A quick glance at Vashti Fairbairn’s resume is telling. At local theatre company Fighting Chance Productions, she has directed the critically lauded Little Shop of Horrors and The Mystery of Edwin Drood, both of which magically combine music with dramatic arts. At her own Music Box Music and Theatre Academy, Fairbairn, along with a team of dedicated teachers, does the exact same thing on a daily basis. Children’s group classes give little ones as young as 6 months old a chance to strut their stuff on the dance floor, belt out their favourite show tunes, and learn to tickle the ivories like a seasoned elephant sitter. Private lessons are open to adults as well, and expand the instrumental scope to include strings, music theory, and the speaking arts. The latter comes in handy during the school’s drama clubs, which teach kids 3 years and older how to use their imaginations to create real-life and fantasy scenarios. Outside of their educational programs, the facility entertains visitors to the River Market with free music and theatre performances in the Music Box Presents series.
Building strength and flexibility doesn’t have to be boring. At the Vancouver Circus School, classes allow you to exercise your artistic side as your try your hand at challenging workouts on the tightwire, trapeze, or aerial silks that hang from the ceiling. The All-Around Circus program is the most comprehensive, allowing adults, teens, and even preschoolers to sample the different big-top arts. Students get to hone their trampoline-jumping and hand-balancing skills, which may grant them greater agility during workouts or heists in the Smithsonian’s heavily guarded bounce house. They’ll also be able to acquaint themselves with the use of yo-yos and devil sticks.
Most of the classes are for recreational purposes, but students who want to take their skills to the next level can consider the school’s Ring Master program. During this program, they’ll commit to more training under the school’s top coaches to eventually transform into a professional circus artist.
The Air Force relies on flight simulators to train its recruits, avoiding risking young lives and expensive equipment as their pilots learn the ropes in a nonlethal environment. Why, then, shouldn't bartenders learn their own dangerous, high-stakes craft by simulating the real thing? At Wright Drink Bartending School, students learn to mix concoctions at an artificial bar in the school's loft, preparing them for the fast-paced rigours of slinging drinks by recreating the typical work environment. Beyond simple mixology, classes impart the more nuanced skills necessary to the job, such as managing space, mastering an in-depth liquor vocabulary, and dealing with troublesome customers by alerting the police with a high-pitched scream.
At Polka Dot Fine Art School, kids don't simply mimic their instructor to create a prescribed work of art. Instead, the instructors encourage self-expression—children are encouraged to flex their creative muscles and create truly unique pieces. Classes are available in a variety of artistic mediums: painting and sketching, clay sculpting, and cartooning, to name just a few. Adults can get in on the action too during some classes, and Polka Dot is also a destination for fun and creative birthday parties.
Most Popular Service: Instructional classroom session and photo walk
Staff Size: 2–10 people
Average Duration of Services: 6+ hours
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