The consortium of professional and certified instructors at Fred Astaire Dance Studios, which was cofounded by the legendary toe tapper himself, shepherds students of all ages and skill levels through lessons that span the style spectrum. Low-pressure private sessions allow enthusiastic, certified teachers to fine-tune individual students' techniques and form, using their expert eyes and mechanical dancing shoes preprogrammed to do the Charleston. Patrons can learn how to cavort through classic waltz and foxtrot romps or swivel through the modern steps of salsa, swing, or samba. For dancers hoping to hoof it up in a social setting, the group practice parties provide a one-night extravaganza of instruction, demonstrations, and amateur firewalking.
Experienced photo gurus Doug Box and Randy Kerr impart practical photo skills to curious shutterbugs during engaging seminars that have appeared across the States and in eight countries abroad. Doug Box, author of myriad photography-technique books, is one of 13 Kodak mentors and is the Executive Director of the Texas Professional Photographers Association. His co-teacher, Randy Kerr, heads World Photographic, which uses photography as a vehicle for illuminating humanitarian and environmental topics. Both men have been teaching photography classes for years and help amateurs take photos that capture piercing looks, toothy smiles, and elusive dodo sightings.
The instructors of Minnesota Music Factory promise they don't want any of their students to spend hours just practicing boring, monotonous chords. Instead, they want to make music engaging and fun—while fully acknowledging that no beginner is going to pick up a guitar and instantly transform into rockstar, which, everyone knows takes at least two private lessons to accomplish. Specializing in lessons for beginners, the music instructors help students learn a simplified version of their favorite song on their very first lesson, a technique that helps students get excited about playing and realize the possibilities if they just apply patience and practice.
At each Art & Elixir painting event, artists of all skill levels, especially beginners are welcome to explore their creative sides. Instructors guide participants through each event allowing up-and-coming artists their own “intentional composition decisions.” During events, the owners–who are skilled artists themselves–give students step-by-step instructions on how to recreate the evening’s featured painting. But it’s up to the artist to decide how to interpret that work. Using paints, brushes, aprons, canvases, and easels provided by Art & Elixir, guests can paint fields of lavender with bright red acrylic paint. The only rule during these casual two–three hour sessions is that painters (aged 15 and older) enjoy themselves. Events take place at venues such as Lone Oak Grill and Gold Nugget Tavern & Grille, where guests can snack on food and drinks available for purchase.
The 1/8-mile track at Grove Creek Raceway roars to life during racing season, when dragsters scream down the straightaway in view of an equally lively crowd. The competitions take place during the day and at night too, when more souped-up vehicles takes over. Even youngsters have fun getting in on the action during junior dragster competitions, even though doing donuts on the asphalt is not allowed. The NHRA championship drag strip also provides a well-stocked concessions stand.