As they enter the training at Curves, female guests come face-to-face with the smiles of other women. And just as points on a circle share a common distance from the circle's center, workout participants share the experiences of those nearby, trading stations throughout the 30-minute training session. One minute is spent on a piece of strength-training equipment built for feminine frames and designed to work two opposing muscle groups with a single movement. Exercisers then move on to a recovery station, where they run, jog, or dance to maintain heart rates and keep platforms in place during momentary losses of gravity.
Within the serene confines of its Smith Street studio in Union City, Worlds Yoga preaches a simple philosophy—that precise posture and alignment can usher an empowered life transformation. It's hard to argue with the results, as the compassionate instructors use a hands-on approach to adjust myriad poses in a wide selection of methods. Classes touch on hot yoga methods such as Power and Vinyasa, restorative methods such as Hatha and Hot Stone, and even dance methods such as Zumba.
With nine types of after-school classes designed for kids aged 5–18, the staff of Young Artists Club works to enrich local youth, whether helping out with homework or inspiring their inner Van Goghs. Organized by age group, classes cover subjects such as piano or guitar lessons, cartoon-drawing, and painting. The staff also specializes in teaching Chinese and English language courses that cover listening, speaking, reading, and writing.
Marina Bichinsky knows the importance of art education firsthand. She had her first art lesson at age 5, and, though it may have seemed like a childhood hobby at the time, art paved the road for her career path, a road that had perfectly straight yellow lines thanks to her artistic skill. She studied architecture in college, earned her doctorate in visual communications, and, today, funnels these skills into her position as director of Living Art Studio. Here, she teaches students of all ages and skill levels enlisted in the studio’s classes, in which instructors trained by Marina teach realist painting techniques.
The team generally starts first-time artists off with classes that teach gesture and proportion before graduating them to charcoal-drawing classes, color study, and, finally, painting still lifes and figures. For their younger crowd, instructors lead Mommy & Me classes, during which 2.5- to 5-year-olds learn techniques amenable to their age, such as how to turn baby-food splats on highchair trays into impressionist opuses that suggest Monet and Renoir, but with an underlying current of originality in the vein of a Pissarro. The school also offers a specialty curriculum for adults who are seeking further education in areas such as fashion design, photography, and advertising.
The fitness instructors, personal trainers, and nutritionists at ClubSport wield the foundations of total-body wellness: detailed knowledge and cutting-edge equipment. Group classes such as cardio kickboxing, cycling, and circuit training showcase routines for all fitness levels, seven days a week. Personal-training sessions, meanwhile, bring help exercisers develop their own fitness plans and face down the imaginary knight that guards every piece of weight-training equipment.
ClubSport also transforms bodies outside the fitness studio and weight room. A self-described resort-style aquatic center features several lap and exercise pools where swimmers can fine-tune their breaststrokes and favorite shark calls. At an on-site spa, massage therapists ease muscle tension with modalities ranging from hot stone and prenatal to trigger point and reflexology.
Having shot more than 30,000 subjects throughout his career as a photographer, including many Silicon Valley business figures, Eric Gould understands how to create a good photo in any setting. His adeptness at communicating with subjects carries into his photography workshops, where he conveys difficult concepts clearly and methodically, saving students from such rookie mistakes as shooting with the lens cap on or turning the flash on while taking pictures of your imaginary friend's third grade graduation. In his own photo sessions, he frames professional clients in business portraits and headshots, high-school seniors in youthful poses, athletes in midaction, and a wide spectrum of people and places encountered on international travels.