In 1976, Joan Barnes—a California mom frustrated with the lack of spaces where she could take her kids for safe and age-appropriate play time—took matters into her own hands and founded Gymboree Play and Music. In the decades since Gymboree’s founding, Joan’s vision of a safe place where youngsters could build confidence and creativity has come to fruition and spread to 30 countries around the globe. Staffed by attentive and expertly trained instructors, each Gymboree outpost adheres to a curriculum of activities designed by experts to foster the development of children's cognitive, physical, and social skills through structured play and close readings of Goodnight Moon. The staffers also conduct entertaining classes for parents, newborns, and children under 1 year that cover subjects ranging from music to sports, imparting valuable lessons of imagination and physical activity to developing minds. To further set apart her business, Barnes employed nationally renowned playground designer Jay Beckwith to design the proprietary play equipment at her centers.
Metro Dance Academy helps create a love of dance and cheerleading in students through a robust slate of classes. With a wide variety of classes for students of all skill levels, the instructors at Metro Dance Academy strive to help dancers grow as individuals and as a group by fostering a positive, encouraging atmosphere. The dance program offers a curriculum that spans jazz, tap, ballet, princess ballet, hip-hop, technique, musical theater, and contemporary dance. The dance schedule runs from September through June and culminates with an end of year recital in the spring.
• For $39, you get one month of boys' or girls' beginning or intermediate gymnastics classes, held once per week (up to a $107 value, including $25 registration fee). • For $49, you get one month of boys' or girls' beginning or intermediate gymnastics classes, held twice per week (up to a $148 value, including $25 registration fee).
With 35 years of kid-entertaining experience, The Little Gym provides a safe and noncompetitive environment wherein wee ones and maturing moppets can exercise their brains and bodies. Visiting youngsters glean social, intellectual, and emotional skills from the facility's professionally developed parent-child program, which features diverse activities in gymnastics, dance, sports, and parent-child yodeling for mountain-echoing communication more effective than a squeal. With student to teacher ratios of 7:1, kids can also safely fly solo in programs that cater to differing ages, levels of muscle development, and hatred of vegetables. Each session's hands-on activities keep the indefatigable energy motors of little tikes revving, facilitate bonding, and boost listening skills, attention spans, and confidence. Check the complete class schedule for a list of all courses and to confirm times.
Portland Festival Ballet's artistic director, John Magnus––whose career has touched down in the world of South African dance as well as the prestigious Joffrey Ballet School in New York––headlines a cast of performance-arts instructors and serves as the architect behind the organization's lively, world-class productions. Their seasoned coaches prepare fledgling hoofers and thespians to face the crowd through a schedule of acting and dancing classes for kids, teens, and adults. During breathtaking performances that have included The Nutcracker and the annual Spring Concert, Portland Festival Ballet's charismatic performers storm the stage at the ACMA Performing Arts Center to dazzle audiences with high-flying pirouettes and convincing impersonations of ficus trees.
At Tilton's Gymnastics, founder Lori Tilton and a staff of instructors lead lads and ladies through the intricacies of floor-based gymnastics and tumbling exercises. Teachers make an effort to learn students’ abilities and personality on an individual basis, using their intel to determine the most appropriate class for them. At their location, students caper and gambol in a supportive atmosphere free from competition or posters of Béla Károlyi’s stern, uncompromising mustache.