Class Action Listings – 6/27/2010


Theater & Performing Arts
Hips don’t lie, but their vocabulary is rather limited. If you’d like yours to become more articulate, perhaps even multilingual, you can visit the ongoing world of dance and music classes at Lotus Music and Dance Studio in Chelsea. Special workshops and weekly courses teach you to shake it in a variety of traditions, including Korean Traditional Dance, Odissi, Flamenco, Kathak, Belly Dance, Bulgarian Folk Dance, and Men’s Hula.

Acting is tremendous fun, but doesn’t typically provide much of a cardiovascular workout—ComedySportz may be the exception. Relying on a fast-paced improvisational format, it puts two teams of performers through various high-impact games. Once a month, these pros open up the floor of the Broadway Comedy Club to interested amateurs, offering classes in fleet-footed, pulse-pounding, quick-thinking comedy.

Think your life is undramatic? Think again. Beginning on Wednesday, August 4, the Brecht Forum will host a week-long 27-hour workshop in which each participant will be asked to share a personal experience and see it transformed into theater. The final evening’s performance will help students to “learn from our successes and our missed opportunities.”

Gowanus doesn’t typically lead the list of chic neighborhoods (unless Superfund sites are your idea of cool), but the Textile Arts Center is a stylish edition that might help residents become more fashionable, too. This fall, the center offers a six-week course in which students learn sewing basics and build modish togs such as a tote bag and matching wallet, skirt, or apron.

Do runway shows inspire you with uncontrollable envy? Can you not pass the windows of Bergdorf’s without an outbreak of covetousness? Consider taking a low-budget approach to your high fashion dreams by enrolling in some of the Fashion Institute of Technology’s haute couture classes. Fall offerings include “Haute Couture Sewing Techniques” and “Haute Couture Decorative Techniques and Embellishment.”

Interior. Middle Shot. A creative writing classroom. Move to close-up on the author of How to Write a Screenplay in 10 Weeks and The Four Magic Questions of Screenwriting. Writer Marilyn Horowitz has launched The Screenplay Class, a nine-week Upper West Side course for a maximum of 10 students focused on “analyzing producer’s notes and coverage, solving long-term structure and character issues, and improving dialogue and pacing.”

If you feel your name ought to be included the next time the New Yorker devotes an issue to 20 Writers Under 40 or Granta publishes its Best of Young American Novelists, consider enrolling in the one-year non-MFA program at the Writer’s Institute at CUNYs Graduate Center, where editors at both of these esteemed publications are on the faculty. The institute recently added a fiction program to complement its nonfiction offerings.

Art & Architecture
Cooper Union recently unveiled a new academic building that it says embodies “sustainability, durability, and flexibility” (though architecture critic Francis Morrone called it “one of the most violent building designs I’ve ever seen”). Concurrently, the school has announced continuing education programs in green architecture. Fall offerings include “Low Carbon Architecture,” “Sustainable Construction materials,” and “The Ecological City.”

New York real estate doesn’t lend itself much to gardening. Most of us are limited to the occasional windowsill or tar-papered roof. But if you dream of creating more lavish urban oases, sign up for a course in landscape design at the Columbia University School of Continuing Education. Fall course offerings include “History and Theory of Gardening and Landscape Design” and “Plant Materials: Woody Trees and Shrubs.”

Film & Video
Should your cinematic predilections tend away from realism and more toward blowing shit up, consider satisfying your inner auteur with a course in “Shooting Green Screen” at New York University’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies in Midtown. In this four-session class, students will learn to capture digital video images and then add in all the flying saucers and peckish dinosaurs.

For Children & Teens
If your precocious tot has already demanded organic apple juice and humanely raised chicken nuggets, you can entertain your budding locavore with the Dyckman Harvest at the Dyckman Farmhouse Museum on August 8. The Inwood farmhouse was built in 1784 and now plays host to numerous educational programs. At this event, kids will help harvest vegetables from the Kitchen Garden and receive seeds with which to grow their own.

