance novels or flirtatious barbershop poles than by techniques from ballet, ballroom, and belly dancing. This winning combination led the Phoenix New Times to name the studio Best Place to Learn to Pole Dance in 2010, noting that the instructors “are serious about developing core strength and six-pack abs by wrapping and gyrating around poles and cheering each other on.”
While working as a personal trainer, Skye Roberts stepped back and surveyed the fitness scene. She saw a needle of female personal trainers in a haystack of male personal trainers. She heard her female clientele complaining about the bodybuilding culture at male-oriented gyms. Having seen and heard enough, she felt compelled to create a female-oriented fitness regimen and open a women-only health club. Today, at Luna Fitness of Tempe, she and her all-female staff preach the Luna Fitness Program, which strives to help women understand their monthly cycles and alleviate their symptoms through diet, exercise, and awareness of the lunar phases. Underneath this comprehensive umbrella, staff members stage their mix of physically, mentally, and emotionally centered services. They schedule Zumba, yoga, and signature fitness classes when calories are napping to catch flab off-guard, and they offer an array of services, such as acupuncture, life coaching, hypnotherapy, spray tanning, and massage therapy, to round out well-being.