Class Action Listings

Theater and Performing Arts

Budding American idols ready to take their singing career to the big time—or, at least, beyond the bounds of the shower stall—can enroll in workshops at the Singers Forum in the Flatiron District. (You'll be in excellent company: Liza Minnelli, Mandy Patinkin, and Eartha Kitt have all studied there.) Winter offerings include "Vocal Technique," "Cabaret and Musical Performance," and "Sing the Truth."

Teaching improvisation by the book may sound like something of a contradiction in terms, but it doesn't seem to trouble Magnet, a comedy theater and improv school in Chelsea with a strict multi-step curriculum. Students advance from "Level One: The Principles of Improv" to "Level Six: Team Performance Workshop." The school also offers the occasional free introductory course, drop-in classes, and instruction in solo performance, sketch writing, and musical improv.

During the Depression, one dance instructor condemned swing as "a degenerated form of jazz, whose devotees are the unfortunate victims of economic instability." In this time of economic instability, shedding some anxieties via the jitterbug sounds tremendously appealing. Dance Manhattan can set you twirling with instruction in "Smooth Swing," "East Coast Swing," and the pleasantly filthy-sounding "Collegiate Shag."


Perhaps you have sewing skills that would make Heidi Klum weep, or a design aesthetic that might delight the heart of Michael Kors. But how do you transform these talents into a viable career? In late fall, The Fashion Institute of Technology offers several classes in Tools of the Trade for fashion design and Product Development Essentials. Courses include "Quality Fashion: How to Make It, How to Deliver It," "Selling and Marketing Your Product Online," and "The Inside Scoop From Pattern Makers, Graders, and Sample Makers."

It's a dog's life—particularly when the dog lacks anything nice to wear. But couture-minded pet owners can remedy that sartorial defect with a class in "Dog Wear Design," one of the offerings at Park Slope's Brooklyn Design Lab. At the one-day workshop's end, your pooch can sport his or her very own "unique appliquéd doggie shirt."


The New York Public Library boasts an impressive 20 million books, but such a surplus isn't terribly useful if you can't read and write. Consequently, the NYPL hosts seven centers for reading and writing: two in the Bronx, four in Manhattan, and one on Staten Island. Each offers free small group instruction in reading and writing by trained volunteers and the opportunity for graduates to publish their work in the journal Writers' Voices.

"Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart," advised William Wordsworth. If your writing could use some CPR, you might consider studying at the Gotham Writers' Workshop, which offers classes at 10 Manhattan locations as well as online. In addition to the usual round of creative writing instruction (fiction writing, screenwriting, memoir writing), Gotham has added new classes for the times, including "How to Blog" and "How to Freelance."


You might think it would take longer than eight to 12 sessions to learn "a complete academic-atelier approach to the art of painting and drawing the figure, still life, portraiture, color and composition." But the National Academy Museum and School of Fine Arts on Museum Mile guarantees just that in its "Complete Academic Atelier Art Course." Winter classes also include "Abstract Sculpture," "Beginning Drawing," "Printmaking," "Watercolor," and "Mixed Media."

The Bauhaus School closed its doors in 1933, but present-day students longing to immerse themselves in New Objectivity and International Style need live in disappointment no longer. In conjunction with its Bauhaus exhibit opening in November, the Museum of Modern Art will offer a series of workshops celebrating Bauhaus artists and techniques. Offerings include "Abstract Reportage," "Bauhaus Bags: Design Your Own Tote," and "Josef Albers Color Workshop."

For Children and Teens

Hanging out on stoops and filching cigarettes is a time-honored teen pastime, but teens more engaged with the carcinogenic properties of tobacco or the geological origins of the stoop might enjoy the after-school program at the American Museum of National History. The museum offers 25 courses, among them classes exploring anthropology, environmentalism, the solar system, cancer-causing viruses, and "DNA: Everything You Wanted to Know and More!"

What eight-year-old has assembled enough material for a gripping memoir? The teachers at Writopia apparently trust in kiddie chronicles, offering writing classes for children aged eight to 18. Six-member workshops instruct youth in the techniques of short stories, journalistic pieces, personal essays, poetry, dramatic and comedic scripts, and, yes, autobiographies. Workshop grads can read their work at a local Barnes & Noble, just like their more mature peers.


If you dream of winning an Oscar but suspect your talents tend toward the commercial rather than the creative, you need not toss away your "I'd like to thank" speech just yet. New York University's School of Continuing and Professional Studies film department offers just the course to get you started: "Producing Intensive." Taught by two experienced producers, the class explicates such subjects as development, scheduling, budgeting, financing, and the state of the industry.

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