Let’s say your youngster speaks in rather garbled tones and enjoys inventing unexpected delays for his train set. Clearly, he or she is destined for a career with the MTA. To begin that training early, the New York Transit Museum in downtown Brooklyn offers educational programs for kids ages three and up. Events include a virtual tour of Long Island’s Waterfront towns, building a model of the Manhattan Bridge, and “Be a fare collection agent for a day.”

Food & Drink
Perhaps you adore pizza, but are a bit embarrassed at how those cardboard cartons have piled up in your recycling bin. If so, consider the weekly classes at the Pizza a Casa: Pizza Self-Sufficiency Center. Held in a Lower East Side classroom-cum-storefront, this hands-on course balances “pizza facts with pizza fun,” rendering a homemade version of this treat as easy as mozzarella-di-bufala-topped pie.

For some, tasting wine is sufficiently theatrical—the sniffing, the swirling, the spitting. For the rest, there is the Noble Rot, a wine seminar that combines imbibing with live performance. Dubbed “a traveling saloon,” each event is held at a different city locale, and pairs tastings—at least five full glasses are promised—with theater and music, as well as tasty hors d’oeuvres. Events occur monthly and cost $50 and up.

If you already dose yourself with resveratrol and Coenzyme Q10 and have considered caloric restriction, you might consider courses in “Natural Healing and the Longevity Diet” and “Practical Cooking with the Longevity Diet,” both of which maintain that culinary skills can help you to live longer. If you compete the year-long curriculum at the Academy of Healing Nutrition, you’ll emerge as a Certified Holistic Health Counselor and Longevity Diet Coach.

Mind, Body & Spirit
Living in New York involves a fair bit of shoving, shouting, and risking loss of limb via subway doors. If you’re looking for a respite from all that urban anxiety, consider the weekly meditation classes at the Chakrasambara Buddhist Center. The Center sponsors evening courses in four boroughs, as well as Long Island and Westchester. For those desiring even more tranquility, retreats, day courses, and study programs are offered.

If you’d like to teach your downward dog some new tricks, consider instruction at Atmananda. Recently relocated to Gramercy Park, this yoga studio teaches its seven-level sequence in new leafy environs. In addition to Vinyasa classes and free community classes, the studio offers occasional workshops in nutrition, astrology, and meditation, as well as yoga retreats in more exotic and even more verdant locales.

The Wall Street Journal can be an excellent resource for those contemplating a flutter on the stock market, but is not typically recommended for those seeking a more metaphysical investment. But Trinity Church, located in the midst of the bulls and bears, runs a weekly class in which students read the editorial page of the Journal and The New York Times in conjunction with the gospels, encouraging ethical discussion and investigation.

Williamsburg is often typified as an artist’s playground, but the advent of the design center 3rdWard adds a lot more playthings. Its two locations boast four photo studios, a wood shop, a metal shop, a media lab, and more. If you’d like to put more geek in your chic, consider their computer offerings, including “Intro to Flash,” “After Effects,” and “Illustrator Intensive.”

Perhaps you think painting and sculpture are more or less dead, and performance art and installation art are so last century. If you’re an artist wanting to work in the most high-tech fashion, consider Pratt’s seminar in “Overview of Digital Creation and Digital Media.” This crash course in the intersection of fine arts and computer design combines classroom exploration with gallery tours.

During the recent World Cup tournament, North Korea became an unlikely fan favorite for Westerners. (Actual North Koreans weren’t able to travel to support their side.) If you’d like to talk football in their native tongue, consider instruction at the Korean Language Center of New York, which offers instruction in elementary, intermediate, and advanced forms. As it’s in the middle of Koreatown, you can reward your hard linguistic work with twice-fried chicken and bibimbap.

New Yorkers have an expressive gestural language, much of it obscene. But if you’re looking to improve that vocabulary, sign up for a Level 1 class in American Sign Language at the Sign Language Center, taught by a “ ‘native’ deaf individual.” Once you’ve progressed, the school offers advanced classes and specialty workshops, as well as courses for students and babies.

Currently, yarn is derived from goats, sheep, rabbits, llamas, alpacas, and probably a couple of other animals as well. If this menagerie has you a bit flummoxed about the simple sweater or scarf you planned, you can ask for help at The Woolgathering. This Upper East Side store stocks plentiful supplies and offers knitting, needlepoint, and crochet classes. Special instruction for kids and southpaws, too.

