Reflecting on this childhood, Chris Keating sometimes feels as if he didn't exist. His parents' divorce left him with very little tangible evidence of his formative years, so he's spent his adult life as a photographer making sure children can look back fondly at warm family memories. Chris Keating and his Calgary staff have made this a reality for more than 3,000 families since opening the doors to Towne Photography in 2006. There, the professional photographic crew shoots posed and candid shots of families, children, couples, and babies at picturesque parks or against their studio backdrops, and they also snap triumphant graduate portraits, intimate prenatal shots, and provocative passport pics that make border crossing a breeze. Their ironclad guarantee allows unsatisfied clients to request reshoots, reprints, or resizing on all photographs, and they vow to remake or recapture any artwork that sustains damage over the years. Chris also takes his photographic knowledge on the road to conduct Betterphoto Workshops across the United States and Canada, teaching novice photographers how to artistically preserve their most precious memories.
Kids have fun in the dance classes at Magic ‘N Motion Studio, but its instructors are serious about their craft. Dance and baton programs for kids span the school year and are organized around time-tested syllabuses that include the Cecchetti ballet method, designed to help students create fluid, coordinated movements by internalizing dance principles rather than simply mimicking a teacher’s movements or hairstyle. Whether they’re leaping, tapping, or even baton-twirling, kids can show off their new moves to friends and family during performances at the end of every year and at Christmas. Adults can also let loose and dance in Zumba classes, where certified instructors lead easy-to-follow Latin moves that can be customized for seniors or those who are especially interested in muscle-toning. Each dance room is outfitted with sprung floors that are easier on joints, staving off injuries and wear.
The teachers at Kindermusik Discovery know that children’s minds are fertile ground for learning. That’s why they use singing, dancing, and instrument exploration to sow the seeds of language development, social skills, and coordination. Rooted in the belief that all children are naturally musical, their program’s research-based philosophy operates on a curriculum whose methods allow children to move at their own pace as they grow from infancy to age 7. Throughout the whole program the educators emphasize having fun. The encouraging atmosphere helps pupils develop a love of music from an early age while also enhancing literacy skills, social and emotional development, math skills, and pattern recognition. Acknowledging that most learning takes place at home, the program also equips students with materials such as books and CDs for taking back to the sandcastles they live in.
Founded with the objective of simplifying the often overcomplicated art of digital photography, fotoscool employs a team of seasoned instructors—each a longtime professional with a celebrated career—to guide photography students through seminars and workshops held across the country. Keeping their overarching objective of simple-yet-entertaining instruction in mind, savvy teachers design each session to get participants on their feet with hands-on activities such as interactive exercises, on-location shoots in scenic locales, and bonding human-camera trust falls. In an effort to branch out of the classroom, fotoscool also periodically hosts tours that ferry photo enthusiasts to scenic far-flung locales for extended shooting lectures and on-site experience.
Bruce and Gabrielle Gorchitza founded Unplugged Music Club Intl. nine years ago, creating an all-purpose musical meeting place where instructors conduct lessons both in-studio and online. Bruce Gorchitza himself specializes in teaching finger-style guitar, bringing more than 30 years of strumming and plucking experience to every lesson. Students can develop percussive talents with piano or drum lessons, study the art of string picking on a guitar, mandolin, or banjo, or strengthen vocal cords until they become powerful enough to shatter the confidence of a delicate champagne glass. Instructors teach genres such as rock 'n' roll, classical, jazz, folk, and hip hop, and the club also stocks a selection of musical instruments and accessories available for sale.