More than just a creative outlet, art teaches students how to solve problems, set goals, communicate, and challenge themselves. The art instructors at Priscilla & Tiffany’s Art Corp. incorporate these lessons into each activity, whether students are using charcoal to sketch a winter scene or constructing a collage representing the report card they'd like to receive. As kids and adults work at easels or across large tables, the spacious studios are filled with carefully designed lighting and soft classical music.
The three owners of Shake Shake It Fitness & Dance Studio draw from a lifelong love of musical movement to teach all the one-hour workout dance classes on their calendar. Instructors motivate the movement in lessons such as modern hip-hop, which is based on video and commercial moves, and Zumba, where students burn calories by moving to Latin and international rhythms and then setting twinkies on fire. In Sexy Dance and Cardio Dance, instructor Ivana looks to raise the heart rate with a variety of choreography, and traditional belly-dance teacher Miss Jihan Jamal instructs pupils of all levels in the controlled poses of Middle Eastern¬–style shimmying.
The staff members at Sylvan Learning's numerous centers understand that each child learns differently. Therefore, they don’t try to implement a uniform tutoring system; instead, they design custom lesson programs based on the results of a skills assessment using diagnostic tools and one-on-one interviews.
Tutors work with students from pre-kindergarten through grade 12, illuminating topics ranging from basic reading and writing to remembering complex algebraic formulas without having them tattooed on your chest. Many of Sylvan’s instructors work in local schools, so they are intimately familiar with common curricula and understand how to gear lessons toward optimal results. Camps and after-school and summer classes can ready high-schoolers for the rigors of the ACT or the SAT, or they can help students to wow college-admissions officers with their superior essay-writing skills.
Developed by a former gymnast, CrossFit focuses on exercises that benefit anyone, ranging from gymnastic movements to full-body exercises such as kettlebell swings and Olympic lifts. At affiliate gym CrossFit Kingdom, Head Coach Vidal Lazo can testify to the results. As a firefighter, paramedic, and SWAT medic, Vidal had to be ready to reach those in need no matter what. That meant being in good enough shape to pull himself through a window, carry a person down flights of stairs, or open a fire hydrant with the love in his heart. Impressed by CrossFit’s results, he became a certified coach to share the experience with others.
At CrossFit Kingdom, he and his team prepare clients for anything by keeping workouts diverse and surprising. Through these dynamic sessions, they help participants develop all dimensions of fitness while minimizing training plateaus. Vidal and his fellow coaches can also scale every exercise to accommodate all fitness levels. All ages are welcome, too, as the coaches train youngsters in their kids and teens program. To supplement workouts, they offer services such as sports massage and nutritional counseling. Discounted rates are available for college students, law enforcement, military, and firefighters.
When former project managers from Bally's, World Gym, Crunch, Guess, and Clinique realized the need for a women's-only gym in the world of fitness, they joined forces to create the Elements Diet and Fitness program. This fitness regimen depends upon three primary ingredients to help ladies of all stripes get into shape: smart-card workouts, personal-lifestyle coaches, and group-fitness classes. European-built smart-card equipment uses a personal-identification card to remember each member's name and personal settings, slowly advancing the difficulty of a workout and tracking individual progress. Personal-lifestyle coaches establish a report with their clients, through which they send constant motivation, support, and fitness instruction. Finally, group classes encourage self-discovery through fun fitness experiences such as performing candlelight yoga, training in tai chi, and belly dancing while taking a Myers-Briggs assessment
The trainers at Sledge CrossFit do a lot for their clients: they give them the knowledge, hands-on instruction, and encouragement to dive into CrossFit’s full-tilt, functional workouts. But although trainers are always there with a guiding hand, final responsibility ultimately rests with the client. Coach Alexis Barraza, certified by USA Weightlifting, cultivates a culture of personal responsibility and camaraderie as members bang out brutal daily workouts in a spartan space lined with truck tires, medicine balls, and monkey bars. Barazza also oversees the gym’s powerlifting program, which can prep students for local and state competitions all the way up to the global level, where they try to unseat reigning champion Atlas.
After losing 135 pounds, Spinderella Fitness owner Elizabeth Rodriguez was determined to inspire other women to seize control of their health and strive for the energy and confidence of the physically fit. She became a certified nutritionist and personal trainer before undertaking the study of a less conventional subject: pole dancing. Rodriguez struggled at first. She recalls that she "use[d] to go home in tears" of frustration. But 17 months later, she opened her own pole-dance fitness studio, and then a second one to meet the demand for her teachings.
Rodriguez's studios host more than two-dozen classes thanks to her collaboration with Melissa Fernandez—a trained dancer with a background in jazz, ballet, and hip hop—who helped broaden the curriculum. This collaboration has resulted in both high-energy, cardio-driven workouts as well as those inspired by salsa, Flashdance, and the sensual rippling of national flags.
Students who are serious about mastering advanced pole maneuvers progress through several levels. After mastering a pole routine at one level, they receive a colored thong to mark their graduation to the next. Pole climbing students repeat the process until they are certified black-thong dancers capable of disarming a kung fu master with the twist of a hip.