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ART

Create a portfolio of ghoulish loon figures at the School of Visual Art's course on "Distortion" (212-592-2000, schoolofvisualarts.edu). Each assignment will explore a new mode of misrepresenting the human body. Bloating, shrinking, and dismembering encouraged.


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    When your latest story (this one about a knight and/or fairy) begins to feel a bit clunky, enroll in Cooper Union's "Calligraphy, the Italic Hand" (212-353-4195, cooper.edu/ce). After learning the basics in "chancery cursive," you won't even have to read anyone that valiant little tale. Really, just show them how it looks.


    A survey on young and emerging New York artists, Parsons' "Gallery Tour Seminar: Williams- burg, Brooklyn and Beyond" (212-229-5690, parsons.edu/continuing_ed) will equip you with a mini-bank of conversational flourishes. Don't sit silently on the L train, head in a book. Draw attention to yourself! Drop names!Rachel Aviv

    COOKING

    Need to get classy quick? Here's a good way to do it with the bonus of being able to drink in school. NYC Wine Class (212-647-1875, nycwineclass.com) offers cheap "Wine 101" packages, and courses that show you which cheeses to snub at the supermarket.


    The irresistible selection of cakes NYC has to offer makes you feel like a traitor if you don't take part. How about a compromise? Take "Eat Well in the New Year," offered by NYU(212-998-7200, scps.nyu.edu), to learn how to fine-tune your judgment when choosing food. Apparently colors are just as important as chemicals, so find out if that means pink cupcakes are OK. Get svelte and indulge.


    At the renowned Tribeca kitchen set in a spacious loft and host to Cooking by the Book (212-966-9199, cookingbythebook.com), food preparation is followed to the letter for private parties of 12 or more. Become an informed connoisseur of the steak or the artichoke, or perhaps find new and exciting ways to employ the arugula in an "oh so chic" kitchen that satisfies the stomach and the ego with its emphasis on personal attention. Janine Armin

    DANCE

    An entirely tutu-free dance space, Djoniba (212-477-3464, djoniba.com) has no interest in delicacy and/or anorexia. While students move through routines in West African, Haitian, and Brazilian dance, a row of drummers pound at the front of the room. Classes run from $13 to $16; physical ineptness encouraged.


    The first same-sex dance program in the country, OUTdancing (646-742-9400, steppingoutstudios.com) offers salsa, swing, fox-trot, cha-cha, and rumba for lesbians, gays, and transsexuals. Students choose to lead or follow, regardless of gender. Experience—and partners—unnecessary.


    Perched over the Hard Rock Café, Broadway Dance Center (212-582-9304, bwydance.com) is deeply indebted to its pop-feverish surroundings, teaching hip-hop, break dancing, and "musical theater" to more than 5,000 dancers a week. Past students include Britney Spears, Janet Jackson, and J.Lo. Classes are $15 apiece. Rachel Aviv

    DRAMA

    If you're tired of endless auditions and want to get back to the texts, the New School's course on Tennessee Williams and Samuel Beckett (212-229-5690, nsu.newschool.edu/), beginning March 14, is a good place to start. Plus you'll finally have a good excuse to scream "Stellaaaaaa!" over and over again.


    A class on voice-over techniques at NYU (212-998-7200, scps.nyu.edu) might the best way to find yourself billed with an A-list star on a major film release, if you don't mind settling for Pixar. Of course, there's no guarantee you'll end up a superhero like Sarah Vowell, or a fish à la Angelina Jolie.


    Sick of seeing reheated one-man shows on the boards? Take a class on playwriting at Columbia (212-854-3774, ce.columbia.edu) and reinvent your life in an edgy Off-Broadway show. It can't be any worse than what's out there already, right? Classes start on January 18. Gautam Hans


    FASHION

    With knitting taking the gold two years running in the hipster hobby category, Parsons (212-229-5690, parsons.edu/continuing_ed) is on top of the ancestral trend and will train you in the next big thing with classes in "Hand Embroidery and Appliqué Beading." BYOB will have new meaning after you enroll in this class.


    Get with the pro-gram: F.I.T.'s "Learn to Sew Like a Pro I" (212-217-3334, fitnyc.edu) shows the tricks of the fashion trade for those who are all thumbs and no Lagerfeld. Make the most of your end-of-the-line fabrics by using techniques from the ages you never thought mattered.


    You'll be in stitches with this all-you-need-to-know-about-knitting course, "Knitting for Pleasure," at F.I.T. (212-217-3334, fitnyc.edu). So kick back and knit—with these skills, you and yours will be warm for the price of a post-Christmas Yule log. Janine Armin

    FILM

    Contrary to what Mick might have said decades ago, it seems that time is very rarely on our side; it's getting so that even budding filmmakers have to draw the soul of wit as their bottom line. The School of Visual Arts' "The Big Story in the Short Film" (212-592-2000, schoolofvisualarts.edu/ce) will walk you through all the shortcuts, teaching you how to say what you want and get it out in less time than it takes Paul Thomas Anderson to reach the end of the first act.

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