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Theater & Performing Arts

Mortality means you can't study with Stanislavsky, Strasberg, Meisner, or Grotowski, but if you long to learn the techniques of such masters, Thurman E. Scott, founder of the Actors Theatre Workshop in Chelsea, has distilled their teachings into his Ten Week Intensive, which begins its fall session in September. Students will learn techniques such as "Freeing Your Emotions," "Opening the Imagination," and "Character Development."

When it was founded in 1874 as the Young Men's Hebrew Association, few could have predicted that the 92nd St. Y would one day offer instruction in Bollywood Dance, Jazz Funk, and Hula. The Upper East Side institution provides dance classes every day of the week—yes, even Saturday—for absolute beginners up to more advanced students. Offerings include Ballet, Tap, Flamenco, and, true to the Y's roots, Shabbat and Jewish Dance programs.


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Fast fashion seems to happen more quickly every season. To get a jump on the sartorial race, you can enroll in classes at the Fashion Institute of Technology, which boasts credit and non-credit courses open to adult learners. Beyond draping, sewing, and pattern design, classes include "Corsetry in Fashion," "Swimwear Design," "Bridal Design," and "Textile Lace and Technology." Cue that starting gun.

You may admire the outfits on the girls in Greenpoint or the swells in Chelsea, but you can't deny that Soho and Tribeca are stylish neighborhoods as well. And it's here that students can take fashion design classes at the Art Institute of New York City. Courses include everything from "Introduction to the Fashion Industry" to "Collection Development" and "Trend Forecasting and Concept Research."


Charlie Chaplin thought all you need to make comedy is "a park, a policeman, and a pretty girl." But the American Comedy Institute in Midtown takes an even more minimalist approach, declaring, "All you need is a pencil and your sense of humor." Every month, the Institute offers a course, either in eight sessions or in a five-day intensive, in which students learn advanced comedy writing techniques. What's so funny about that?

Writers: Start your engines. Or, you know, open a new Microsoft Word doc. At any rate, Media Bistro has a plan to help you go from zero to first draft of your first novel (well, 100 pages of it) in just three short months. The class promises to teach you "how to write a perfect outline," "how to create strong characters," "how to create a tone," and "the secret behind perfect dialogue."


Art is everywhere in New York: the skyscrapers, the statues, the subway mosaics. But it's very possible to walk around appreciating none of it. Fordham University offers a continuing-education class designed to open your eyes to the city's beauty. In "Art and Architecture: New York City's Monuments and Their Architects," students will explore such Gotham highlights as the Chrysler Building, Lincoln Center, and St. Patrick's Cathedral.

Is your preferred medium multi? Then consider "Expressive Forms," a Pratt course that doesn't try to restrict you to any particular material or method. Students study drawing, painting, linoleum block printing, and collage utilizing "wood chips, pasta, sand, coffee, metal slag, fabric, [and] heavy paint." Suggested topics range from visual poems and abstraction to still life and landscape.

For Children & Teens

Not sure you're getting your recommended daily allowance of chlorine? The New York City Department of Parks and Recreation offers free swimming classes for children aged 18 months to 14 years, teaching basic water safety and swimming. For more amphibious kids, Parks hosts a competitive swim team.

At SewHo (you can guess what neighborhood), children ages seven and up learn to become miniature members of the garment industry. Classes include instruction in sewing machine skills, familiarization with patterns, and garment assembly. Pieces may include drawstring bags, skirts, shorts, pants, and tops. What, no kiddie couture?

Film & Video

Frank Capra believed that "film is one of the three universal languages," the other two being mathematics and music. If you'd like a crash course in this technical tongue, consider enrolling in the Digital Film Academy's 12-week course in digital filmmaking. In evening classes held three times per week at DFA's offices off Times Square, students learn screenwriting, directing, sound recording, and editing. The course culminates in students creating their own short, music video, or documentary.

Everyone's a critic, but not everyone gets paid for it. If you'd like to move from posting on IMDb message boards to something more remunerative, consider Columbia University's course in "Writing Film Criticism." Students will write brief reviews for each class while studying "the rise of independent cinema and sociological film criticism." Rotten Tomatoes, here you come!

Food & Drink

We can't blame you if you'd prefer that your meat comes nicely wrapped in plastic and styrofoam. But for those eager for a more intimate relationship with their roast, Dickson's Farmstand Meats in Chelsea Market offers regular classes detailing the connection between what's on your fork and the lamb, cow, or pig from which it hailed. In addition to the weekly "Meat 101: An Introduction to Dickson's Farmstand and Sustainable Agriculture," occasional classes include Sausage Making, Poultry 101, and "The Smoker."

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