Education Supplement: Education Listings


Theater and Performing Arts

With festivals, podcasts, slams, and the dauntless popularity of late nights at the local bar, storytelling has never been more popular. But if you’re too shy or anxious to live up to your potential as a polished raconteur, you can sign up for group or individual lessons via the Story Studio, which holds workshops at various locations in midtown. From one-day classes to nine-week sessions, instructors will “help you turn the most meaningful events of your life into unforgettable narratives.”

To dance like nobody’s watching is all well and good. But if you really want to improve your skills in a particular discipline or learn composition and choreography, you should get yourself somewhere highly visible with experienced instructors and plenty of mirrors. Happily, Columbia University’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies, via Barnard College, offers classes in myriad varieties of dance (ballet, modern, flamenco, etc.), as well as biomechanics and kinesiology.


A Manhattan winter has plenty of dark and stormy nights. Days, too. Why not fill them with a little literary bloodshed? The Writing Center at Hunter College offers two courses designed to bring a bit of mayhem to these dismal months. In “Murder You’ll Write,” you’ll find out how to craft your own mystery while learning about police procedures and other technical matters; in “Mystery Fan’s Book Club,” you’ll derive inspiration by reading and discussing the classics of the genre.


Picture this: Pratt Institute’s Center for Continuing and Professional Studies wants you to learn the art of illustration. In a basic class, “Introduction to Illustration: The Illustration Portfolio,” students will learn how to tell stories pictorially, using “metaphor, allegory, and narrative” and drawing on-site at the Society of Illustrators. Then they can learn what they’ve applied in more advanced offerings including “Botanical Illustration,” “Comic Book Illustration,” and “Illustrated Science Fiction Book Project.”

Plato thought that one person could not practice many arts with success. But really, what did fundamental Greek philosophers know? Maybe he would have been an ace sculptor, too. LaGuardia Community College in Long Island City, one of the nation’s premier two-year institutions, offers a variety of arts instruction. You can pile up a schedule with Beginning Drawing, Beginning Photography, and Beginning Painting, which will focus on landscapes, still lifes, and abstract compositions.

For Children and Teens

The next time your tweens pressure you for new clothes, why not suggest they make their own? Taking a slower approach to fast style, “Fashion Design and Sewing” at The Fashion Class on the Upper West Side offers an 11-session winter course designed to teach your kids to make a handbag, skirt, dress, or pants and adorn them using bedazzlers, fabric paint, and trim. The course culminates in a fashion show during which students model their wares.

If your child won’t stop singing the choruses from A Chorus Line or illustrates every mood swing with a song from Les Misérables, maybe it’s time to channel these tuneful energies with a “Triple Threat Musical Theatre Class” at A Class Act NY, conveniently located just a few blocks from the Broadway theaters. Kids study song-and-dance routines with Broadway actors then showcase their work to family, friends, and agents.


It might seem like a lot to spend $375 for eight nights at the movies, even presupposing giant tubs of popcorn with extra butter, but the “Filmmaker’s Dialogue” symposium at the School of Visual Arts is well worth the price of admission. Every week, guests such as Paul Schrader, Michael Apted, and Barry Levinson come to preview their new films and then engage in dialogue with enrollees. Actors, writers, and producers also attend to answer student queries.

“A director makes only one movie in his life. Then he breaks it up and makes it again,” said Jean Renoir. Still, that’s no reason not to get started on your own limited oeuvre. And you can do it with the assistance of New York City College of Technology, in collaboration with the Brooklyn Young Filmmakers Collective. They’ll offer a six-week course, plus a weekend shoot, in which you’ll write, produce, and film a short movie with help from the Fort Greene community.

Food and Drink

Cooking schools often devote themselves to teaching you to prepare the most decadent comestibles. But Haven’s Kitchen in the Flatiron district wants you to begin 2013 with optimum nutrition. To that end, it’s offering “New Year, New You,” a four-week class with instruction in cleanses, superfoods, healthy eating, and the like. If that sounds far too virtuous, you could opt for “Pies!” “Boozy Brunch,” “Confit Like a Pro,” or “Beef Bourguignon and the Wines of Burgundy.”

