A performance-dance school established in 2006, Velocity Dance Works educates students ranging from toddler through adult on the style of more than 20 different dances. The school's seasoned instructors maintain an energized, encouragement-packed environment that caters to both serious students looking to develop their technique as well as casual students in search of a new hobby that exercises both the body and the mind.
Armed with chrome dance poles, LadyCat instructors transform ordinary homes into bachelorette and birthday parties. As a DJ spins, so do the partiers, who are taught by pole professors to execute their own saucy routines. Party-package extras include special dance props, chilled bottles of champagne, and gifts for guests.
Since its 1965 founding in Venice Beach, California, Gold's Gym has dotted the globe with more than 600 locations where professional athletes and exercise newbies gather under the umbrella of personal strength. Nearly 3.5 million Gold's members chart and aim for their fitness peaks, perspiring beneath the gaze of certified personal trainers or pedaling beside peers at cycling sessions. In a diverse lineup of group classes, patrons strengthen cores, finger-paint pictures of ninjas in martial arts, and amp up heart rates along to the pulsating soundtracks of Les Mills routines. Many Gold's Gym locations stockpile futuristic amenities, such as cardio machines with individual iPod docks and televisions that help keep patrons motivated.
Visitors never have to wait in line to workout at Cardio Express—each of the six clubs boasts a ton of Cybex strength-training machinery, an arsenal of free weights, and more than 80 pieces of cardio equipment affixed with personal 15-inch television screens. Compassionate instructors imbue gym visits with a human element as well, leading classes such as Core Fusion, Total Tone circuit training, and spinning sessions at the Southington, Vernon, and Manchester locations. Each year, the staff members carry the same motivational energy they use in their studios to recruit members and friends for the Multiple Sclerosis Bike Tour. Cardio Express has raised a grand total of nearly $400,000, and it also acts as title sponsor for the 2012 benefit.
It's not all kicking and punching. Although there is a lot of that, the instructors at The Charland Institute of Karate & Fitness use the classes and facility as a conduit for helping students deal with everyday challenges, de-stress, and build confidence. During strengthening and cardio-intensive classes, students kick their way through a curriculum that forges traditional and modern martial arts, aiming to teach self-defense, discipline, and how to effectively punt an assailant.
A Class A member of the PGA of America and the winner of more than 100 tournaments as a professional player, Paul N. Brown summons 35 years of experience to help students hone their golf skills at Pro Golf Academy. His teaching method focuses on developing hand-eye coordination, establishing fundamental swing mechanics, and living on a steady diet of arnold palmer drinks and fairway grass.
Half-hour private lessons begin with Paul evaluating his student's swing and physical condition, and then devising a custom lesson plan that may incorporate video instruction, training aids, and equipment recommendations. For group lessons, students are divided into beginner, intermediate, or advanced classes. Early instruction focuses on the basics of setup and etiquette, and later sessions take on the more advanced tactics, such as short-game approaches and how to make a four look like a two on the scorecard.