Class Action Listings 2010

Theater & Performing Arts

If your guitar gently weeps, perhaps you can cheer it up by enrolling in a class at the Brooklyn Guitar School in downtown Brooklyn. Courses range from "Guitar for Absolute Beginners"—wherein students learn tunes by R.E.M., Bob Marley, Third Eye Blind, Bob Dylan, and Guns 'n' Roses (can one pay extra not to learn Third Eye Blind?)—to "Advanced Adult Rock Band." Occasional tutorials in the ukulele are also offered.

Sure, you're no one's puppet, but why not learn how to build and manipulate some puppets of your own? In preparation for this spring's Hudson River Pageant, Earth Celebrations is hosting a series of free puppet and costume workshops at the World Financial Center from March 3 through May 19, culminating in a parade to encourage the revitalization of the Hudson River. Students will learn to create and master "spectacular giant papier-mâché puppets."

You've pliéd your way through ballet class, pop-and-locked through hours of hip-hop, and stamped and shimmied through African dance. While Peridance offers all of the above (plus salsa, tap, jazz, modern, and theater dance) at its new home near Union Square, it also has a class to tempt the instep of even the most jaded hoofer: open-level samurai sword fighting. Students learn basic sword techniques such as "breathing, walking, gripping, swinging, stances"—then they fight!


Coco Chanel quipped, "Elegance does not consist in putting on a new dress." But putting on a new dress is still a very fine thing, particularly if it is one you made yourself. Make Workshop founder Diana Rupp instructs students in the creation of a "girly go-to dress," featuring darts, a lined bodice, and an invisible zipper. Other frequently offered fashion classes at this Lower East Side studio include "Tunic Dress," "Flouncy Tank-Top," and "Make a Skirt (Pencil or Naughty Secretary)."


It may well be a dark and stormy night when you enjoy your first session of "Murder You'll Write," an evening writing course at Marymount Manhattan College's Office of Special Programs on the Upper East Side devoted to the art of the detective novel. Students will "create ingenious sleuths, weave intricate plots, drop subtle clues, and introduce suspicious characters." Then they'll have to solve the mystery of how to get published.

Lynyrd Skynyrd notwithstanding, Cobble Hill's FreeBird Workshops believe that this bird can change. Leaders of these small classes think that a group environment and gentle advice can help stuck writers quit procrastinating and finish their story, play, novel, or memoir. All classes conclude with a publishing party, in which students submit their work to magazines and journals.

Art & Architecture

Valentin Serov, Vasily Surikov, and Ilya Repin do not teach at the Bridgeview School of Fine Art (they've all been dead for a while), but they are the primary influences of this Long Island City school's teachers, many of whom trained at the Russian Academy of Fine Arts. Classes include figure drawing, academic painting, portrait sculpture, and anatomy for artists.

For the past 40 years, the Project of Living Artists, originally intended as an experiment in communal art making, has promised "no irritating and pompously dogmatic instruction, no proselytizing, no philosophical hogwash; simply . . . a place to draw." Located in the Bushwick home of Joe Catuccio, the project maintains its commitment to life drawing by offering a class every Saturday of the year.

Manhattan's first buildings were not so impressive—a fort, a sawmill, a few houses. But in the 400 intervening years, we've achieved rather more flair in our structural design. Building enthusiasts might enjoy a Parsons course on the architecture of New York. On-site classes position all those bricks and girders in the context of "social, economic, and technological currents." Parsons also offers a variety of continuing education courses in interior design and architecture studies.

Film & Video

Though guest lecturers aren't usually a cause for excitement, Professor Richard Brown's class at NYU's School of Continuing and Professional Studies boasts a uniquely glamorous array of adjuncts. Clint Eastwood, Helen Mirren, Martin Scorsese, Meryl Streep, and countless others have assisted Brown in teaching "Movies 101," described as "a cinematic adventure that offers a rich understanding of the newest films before they are released to the public, including in-depth interviews with directors and actors."

Apparently there's more to making movies than romancing starlets, shouting, "Cut!," and lounging in a canvas chair with your name emblazoned on the back. In the School of Visual Arts Continuing Education program's "Introduction to Directing," future auteurs will work with live actors, learning "how to visualize an idea and translate text to image, as well as using cinematic techniques to elicit the most effective psychological response from the audience."

For Children & Teens

In China, "moomah" is a slang term for Mom. In Tribeca, it means a café and play space offering some of the niftiest kids' classes around. Spring courses at Moomah include glow-in-the-dark yoga, art and nature (which includes a field trip to Stone Barns Center in Tarrytown), a storytelling and songwriting class, and an imagination workshop led by the Story Pirates.

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