On a recent birthday, Shawn Shaw reflected on her life. There had been lessons learned about love, happiness, and the inherent beauty of life that is present even amid disappointment. For Shawn, a dedicated practice of yoga and meditation was the wellspring for many of the lessons learned. The teenage Shawn kept fit as a distance runner, first picking up yoga as a supplementary form of exercise and stretching. It wasn't until a few years later, amid a storm of personal struggles and a battle with cancer, that she discovered the healing properties of daily practice. Today she credits yoga with transforming her physical and emotional health and cultivating a peaceful attitude. Moreover, her newfound clarity and mental presence become something Shawn had to share. She opened her own studio, Metrowest Yoga, in 2005. Now with two locations in Westborough and Worcester, the curriculum includes Shawn's own invention, Myoga Hot Hatha, which is grounded in stillness and allows students to hold poses longer than usual as they make peace between breath and body.
Metrowest Yoga's studio focuses on building a strong healthy body and cultivating a calm, peaceful mind. The styles offered are mostly vigorous in a heated room but some gentle restorative classes are offered too. Regularly scheduled classes include Vinyasa or Flow, Hatha and Ashtanga styles. Beginner?s classes or a 6 week Brand New Beginner?s course are also offered.
Ballroom instructor Jared Vigneault—recipient of the Top Teacher award at the 2012 Massachusetts DanceSport Challenge—draws from multiple dance degrees and eight years of ballroom experience as he works to infect his pupils with dance fever at Poise, Style & Motion. Along with a diverse cast of experienced instructors, he works to help students of all ages and abilities gracefully twirl across the dance floor through private and group lessons, social parties, and performances. They prepare their students to confidently cut a rug at dance clubs, weddings, competitions, and important business meetings with instruction in several styles. Their instruction range from the fast-paced footwork of swing and the merengue to the more stoic arts of the tango and waltz. To whip bodies into dance-athon shape, Poise, Style & Motion's instructors blend their fancy-footwork training with aerobics during their Latin-dance-inspired fitness classes. They also help dancers improve their endurance and pump up core muscles with modified merengue, samba, swing, and paso-doble dance steps.
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. Clients who arrive to lessons partnerless will be paired up with other classmates as the instructors assess their current skill level and make recommendations on the most appropriate program. 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.
Perhaps as a tribute to the timeless nature of the sword, the Worcester Fencing Club began as a small class held at the Higgins Armory Museum, a collection of arms and armor from medieval Europe and beyond. There, Doug Jacobs—a United States Fencing Association–certified instructor—began imparting his knowledge to a handful of students, giving them a small taste of the age-old sport that, over the years, had become unfairly associated with bullies popping balloons in the streets. Still, many of his students wished to extend their training, and—upon a suggestion of the mother of some of his students—Doug expanded his academy in 1998, forming the Worcester Fencing Club. Today, the school continues to draw fresh blood, introducing students of all ages and experience levels to modern- and Olympic-style fencing in classes still often taught by Doug himself.
A warm orange and red light illuminates Ritual, tinting its brick-accented walls and exotic statues an inviting ruby. Flickering candles and the glow of flat-screen televisions add to the romantic, yet contemporary atmosphere, where the trendy decor is rivaled only by an eye-catching menu of American-fusion cuisine. Globetrotting meals commence with small plates of chocolate-dipped applewood bacon or waygu beef, which diners sear over a hot rock or the grill they keep in their wallets. Chicken marsala and bacon-wrapped filet mignon represent a portion of the more traditional entrees, but dishes stretch as far as the bounds of the chef's imagination, including an award-winning seared duck breast double-coated with crushed cocoa beans and a hazelnut-chocolate demi-glace.