Education

• • • cooking

Unlike many New Yorkers, cookbook author/caterer Karen Lee (787-2227; www.karenleecooking.com) 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; www.italiancookingandliving.com), 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; starchefs.com/DeGustibus/), 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; www.dancespace.com) 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; www.djoniba.com): 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; sandracameron.com) 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; www.strasberg.com) 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; www.actorsmovementstudio.com) 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 ( www.learningannex.com) 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 ( www.fitnyc.edu) 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; www.nyfa.com) 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 ( www.ce.columbia.edu/courses/film.cfm), 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 ( www.cyberfilmschool.com) and editing assignments. —Shana Liebman


• • • finance

Most of us tend to believe that estate planning and administration are things one does later in life, preferably sitting before a dazzling ocean view. Mais non! You should learn about these matters before your beach dream turns out to be a figment of your imagination, and the only breeze reaching your face is the one provided by an electric fan resting next to your ingenious swimming pool: the tub. So gain an understanding of the fundamentals of estate planning on April 23, at the 92nd Street Y ( www.92ndsty.org; 996-1100). Issues discussed include wills and estate and gift taxes . . .


. . . But if you already possess the wealth and have lived in your dream house for years, then it's time for you to learn about current money-management options, retirement planning, and IRA distributions, and other complicated money matters—at the 92nd Street Y on May 7. —Camila Gamboa


• • • international study

If the soundtrack to Buena Vista Social Club is still in your CD changer, you might consider taking a legal trip to Cuba through Cross-Cultural Solutions (800-380-4777; www.crossculturalsolutions.org). In addition to offering study tours, this New Rochelle-based organization sends hundreds of volunteers to do humanitarian work around the world.


Want to relive your study-abroad year from college, or take one for the first time? New York University's School of Continuing and Professional Studies (998-7080; www.scps.nyu.edu) has programs tailored specifically for noncredit adult students. One of this year's summer intensives is a week-long tour of the United Nations in Geneva (998-7133), allowing you to confer with foreign diplomats and try your hand at solving world hunger.


On the pricey end, the Smithsonian Associates (877-EDU-TOUR; www.smithsonianstudytours.si.edu) bases tours on subjects ranging from architecture and literature to cooking and hiking. If you have $14,000 to spare, you can spend 16 days retracing the sites of WW II battles in a privately chartered jet. For the rest of us, there are 359 other tours and 249 destinations to choose from. —Wendy Lee


• • • language

Whether Japanese is essential for your business career, or you're ready to immerse yourself in Far Eastern culture, the Japan Society Toyota Language Center (715-1256; www.japansociety.org) specializes in providing both aspects of the language at any level. A training program offers native speakers skills to teach English speakers.


If you want to open doors to another culture, start by learning the language. NYU offers courses in over 25 of them, including Turkish, Persian, and Portuguese. For further information, call 998-7030.


You've got the plane tickets. You've mastered your sangria recipe. You're all set to hit the beaches of Majorca. Only one thing's missing: basic knowledge of Spanish. Never fear. With language immersion, you'll be able to master a working knowledge of the language in plenty of time for your next trip. The Learning Annex ( www.learningannex.com) offers "Speak Spanish Fluently" on May 7. Cost: $54 + $10 materials fee. —Ariston-Lizabeth Anderson


• • • music

Legendary house music producer and DJ Carlos Sanchez shares his expertise at Pace University (346-1244) this spring. His new course, "World Music: The Underground," begins April 19 and offers a retrospective of dance music, in all its forms. One good reason to enroll includes a class trip to a nightclub so you can shake your groove thang. Cost: $175


Kai Fikentscher works the music and your mind at his "House to Learn" series. Author of You Better Work: Underground Dance Music in New York City and a Ramapo College professor, he blends the idea of DJ'ing with lecturing. Don't miss this open-ended monthly discussion of topics and issues in house-music history. The class meets monthly at Idlewild (477-5005) from 8 until 9 p.m. Cost: Free!


If your tastes are international, perhaps "Classical North Indian Music," at Lotus Music and Dance (627-1076; www.lotusarts.com), will please your palate. Taught by songstress Daisy Paradis, a world-renowned Ali Akbar Khan graduate, the class covers essentials like "raga" (music), tala (rhythm), and tan (Indian improvisation). Not only is this rare gem cheap, but it's led by a 34-year vocal veteran. Cost: $11 per class; $10 registration fee —Celeste Doaks


• • • nature

New York is known for its harsh living accommodations, and finding the right spot to call home is almost as hard as finding your soul mate. It's no piece of cake for gorillas, mandrills, and okapis, either. Thankfully, the Wildlife Conservation Society (718-220-5100; http://wcs.org) has a team of skilled designers, artists, craftsmen, horticulturists, and zoologists, who create the perfect living environment for these demanding clients. At the Bronx Zoo's "Conservation by Design" event on June 9, you'll be able to learn how they do it! Cost: $40 members, $50 nonmembers.


Flowers make all the difference. It can be a gray room with plaster chipping off its corners, and mold slowly invading the walls, but if a red orchid is beautifully placed in the middle of the floor, there is a chance no one will notice the decrepit space it inhabits. Everyone will spot the dancing flower—so learn how to fill your space with joy. The Brooklyn Botanical Garden ( www.bbg.org) offers an April 21 class ("Vases 101") on flower arrangement and will teach you how to condition cut flowers and make your designs last longer.


