Class Action Listings


Amid the nausea, back pain, and fatigue, workouts may rank rather low on the to-do list of moms-to-be. But the six-week Maternal Fitness workshop at Spabébé near Union Square teaches expectant mothers exercises and techniques designed to directly improve pregnancy and childbearing. Later, they can sign up for "Lose Your Mummy Tummy" seminars.

Sure, sure, yoga works to strengthen the body, calm the mind, and ease the spirit, but according to a recent article in The Journal of Sexual Medicine, all those asanas improve orgasms, too. Couples interested in reaping this ancillary benefit can register for Partner Yoga for Valentine's Day at OM Yoga at Ailey in Hell's Kitchen. Unattached students are also welcome.

The Dalai Lama is not only a fearless fashion icon (hey, it's not every man who can pair burgundy and saffron), he's also a great spiritual leader. To make like his holiness, you might consider the meditation classes offered at Tibet House on West 15th Street. Designed for both novice and expert students, these friendly evening sessions offer a brief history of the discipline and a guided meditation.

The Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa in midtown offers various services you shouldn't try at home—Botox, Restylane, and Juvéderm cosmetic enhancements among them. But the celebrated spa also offers some less toxic enrichments, including lessons in makeup application. For $80, professionals will instruct you in cosmetological arcana and use a nifty laser device to determine your skin tone.

Theater and Performing Arts

Perhaps you long to sit behind a desk adorned with index cards and a glass of water, or invite audience members to view your cervix, or develop an improbably intimate relationship with canned yams. Yes, if you too long for a career in performance art, you can sign up for Do It Yourself, a solo performance course at Chelsea's People's Improv Theater. The class culminates in a performance at the theater.

An unfortunate corollary of the credit crunch: Several Broadway shows have postponed their openings, including Bob Fosse's Dancin'. So if you've a more immediate hunger for jazz hands, you might consider a theatrical jazz class at Steps NYC on the Upper West Side. Instructors will teach students to slither and slide through jetés, leaps, and pirouettes. Provocative dancewear not provided.

If only Hollywood musicals like Mamma Mia! or Chicago had half the vibrancy and panache of any of the dozens of Bollywood films released each year. If you long to try those sinuous arm movements and hip swivels at home, Bollywood Axion in midtown offers classes in Bollywood dance, as well as bhangra and garba/raas, courses that combine classic Indian dance styles with hip-hop and modern dance.


For ladies and gents who know how to make a Singer sing, but could use a little moral support with their sewing, Home Ec in Gowanus, Brooklyn, offers a weekly open studio. For $10 per hour, students have access to sewing tools, cutting tables, steam irons, reference books, adjustable dress forms, expert advice, and a sweet little Kenmore model on which to construct their creations.

The original Goths, those East Germanic tribes of the third and fourth centuries, were not precisely chic—though some factions could really rock an animal skin. But the more recent incarnation is infinitely more stylish, as evidenced by the "Goth: Dark Glamour" exhibit at the Fashion Institute of Technology. FIT is closing out the exhibit with a special weekend symposium, "Subculture and Style," on February 13 and 14, featuring designers Rick Owens and Anna Sui.

In the current economic climate, who has the cash for designer clothes? Well, if you become a designer yourself, those togs should be more affordable. Parsons School of Continuing Education and Professional Studies offers spring courses in Construction Techniques and Pattern-Making Basics for the Female Form. These courses teach hand- and machine-sewing techniques, as well as pattern designs for skirts and blouses. Who needs Bergdorf's?


According to the old adage, everyone has at least one book in her. If you'd like help getting it out of you—and you anticipate it might be particularly steamy—you might enroll in Silk Sheets: Writing Erotica at the New School for General Studies Continuing Education. According to the instructor, each class concentrates on the dull niceties of "plot, timing, character, and locale," and also on the good stuff: "sensual descriptive passages."

A passel of impressive writers have taken classes at Columbia University—J.D. Salinger, Federico García Lorca, Carson McCullers, and Langston Hughes among them. But these days the most impressive writers at Columbia are on the faculty (and have the distinct advantage of remaining alive). Continuing-education classes in writing boast such teachers as Sam Lipsyte, Rivka Galchen, Ed Park, Stacey D'Erasmo, and Gary Shteyngart.


Chinese brush painting has existed for over 6,000 years, giving artists ample time to perfect the technique, which uses an exquisitely fine brush to paint animals, plants, figures, and many a lovely mountain. The Upper East Side's China Institute in America, which has offered classes in New York since 1926, features two courses in the storied method. At their first class, students receive materials and begin instruction in "landscapes, bird-and-flower paintings, insects and fish."

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