29 Ways to Better Yourself This Fall in NYC

29  Ways to Better Yourself This Fall in NYC
Photo Credit: DaveLawler via Compfight cc
The "Analog Film Lab," a one-day intensive course on August 29, will teach you how to use this thing called a "camera."

Theater and Performing Arts

What would dance be without its costumes? Those tutus, those sequins, the occasional jazzy bowler hat. Still, clothes aren't much without some accompanying footwork, so the Fashion Institute of Technology will offer a variety of dance classes in the fall. Courses include "Contemporary Urban Dance," "Dances of the Middle East and India," "Afro-Caribbean Dance," ballet, modern, jazz, and flamenco. fitnyc.edu

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Sure, there are advantages to being a solo artist. Full creative control, first pick of backstage snacks, not having to share groupies. But a musician can get lonely. If you'd like to learn to play well with others, Mannes School of Music, an affiliate of the New School, offers a variety of ensemble programs. You can register for "Community Orchestra," "Baroque Chamber Ensemble," "Guitar Ensemble," "Flute Ensemble," and for Renaissance Faire enthusiasts, "Recorder Consort." newschool.edu


Shopping your closet would be a lot easier if your closet had a lot more new stuff in it. But Bird River Studios in Williamsburg has a compromise. In the sewing workshop "Jean Re-Fab Bag," you'll learn how to turn your worn-out jeans into a brand-new purse. And in "T-Shirt Re-Fab," you can learn no-sew techniques to transform old tops into wardrobe statement pieces. birdriverstudios.com

If the shoe fits, wear it. Designing and building a shoe based on the shape of your particular foot might really help with that whole fit thing. At the Brooklyn Shoe Space in Williamsburg, you can learn how to create your own footwear. Begin with an introductory session covering "footwear structure, resources for materials, and measuring your feet." Then move on to pattern making and working sessions. brooklynshoespace.com


If you browse a bookstore's classics section, you'll find a preponderance of books by dead white rich men. And those books are pretty great, but the NY Writers Coalition has dedicated itself to making sure a greater variety of voices is heard. The coalition partners with social-service agencies to arrange workshops for veterans, geriatrics, the recently incarcerated, and those with physical and mental disabilities. For the general public, it also sponsors a free weekly workshop at the central branch of the Brooklyn Public Library each Monday afternoon. nywriterscoalition.org

What's the use of having written the next great American novel if no one can read it? "The Next Bestseller Workshop" promises to help you make your opus just a bit more magnum. At this weekend seminar in Soho from November 7 to 9, you'll learn to "practice and polish your pitch with direct access to book publishing industry professionals, Hollywood, and the media." thenextbestseller.com


If you have a nagging desire to sculpt, consider learning at Chateau Stables, a stable for theatrical animals in Hell's Kitchen. This class will cover sculpting basics: building an armature, building sculptural muscle mass, creating fine details. And it will provide extra inspiration of the four-legged variety by providing several horses to serve as live models. Who'd say neigh to that? chateaustables.net

Has all the color drained from your relationship? You can try revivifying it during "1-Nite Couples Painting Class Party" at the Art Studio NY on the Upper West Side. Here you'll receive instruction in "color mixing, brushwork, composition, texture" and leave with a canvas you create together. If it goes poorly, you can console yourself with the free wine. And if not even wine can improve things, you might be ready for Art Studio NY's "BYOB Singles Night Painting Class Party." theartstudiony.com

For Children and Teens

Does it seem as if your kid is always a move or two ahead of you? If you think your tot (aged four and up) might make a grandmaster or -mistress, you can sign him or her up for lessons at Chess NYC in the West Village. Opt for individual chess club lessons or group chess buddy tutoring. But don't blame the school if you become just a pawn in your spawn's game. chessnyc.com

New York City used to boast a dazzlingly rich aquaculture, its bays teeming with striped bass, cod, oysters, and clams. Actually, New York still has plenty of fish, though you might want to exercise some caution before consuming them. You can decide once you and your child learn to catch them, with free lessons via Big City Fishing, which run through August at a variety of piers. Big City provides "rods, reels and bait, as well as formal instruction." hudsonriverpark.org


If only a film actually ended once you yelled "Cut!" on the final scene. But how to sort through all those different takes, sync that dialogue, fade in those songs? And where should you place all those CGI fire-breathing dragons? A six-week course in "The Art of Film Editing" at the Edit Center in DUMBO can help. Students will learn Final Cut Pro and Avid Media Composer while working on a full-length narrative film or feature documentary. theeditcenter.com

Food and Drink

This is a golden age of ice cream. Gelato, too. Also sorbet. Even much-maligned frozen yogurt. If you'd like to learn to make your own quiescently frozen confections, it might help to study with an expert. At the new Ample Hills in Gowanus, Brooklyn — the venture that developed the worryingly addictive Salted Crack Caramel — you'll learn "how to transform a few natural ingredients and a dream into a cold, creamy treat." amplehills.com

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