A class specially designed for city dwellers who long to do some container gardening but do not know where to start, "Urban Container Gardening: A Beginner's Workshop" (718-817-8747; www.nybg.org) will teach you all about draining, soils, watering etc. Enjoy two beautiful days, on June 19 and 26, at the New York Botanical Garden. —Camila Gamboa


• • • photography

For all you overzealous nature nuts, the 92nd Street Y (415-5500; www.92sty.org) has a class for you. Susan Kleckner's "Spring Sensations: Photographing the Landscape" is a two-session course (April 21 and May 5) that spends the first class on detailed instruction. After going out and snapping to your heart's content, you'll return for a second session to review your work over lunch outdoors. Cost: $145.


If you're more of a city mouse, author and photographer Toby Old offers "Night Life in the City" (April 19-June 28) at the International Center of Photography ( www.icp.org; 857-0001). Focusing on the aesthetics of New York after hours, students will examine various photographic approaches specific to this environment. Exciting study locations include Webster Hall, a tattoo convention, and Coney Island. Portfolio review is a prerequisite, so bring a body of work—or take "Photo I." Cost: $530 nonmembers, $515 members. —Celeste Doaks


• • • spirituality

What does finding your third eye have to do with bliss and tranquility? Plenty. Discover your various levels of consciousness at the Himalayan Institute New York (243-5995; www.himalayaninstitute.org/hinyc). Drop-in meditation classes are $20, offering step-by-step instruction for beginners.


What's up with that guy with the long ponytail who spends his weekends in the woods and plays Tibetan chants in his cubicle ever since finding that book on Zen? Find out for yourself at the Vikramasila Foundation ( www.vikramasila.org), Palden Sakya Centers. Lojong classes meet Mondays from 7:30 until 9 p.m., teaching Buddhist principles, views, and meditation. The essence of the enlightened path is love and compassion—and Lojong will get you on the path! Cost: $13.


If you're sick of urban-style yoga with car horns and sirens in the background, pick up your mat and head for Jamaica, Queens. The Chakra Shri Center (718-883-7770; thearch.org) offers classes by a student of B.K.S. Iyengar (said to be the most famous yoga teacher alive). Also available: the beautiful Indian dance known as bharatnatyam.


Between corporate drug handouts, HMO fiascos, and mystery prescriptions, holistic medicine is becoming more and more attractive. Consider making a career out of it. The Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (800-729-3468, www.ormed.edu) offers master's degrees in acupuncture and oriental medicine.


• • • sports

Capoeira is a martial art created by African slaves in Brazil, who, forbidden to learn self-defense, cleverly disguised their training as a playful dance. Now people everywhere are picking up on the graceful art form, keeping in shape while improving their alertness and speed. Classes offered Thursdays at Brooklyn's Capoeira Angola Palmares Academy NYC ( www.capoeiraangola.org). First class: $10.


You're on the downtown 6 train, pressed up against the creep who was eyeing you on the platform, wedged between two people who are shouting through you in what they appear to believe is conversation. The train stops abruptly, and the fuzzy voice seems to announce a 10-minute delay. While you're huffing and puffing, just think about what a difference tai chi can make. You'll cradle the tiger into well-being, far away from the crowds. The Center for Holistic Arts ( www.holistic-arts.com) offers tai chi kung, from May 7 to June 25.


So you're street smart, but are you street tough? If you're wavering on that question, you might want to consider some basic self-defense. New York Martial Arts (598-1100; www.nymartialarts.com) can show you how to defend yourself. Or try kickboxing, tae kwon do, or hapkido. —Ariston-Lizabeth Anderson


• • • visual arts

Computers are for wusses. Hand-print your own zine, in real do-it-yourself fashion. Help revive the lost art of typography, pulp your own paper, and crank out wholesome imagery. You can do it all at the Center for Book Arts ( www.centerforbookarts.org), which offers hundreds of classes in bindery, printmaking, and papermaking. Try making your own business cards with "Typesetting and the Platen Press: Small Projects," or go for "Beginning Multiple Color Linoleum Printing." You can learn jigsaw registration, and trade prints with other students at the end.


If you find yourself nightly in front of the television with no motion outside of a sleight of thumb to the remote, than perhaps it's time you stopped being a statute, and started making one. The New School University ( www.nsu.newschool.edu) offers an assortment of sculpture classes for all your creation needs. Watching the sparks fly as you crank up the oxygen, smelling that burning copper, you'll never again need to resort to virtual living.


Monotype is one of the most spontaneous art forms—you never know what you're going to get. Create plates with anything from paint to seeds to glue and send them through the press at the Lower East Side Printshop (673-5390; /www.printshop.org). Voilà! Classes are from May 21 to June 25. Cost: $240. —Ariston-Lizabeth Anderson


• • • writing

The frustrated director of the NYU creative writing department began the Writer's Studio (255-7075; www.writerstudio.com), which features intimate evening workshops, of eight to 10 weeks, in a downtown public school. Weekly assignments and discussions aim to explore and imitate a variety of writing styles, and encourage budding and professional scribes to experiment with their own.


Mediabistro (mediabistro.com/ courses/), formerly just a job-posting board for media professionals, has evolved into an education and information center that hosts classes in editing, comedy writing, and marketability. In addition to the ongoing "Boot Camp for Journalists," they offer weekly courses and weekend seminars. —Shana Liebman

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