Class Action Listings


Theater & Performing Arts
Chicago City Limits, a company located near Manhattan’s Theater District, boasts a continuous run of more than 8,500 improv-comedy shows—and its members occasionally break from the hilarity to transmit their skills to others. The tentative can try out a one-day course, while those eager to extemporize extensively can sign up for eight-week sessions. The group also offers select classes in musical improv, helping you to ad-lib more tunefully.

There is a movement afoot to make pole dancing an Olympic sport. In the meantime, would-be Olympians can hone their skills at SHOCKra Studio in the East 20s, which offers weekly pole-dancing classes. Those looking for a more demure way to pay homage to Terpsichore can enroll in the studio’s offerings in ballet, hip-hop, salsa, flamenco, belly dancing, or the very unusual “yoga pole.”

No one knows exactly when fashion began—maybe a chic cavewoman draped her tiger skin just so or did wonders with a mammoth hide. But in recent decades, new trends have cropped up with astonishing speed. Perhaps a class in “Modern Fashion History” at the New York School of Design (conveniently located in the Fashion District) can help you keep miniskirts, maxi-skirts, pantsuits, skirt suits, jumpsuits, car coats, overcoats, and sports coats straight.

If you’re like many a self-employed New Yorker, you spend all day in your pajamas. But you could feel more cheerful about that outfit if you made it yourself. At “Learn to Sew Like a Pro,” sponsored by the Fashion Institute of Technology, students will “learn how to sew and produce correctly finished, professional-looking pieces.” Your first piece: a stylish pajama-style bottom—long, cropped, or capri.

Drop and give me 20 short stories! Every summer, the New School runs a kind of writers’ boot camp, an intensive three-week program designed to whip your literary skills into shape. In addition to attending regular workshops and salon events, students will also attempt experimental writing, children’s writing, and walking poems. Visiting teachers include such luminaries as Darin Strauss, Jonathan Dee, and Nicole Krauss.

“The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say,” observed Anaïs Nin, “but what we are unable to say.” The International Women’s Writing Guild was founded in 1976 to aid women in that process, creating a community for mutual support and empowerment. On April 16, the Guild will offer a workshop at National Arts Club in Gramercy Park entitled “Memoir and Metaphor: Illuminating Your Life Through Writing.”

“A drawing,” said Paul Klee, “is simply a line going for a walk.” Why not take that line for a more proficient stroll with a course in drawing at the Pratt Institute? “Drawing I” assists students in visualization and delineation. More advanced courses explore particular studies and processes, all designed to “nurture the development and articulation of individual constructs and personal expression.” Life drawing, anatomical drawing, and illustration are also offered.

For Children & Teens
Much parenting seems to consist of keeping children away from sharp objects, but maybe you’re longing to push your offspring toward some. If so, your kids can get en garde with fencing lessons at Empire United Fencing in Chelsea. With a Saturday youth foil league and weekly day camps, there are many ways to get weapons into their tiny hands. If this isn’t scary enough, the center also hosts birthday parties.

Some scientists believe there will come a time when robots will acquire self-consciousness and rise against their overlords. While we humans still have the upper hand, you can encourage early mastery over technology with kids’ classes at Robofun in the Flatiron District, in which they can prepare to build their own mini-automata. Upcoming courses include “Robotics,” “Game Design,” and “Pre-Robotics” for the littlest engineers, as well as a weekly summer camp beginning June 13.

Food & Drink
Kale frequently tops lists of superfoods—it’s a mighty antioxidant and possibly an anti-inflammatory. Lately, it has also been the inspiration for one of Brooklyn’s newest culinary schools. Park Slope’s Purple Kale Kitchenworks is designed for the urban home cook who operates “creatively and frugally, and often in challenging spaces.” Workshops include “Especially for Parents,” “The Vegetarian Pantry,” and the signature “(Mise en) Place to Plate: Professional Methods for Meals at Home.”

If you have grape expectations—and ample discretionary income—consider a workshop at Williamsburg’s Brooklyn Winery, which will result in a barrel of your very own vintage. Though Brooklyn doesn’t have much in the way of terroir, the company imports grapes and takes students through every step of the wine-making process, from “Barrel Planning” to “Create Your Own Wine Labels.”

