When rhythmic gymnast Olga Kinnard injured herself while training in Saint Petersburg, Russia, it was a blessing in disguise. For without it, there would be no Dance Republic. After retiring from gymnastics, Kinnard planned to attend medical school, even graduating magna cum laude from Tufts University with a degree in biology and taking the MCAT. But she found dance to be so profoundly therapeutic, both emotionally and physically, that she decided to move to New York City for advanced training in Latin American dance and to fulfill her dream of tap dancing on the Chrysler Building’s needle. She went on to secure a laundry list of international titles and created Dance Republic to share her passion and expertise with others.
Kinnard originally founded the studio as a competition-only dance-sport facility dedicated to training future champions. She even appeared with some of her students on the TLC reality show Dancing Tweens. But over time, Kinnard and her team also began teaching more casual social-dance and dance-fitness classes, introducing clientele of all skill levels to the healing properties of fancy footwork.
Dance Republic recently relocated to a renovated, skylight-illuminated space with 18-foot-high ceilings and 3,000 square feet of dance floor. The new purple-and-yellow studio houses an inviting lounge area with an oversize suede ottoman and hosts events such as social dance parties and competitions.
Golfers across the handicap spectrum practice bogey-thwarting skills at Natick Golf Learning Center, where PGA- and LPGA-certified pros preside over a multifaceted outdoor practice facility. The center’s outdoor driving range offers 75 artificial and natural-grass hitting mats; two chipping greens, a putting green, and a practice bunker let players practice their finesse shots. During daily lessons, the pros enlist video analysis and other teaching aids to help pupils tackle new skills or correct recent on-course weaknesses.
The high-pitched thwacks of flush drives pierce the air from the elevated hitting bays that encompass Leo J. Martin Golf Course's driving range, inspiring clubbers of all abilities to perfect their pendulous swings. With more than 30 hitting stalls replete with new artificial mats, the expansive range facilitates practice shots with all clubs or overenthusiastic legs as guests soak in sweeping views of the tree-lined New England countryside. The range faces due east, so golfers won't have to reckon with the setting sun as they follow soaring shots through the stratosphere. A selection of new and used clubs anchors the facility's fully stocked pro shop, providing pristine wares to accompany swings fine-tuned at the range or during lessons. The practice area shares grounds with the Leo J. Martin Memorial Golf Course, a 6,320-yard course that opens its grassy passageways to all aspiring pin hunters.
Arthur Murray has been a leading name in franchise dance since 1912, when the entrepreneur began selling mail-order dance lessons. Expanding his reach, he enlisted teachers to spread his signature dance lessons on first-class steamships and skyrocketed to fame in the '30s after introducing the public to such dances as the Lambeth Walk and The Big Apple. By the 1950s, Arthur and his wife, Kathryn, were hosting their own highly popular TV show on ABC, The Arthur Murray Dance Party, which ran for 12 years. Today, Arthur Murray's team prepares students for rug cutting at special events and weekend nightclub jaunts. Throughout lessons, instructors teach the foundations of two to four dances from a long list of styles that range from Latin to country-western, helping students to learn basic step patterns, timing, and the ability to lead or follow.
No one is born with the ability to do a roundhouse kick, but—under the guidance of the sage instructors at Giroux Bros. Martial Arts—most can learn. Classes for both kids and adults are centered around Chun Kuk Do, a well-rounded style of karate founded by Chuck Norris and made famous by his performances in blockbuster films and bestselling flipbooks. Students learn to kick, chop, and block from instructors who hold black belts, including founder Steve Giroux, a 6th-degree black belt and regular contributor to the martial arts community at large.
The YMCA keeps residents healthy and engaged in more than 10,000 neighborhoods across the country, but it traces its American origins to the streets of 19th-century Boston. Here, Thomas Valentine Sullivan carried on the mission started in London by George Williams: providing affordable recreation and residence to young men from cities and country towns alike. Over the last century and change, the organization's mission changed to keep pace with the evolving times; today, the YMCA of Greater Boston welcomes anyone interested in furthering the causes of "youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility."
This modern mission combines the Y's signature programming with new initiatives designed to keep citizens one step ahead of an ever-changing world. Members stay fit and active with everything from organized sports and fitness classes to lifeguard, CPR, and first aid lessons. But the Y's developmental programs go far beyond bodily strength; their enrichment and leadership courses equip youths with the confidence needed to take charge in their everyday lives, and ESL classes help newcomers to English embark on the next step of their linguistic lives.