If you’ve dreamed of becoming an Etsy entrepreneur, but fear that your studio apartment won’t double as an artist’s studio, consider Williamsburg’s Spacecraft, which sells supplies for knitting, sewing, leatherworking, origami, woodcraft, and more. Even more significantly, it provides space and instruction for you to fulfill your crafty fantasies. Walk-in crafts include jewelry design, T-shirt decoration, and printing.

After years of wear and tear, doesn’t your beloved sofa or armchair deserve better than an Ikea slipcover? If you’d like to pamper your furnishings, consider a class in upholstery at Noho’s Furniture Joint. In this four-week class, offered year-round, students learn all about springs, foam coverings, and folding tight corners. Courses in drapery and interior design are also offered.

The Hudson River, cleaner than it’s been in years, teems with marine life, much of it delicious, such as American shad, striped bass, and white perch. If you’d like to learn how to reel in a potential meal, you can begin on summer weekends with Big City Fishing, which runs a catch-and-release class out of Manhattan’s Pier 46. (It’s free for kids; those 16 and over require a license.) The program supplies rods, reels, and instruction in fishing basics.

If we can scrub our minds of the image of Daniel Craig’s abs, glistening with seawater, some of us may recall the opening sequence of Casino Royale, set in a parking garage, in which Bond and his foe launch themselves at a variety of cement obstacles. That’s apparently a sport, known as parkour, and New York Parkour offers instruction. Each strenuous class, held on the Elevated Acre in Lower Manhattan, trains students in swinging through the concrete jungle.

Hurling oneself out of airplanes sounds suspiciously suicidal, but for those who consider high-speed descents a thrill, Skydive the Ranch, located near New Paltz, offers a skydiving training program, consisting of three tandem dives, a comprehensive jump course, and instruction in techniques such as free fall, heading awareness, altitude awareness, turns, and rolls. Why not take a fall?

Long, long ago—practically the dawn of time—humans had to navigate without the aid of a handy talking GPS. If you’ve longed to ask directions of the stars, consider a Celestial Sail, sponsored by the South Street Seaport Museum. Other education programs include lectures and turns detailing New York’s maritime history and present-day waterways.

The Staten Island Museum won’t give the Smithsonian or the Museum of Natural History much of a run for their money in ticket price (adults are just $2; kids under 12 are free), but its century-old galleries are home to more than two million artifacts including a preserved four-legged chicken. That interest in natural sciences extends to their sponsorship of a natural science/ecology club that offers monthly meetings and weekend walks in nearby William T. Davis Wildlife Refuge.<?p>

The Alice Austen House, a beautiful low-slung building on Staten Island with spectacular views of the Verrazano Bridge, is certainly photogenic. And the Beginner Adult Photography Workshop teaches students how to make the most of it. Inspired by the work of Austen herself, a Victorian shutterbug, this course acquaints students with the basics of digital photography. Cameras are supplied.

“The photograph itself doesn’t interest me,” said famed photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson. “I want only to capture a minute part of reality.” But if the photograph does interest you, you can arrange private lessons in picture taking at the Camera Club of New York. Individual instruction covers topics such as color printing, black-and-white printing, studio lighting, and digital photography. Group lessons and lectures are also available.

Time was, Orchard Street was not such a desirable address. But with the Lower East Side now so thoroughly gentrified, the Tenement Museum, housed in an 1863 apartment building, occupies some prime Manhattan real estate. Dedicated to the history of the immigrant experience, the museum also offers lectures and discussions about Lower Manhattan’s storied past. Fall talks include a history of Five Points, an atlas of New York, and the story of a disappearing judge.

If you hold with Socrates that the unexamined life is not worth living, get ready to live large with the 10-week introductory course at Philosophy Works on the Upper East Side. The class draws on ancient and contemporary philosophy, encouraging students to “gain access to inner happiness, wisdom, and strength.” (Modest course goals.) Weekly classes explore such questions as “What is Beauty?” and “Is there such a thing as Truth?”