Health, Body & Wellness
A meticulously planned community doesn’t necessarily seem like the most relaxing environment, but the builders of Battery Park City thought otherwise. When revitalizing the area in 1962, they declared that 30 percent of the space should serve as playgrounds, gardens, and parks. To make things even more restful, the Battery City Park Conservancy hosts various classes designed to calm local residents. Spring offerings include nine-session series of “Prenatal and Parent” and “Baby Yoga.”

If your crystal ball reveals Futura instead of the future, it may be time to admit that you’re cut out for a career in digital or graphic design. You can tap the font of knowledge at Parsons the New School for Design. Late-spring offerings include an introduction to Dreamweaver basics, “Poster Design,” and “Graphic Design Portfolio.” You’re sure to have a Helvetica of a time.

“There are no rules for good photographs,” said Ansel Adams. “There are only good photographs.” That suggests that photography might prove an unusually difficult course to teach, but Columbia University will make several attempts in its summer session. For beginning shutterbugs, a basic class will acquaint students with “camera operations and black-and-white darkroom work, 8×10 print production, and critiques of student work.” More advanced snappers can enjoy a critique class augmented with darkroom demonstrations and readings.

English is one of more than 800 languages spoken in New York—so perhaps you’d like to improve yours. Queens College’s English Language Institute, the second oldest such school in the United States, specializes in teaching English as a second language. The short summer session offers classes emphasizing “listening, speaking, pronunciation, reading, writing and grammar,” and ensuring that students can function in professional, academic, and social settings.

Language learning can sometimes be rather dreary, but the Upper East Side branch of the Alliance Française has a cure for such instructional malaise. In addition to the usual round of beginner, intermediate, and advanced courses, they also offer thematic courses (topics include literature, art, history, and film), cultural workshops (photography and wine tasting), and an immersion week in Martinique. The tropical sun ought to make even verb conjugations très magnifique.

Has something been needling you? Would you rather needle something? Perhaps La Casita, a yarn shop and café in Carroll Gardens, can be of some assistance. In addition to purveying many varieties of wool and hosting baby showers and bachelorette parties (the café does serve wine and sake, so perhaps this is wilder than it sounds), La Casita offers an array of classes and workshops, ranging from $40 to $75 and including “Beginning Knitting,” “Beginning Crochet,” and project and technique classes.

Reflex Blue, Dutch Fireball, and Ivy Mint may sound like names of outré indie bands, but they’re just some of the ink colors boasted by The Arm NYC, a letterpress printing studio in Williamsburg. In addition to renting time on Vandercook presses and C&P Pilots, the studio also offers one-day workshops designed to teach students all they need to know to make their own “cards, flyers, posters, coasters, and hang tags.”

You know how people say something is just like riding a bike? Well, that probably doesn’t mean a lot to you if you have never learned how. Happily, Bike New York offers free beginner courses for adults and children taught by members of the League of American Bicyclists, at locations throughout the five boroughs. Savvier cyclists can take “Bike Commuting 101” and “Bike Maintenance 101.”

Wing Tzun Kung Fu is likely the only martial arts form created by an 18th-century nun. Instruction in Wing Tzun, such as that taught at the Upper East Side’s Emin Boztepe Martial Arts System, helps students to “Go Forward!,” “Stick to the Opponent!,” “Give Way to Greater Strength!, “Follow Through and Fill the Gaps!” and generally kick ass.

You wouldn’t be wrong for thinking the New York Botanical Garden a rather sedate place, with its immaculately trimmed hedges and herbaceous borders. But plants and their cultivation apparently have quite a wild side. Among the Bronx institution’s spring adult education offerings is “Psychoactive Plants: From Stimulants to Hallucinogens.” Topics of the four-session course include opium, coca, kava, yoco, as well as slightly less controversial substances such as coffee and tobacco.

If you look like a raccoon after you apply mascara, it may be time for a course in makeup application. Most department store counters can talk you through the basics, but for a more intense tutorial, you can enroll in private classes at Chelsea’s Makeup Shop. Offerings include “The Basic Face,” “Flawless Foundations,” and “The Pin-Up Girl: Exploring Classic Glamour.”

This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on April 6, 2011

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