Arthur Murray Dance Studio 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.
More than 100 plant-populated acres unfold behind the stone-fence entrance to The Arboretum, showing off ever-changing seasonal landscapes to visitors 365 days a year. Passing breezes dance over grassy fields and stir up aromas of 1,500 rosebush varieties as visitors meander past the gazebo and fishpond en route to the 1.85-acre Kentucky Children’s Garden, a hands-on, educational environment for 2- to 10-year-old horticulturists. After exploring the wetlands and fountains or checking out art exhibitions, gardening seminars, and other special events, visitors can set out on the two-mile Walk Across Kentucky, a paved botanical excursion through the seven native regions of the state, including the Appalachian Plateau and wild fried-chicken habitats.
Musikgarten of Lexington director Jennifer Tutt believes that cultivating kids' natural musical aptitude enhances more than just the ability to hum a tune; it can also boost memory, foster pattern recognition, and refine motor skills. Following a curriculum used around the world, instructors with master's and doctorate degrees in music nurture the all-around development of students ranging from infants to 10-year-olds. They bring parents in on the fun: many age groups encourage the attendance and participation of adults, who are also given engaging ways to continue the lesson plan at home. Depending on age level, classes mix singing and dancing with basic instrument play, and, for older kids, a smattering of music theory, history, and performance. All-ages private lessons run the gamut of 17 instruments, from piano and voice to viola and trumpet.
The artists at Wine and Canvas awaken their students’ inner Rembrandts and Van Goghs with classes that pair a featured painting with specialty cocktails and wines. The mobile studio’s monthly calendar includes themed classes in which instructors expound on the nuances of painting Parisian street lamps, Japanese flowers, or Venetian cityscapes. The master painters—many of them local artists—provide step-by-step instructions while students mimic each stroke and periodically dip their brushes into glasses filled with crimson cabernet. Each of the studio’s various drink-friendly venues boasts a specialty libation selected to incite creativity or conversations with fellow painters. When the artistic frenzy concludes, students return home with a finished masterpiece large enough to conceal any wall safe or mirror portal.
When Joan Barnes founded Gymboree in 1976, she envisioned a facility where parents and children could play together in a safe and age-appropriate environment. In the following decades, Gymboree spread to more than 30 countries across the globe, helping youngsters from infants to 5 years old develop cognitive, physical, and social skills. The company's instructors lead classes such as Play & Learn, its flagship course, in which parents and kids move through a seven-level program filled with storytelling, play activities, and debates on the merits of sandwich crust. Talented staffers also prep youngsters for school and foster development in areas such as music, art, and sports. Throughout all classes, they make use of custom play equipment designed by acclaimed playground designer and seesaw-tamer Jay Beck.
A former University of Kentucky Dance Cat with more than 20 years of teaching experience, Traci Stone works to expand the dance community through recreational and competitive adult and youth classes. Whether putting together a fun routine or just allowing wee ones to wiggle out a chronic case of sillies, Traci’s team targets children’s imaginations with colorful costumes and annual performance exhibitions. For those who’ve long since traded their baby teeth for an investment portfolio, adult classes explore the basic techniques of ballet, tap, and belly dancing. Pointed toes and swaying stomachs take to the hardwood floor as natural light spills across Artistry in Motion's expansive studio, making bare and tap-clad feet dance more happily.