• • • cooking

Unlike many New Yorkers, cookbook author/caterer Karen Lee (787-2227; uses her kitchen to cook meals (not unwrap takeout). Witness her whip up some healthy fusion food at her four-class monthly session or weekend seminar (for your group of eight) held in her Upper West Side and Hampton homes.

Get more of a kick out of Mario after one of the Italian Culinary Center's 10-week courses (725-8764, ext. 25;, where you'll master the basics of Italian cooking (gnocchi, pizza, sauce, poultry, risotto, etc.) and then learn how to put it all together for elaborate brunches or easy baked dinners. Classes are taught by professional chefs and conclude with feasts of the final product.

Abandon swimsuit shopping and instead spend your Macy's hour (rather, three hours) at one of its no-commitment cooking classes. The De Gustibus team (439-1714;, located in a private kitchen on the eighth floor at Macy's Herald Square, offers samples of a featured chef's cuisine while you sip wine and receive instructions on how to duplicate the meal at home. —Shana Liebman

• • • dance

Whether you're a novice ready to go beyond improvisations in front of your bedroom mirror or a professional seeking a technical foundation for your career, Dance Space Center (625-8369; offers a wide range of classes at all levels, including Simonson Technique, hip-hop, and a "Modern Guest Artists" series, providing exposure to modern-dance masters. Cost: $12.50 per class for members, $13.50 for nonmembers—but call about special programs.

Explore the roots of African dance and drumming at Djoniba Dance & Drum Centre (477-3464; from the Djembe-style drum and dance used all over West Africa to the dances of Haiti, to Afro-Cuban hip-hop. Classes offered at all levels. Cost: $12-$15 a class.

Spare your partner the collisions next time you're on the dancefloor. Sandra Cameron Dance Center (431-1825; offers ballroom dancing at all levels, in swing, jitterbug, tango, Viennese waltz, and more, at $75 for a four-week package. If you long to appear on ESPN dancing competitive cha-cha in a glittery skirt, the center also offers a new program of international and American competition-style dancing. —Josephine Lee

• • • drama

Too much drama in your life? Have you lately felt the need to release the artist within? We know there are different ways to express your feelings, so why not do it creatively and in the process learn from the best? The Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute (533-5500; will teach you the master's basics, with courses for directing, film and TV acting, speech, and singing. Classes start June 24.

The Actors Movement Studio (736-3309; emphasizes physical training for actors, using the Williamson technique, which teaches how the body establishes a connection to an imaginary world and how through movement it can shape the behavior that flows out of this connection. Classes start at the end of May and run for 10 weeks. —Camila Gamboa

The Institutes for the Arts in Psychotherapy offer workshops in "Developmental Transformations," using improv techniques and spontaneous play to get to the heart of anybody who wishes to try. Drama ain't just for people who wear all black and suck down bottled water—it's for everybody. Instructor Blair Glaser's next drama therapy group (726-1592) forms April 23. Cost: $35/group. —Alexis Sottile

• • • fashion

Wilma hawked her porcelain-finished handbags on the streets of Soho daily, patiently waiting for her big break from the likes of Scoop or Barneys. Then one day she met Coach creative director Reed Krakoff. He showed our diva-in-training how to get the Wilma bag off the sidewalk and into boutiques. And with his Jumpstart Your Fashion Career ( on May 21, you'll get all your questions answered about how to break into the business. Cost: $44 plus $10 registration.

It's damn hard to express yourself using the accessories of others. Therefore you've got to make your own. With basic skills like soldering, polishing, and filling, you'll be able to create any jewelry, all done to your own taste. The Craft Students League of the YWCA (735-9731) offers a basic jewelry class. Cost: 11 classes for $280.

Take a walk down Fashion Avenue. The Fashion Institute of Technology's School of Continuing and Professional Studies ( provides the New York edge in a range of sectors, such as the Home Fashion Market and Decorative and Wearable Arts. Non-degree classes are conveniently scheduled to help you pursue a hobby or start a new career. —Ariston-Lizabeth Anderson

• • • film

Calling all Woody Allen wannabes: The New York Film Academy (674-4300; offers both year-long and eight-, six-, and four-week courses for novice filmmakers on all aspects of moviemaking (writing, editing, lighting, directing, etc.). Students learn the basics and collaborate on projects under the instruction of professional filmmakers.

Enter the film buffs' ivory tower at Columbia University (, where you can experience heady lectures on film theory and history, such as Andrew Sarris's survey of international film history, 1930-1960.

Hollywood heroes like Norman Jewison (Moonstruck), Lawrence Bender (Good Will Hunting, Pulp Fiction), and Anne Coates (Erin Brockovich, Lawrence of Arabia) contributed to the Cyber Film School's new CD-ROM. The "class" covers the history of cinema, screenwriting fundamentals, lessons on planning a budget, shooting and lighting techniques, and involves online discussions via the Web site ( and editing assignments. —Shana Liebman

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