The transition from gym sneakers to bare feet was an easy one for Grace Tucker. The ACE-certified aerobics instructor had no trouble kicking off her kicks when she found yoga and immediately fell in love. From there, Grace delved into other barefoot fitness activities, namely American Tribal–style belly dance, a modernized style of belly dance that emphasizes community. Today, Grace teaches the technique at Eastern Fire Belly Dance during group classes for all levels.
At YK Martial Arts, students train and learn in a rigorous yet supportive environment where instructors marry technique with the principles of respect, discipline, and compassion. A 6th dan black belt in tae kwon do and a 5th dan black belt in hapkido, Grandmaster Yong-ki Yoon leads a seasoned group of instructors. Classes can help develop the motor skills of children aged 3 and older and work with adults to challenge and improve flexibility, fitness, and energy levels.
Since Barbara McNulty founded her school in 1971, it has expanded to 18 state-spanning locations where beginning and advanced students learn the ins and outs of Irish dancing. McNulty herself is certified to teach Irish step solo, figure, and ceili dancing, and instructors lead a host of solo and team lessons to accommodate different ages or experience levels.
Founders Jenny McCuiston, a high-school state swimming champ and Olympic-trial qualifier, and Chris McCuiston, a past MSU baseball captain and draft pick for the Detroit Tigers, know firsthand the positive effect learning a sport can have on a child's confidence and courage. When they realized what a high demand there was for quality swim lessons in the region they dedicated themselves to researching the industry and developing their trademark curriculum, and in 2006 the first Goldfish Swim School threw open its doors. Today, Red Cross–trained swim instructors at seven locations help little ones as young as 4 months get acquainted with the art of swimming with private swim lessons and classes of no more than four students.
Youngsters splash and kick through two indoor pools kept toasty warm at 90 degrees while parents make encouraging fishy faces and pet fish make reproachful parenty faces from the glass-enclosed viewing area. Goldfish Swim School also hosts birthday celebrations and special events complete with colorful balloons and batches of cupcakes. Beach-themed decor splashes across each swim facility, creating a fun, laid-back environment that abounds with vibrant colors and animal accents. The Treasure Island pro shop boasts a range of aquatic accessories, and the snack shack doles out healthy treats and fresh-baked cookies.
The air inside the facility fills with the rhythmic taps of green tennis balls volleying across courts, a staccato symphony punctuated by the grunts and whoops of players perfecting their game. A typical morning at The Naperville Tennis Club reflects its dedication to fostering an atmosphere of recreation while helping members achieve their personal bests. Alongside open play, a team of seasoned pros helms a host of tennis programs for adults and juniors that range from basic techniques to competitive training programs.
Away from the courts, the club’s outdoor L-shaped swimming pool beckons aquanauts to leap from the diving board into six lanes of sparkling waters. Swim lessons help unleash kids’ inner merpeople, and adult programs are a chance to interact with other grownups while doing laps and exchanging business cards midbackstroke.