OK, grasp the glass gently by the stem. Now swirl it around and sniff three times. All right, now take a sip, but make sure to keep your mouth slightly open. Hmm. There seems to be wine all over your shirt. Perhaps you should attend "Introduction to Wine," held by NYC Wine Class (212-647-1875, on Wednesdays starting May 19.

It's a common misperception that vegans don't like food—a misperception that may have something to do with the leaden rice dishes they sometimes consume. The discriminating dairy-free sweet tooth does exist, though, and she sure as hell isn't eating Rice Dream. Learn the art of no-milk, no-eggs dessert making in "Chocolate Mania" at the Natural Gourmet Cookery School (212-645-5170, In one session on April 19, you'll learn how to bake cakes, cookies, even chocolate hazelnut cream napoleons.

Don't know your jin foo pei guen from your waw teep? The New School's Culinary Arts Center (212-255-4141, will show you the difference between the delicacies and teach you how to make them in "Chinese Dumplings and Other Dim Sum," taught in one session on April 29. [Izzy Grinspan]


The Maimouna Keita School of African Dance offers a freestyle discourse on pure movement on Monday nights with choreographer Ronald K. Brown (718-399-7867, The $12 class starts off with a low-impact warm-up, followed by Brown's unique movement vocabulary, which fuses modern, hip-hop, and African dance steps.

From the Senegalese dance tradition comes sabar, a highly invigorating rhythm that calls for hopping and leaping, coupled with wild, juxtaposing arms. Led by Babacar M'baye, this $16 two-hour class is offered Saturday nights at Djoniba Dance and Drum Center (212-477-3464, A troupe of live drummers keep the movements and the spirits of dancers high.

For a communal, free-spirited experience, consider the Contact Improvisation Jam (718-768-3492, groups. There are no teachers, only students of movement who improvise at their own pace. The three-hour session will have you rolling, climbing, and connecting with one, two, or even three other bodies. At $5, the jam is both affordable and rewarding. [Monica Levette Clark]


Your high school drama teacher may still be talking about your legendary turn as Ado Annie or Sky Masterson, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't brush up your act. NYU's "Musical Theatre Performance" class (212-998-7171, focuses on the "performance tools" you'll need to make it on Broadway—aside from a few mildly memorable TV credits and the ability to refrain from rolling your eyes when belting out Tim Rice lyrics. You're on your own there.

You may never be paid for voicing your own opinions, but if you have a sonorous (or irritating) voice, own or can borrow a cassette recorder, and don't mind a little anonymity, you can make a solid living voicing the opinions of others. Practice "Voiceover Techniques," including reading commercial copy with enthusiasm, relaxing during auditions, and of course, networking, in NYU's course (212-998-7171, for beginners and pros alike.

Long-form improv—all the cool kids are doing it. If you're sick of listening to your performer friends babble about "finding the game" and "playing the truth of the moment," why not take a class at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre (212-366-9176, and see what all the fuss is about? Find out just how high the top of your intelligence really is—or just be thankful you're onstage instead of in the audience. [Mollie Wilson]


So your mom knits, your grandma knits, your roommates knit, and the other day your little brother made you a woollyn hat with a pom-pom. Feeling left out? Too embarrassed to ask for help? Don dark glasses and head over to F.I.T. (212-217-7999, for "Knitting for Pleasure," beginning April 15. If you get a good start now, you'll be able to surprise all of your loved ones with lumpy sweaters next holiday season.

I like to pretend that I'm a seamstress because I can reattach buttons to my coat, but every so often I come across someone in a handmade dress and recognize the tyro that I am. Leave amateurhood behind in "Learn to Sew Like a Pro" at F.I.T. (212-217-7999,, where you'll use the school's own machines to make "a pajama-style bottom" in "long, cropped, or Capri" style.

F.I.T.'s museum has gowns by the houses of Chanel and Dior. "The Great Designers" (212-217-7999, lets students get close to the collections, teaching them about the art of fashion through seminar classes and encounters with the frocks themselves. The class runs for three Wednesdays, starting April 21; don't forget to wash your hands before you get there. [Izzy Grinspan]


DV Dojo (212-477-2299, is dedicated to democratizing media by giving would-be directors access to inexpensive equipment. The Dojo also offers classes for aspiring filmmakers. "Digital Filmmaking," starting April 19, will teach you about DV shooting and editing. Once you're done, rent a camera for cheap and let loose your inner von Trier.

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