Who wouldn’t like to escape New York’s gloom, slush, and suspicious yellow snow by jetting off to Italy to linger in trattorias over antipasti and glasses of Sangiovese? But if you can’t spare the vacation time, you can compensate with classes at Rustico Cooking near Bryant Park. Seasonal offerings include “Winter in Milan,” “Evening in Rome,” “Winter Feast in Northern Italy,” “Evening in Southern Italy,” and “Magical Calabria.” Each class concludes with a multi-course meal with wine pairings.


Decadent though it seems, there is something at least a little peculiar about allowing a stranger to stroke and oil your naked self. So if you’d rather let a loved one poke, prod, and pummel you, the New York Day Spa in midtown is here to help, offering massage lessons for couples, in which a trained masseur or masseuse will teach you “healing touch in a hands-on lesson.” This might be the rare class in which the homework proves to be the best part.

Who doesn’t love that airy feeling of calm and serenity after a particularly engaging yoga class? And who doesn’t long to celebrate it with vodka on the rocks? Happily, you can enjoy both spiritual and alcoholic transcendence at Bushwick’s Cobra Club, a bar that also offers yoga classes, two or three each day of the week, including Baby + Me. (Babies love bars.) One popular option: Hangover Yoga, which concludes with a free Bloody Mary or mimosa.


One of the joys of the Internet is the relative freedom it offers (well, provided you don’t log on in China). But with freedom comes responsibility, and Fordham School of Continuing and Professional Studies new media program wants to make sure its students surf, click, and program ethically. In addition to courses in online video, audio, marketing, and writing, Fordham offers instruction in such topics as “Digital Media and Public Responsibility” and “Cyberspace: Issues and Ethics.”

Harvestworks launched all the way back in 1977 as a nonprofit designed to help artists integrate technology into their work. (Did they even have technology in 1977?) But Harvestworks has kept up with the times, and in addition to commissions and residencies, its Soho space boasts numerous educational opportunities, including instruction in digital audio and digital video, as well as a low-residency MFA in Fine Art and New Media, plus occasional workshops.


Ah, France. The food, the architecture, the fashion, the snobbery, the occasionally appalling rudeness. If your French doesn’t extend to insults and you would like to comment on a Frenchman’s height, hauteur, or odor in his native tongue, consider workshops in French slang at the French Institute: Alliance Française. In February and March, you can devote a Friday evening to speaking cheekily as a native. Will a further workshop, “Idiomatic Expressions,” also cover rude hand gestures?

International immigrants make up 40 percent of New York’s population—and those are just the ones who consent to respond to surveys. That means many of us are non-native speakers, and truthfully even some of us who are U.S.-born and raised could use linguistic improvement. Happily, the NYU School of Continuing and Professional Education sponsors the American Language Institute to offer a thorough grounding in Gotham’s lingua franca, including intensives and evening and weekend courses.


Sure, you could embroider the truth, but wouldn’t you be much happier with a beautifully detailed pillow, sampler, or blouse? In January, the Textile Arts Center in Gowanus offers a four-session embroidery class, designed to help students create “lines and textures on cloth,” including “instruction on appliqué and image-transferring techniques.” Students can bring in an heirloom or begin work on a new piece.

These days, most of us communicate via text, e-mail, and tweet. Even a phone call can seem charmingly retro. But the people at Dieu Donné Papermill in midtown still have a hankering for good old-fashioned wood pulp, and they hope you do, too. In January, they will offer “Introduction to Contemporary Papermaking,” plus “Pulp Painting, Stenciling, and Pigmenting” for more experienced paper craftspeople.


Just because the New York City Marathon didn’t trot its way through the five boroughs this year doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start preparing for the next one. If 26.2 miles seems like a lot, you can sign up for 10-week sessions with the New York City Road Runners. Their classes, held in Central Park, are pitched to eight different levels, and alternate speed training, intervals, and tempo runs. The Road Runners also offer deep-water running and yoga for runners.

Foodies will often trek to Queens just for the quiescently frozen treats at the Lemon Ice King of Corona. But at the nearby World Ice Arena in Flushing, there’s even more chilly excitement on offer. Located in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, once the site of the World’s Fair, the arena offers public skating and hockey as well as figure skating school for both children and adults. Children as young as four and grown-ups who like bedazzled costumes can perfect their spins, axels, and lutzes.


In the winter months, you won’t get far trying to get basil or rosemary to flourish on your frigid fire escapes or frosty windowsills. Luckily, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden is offering instruction on “Growing Herbs Indoors” with an emphasis on “fresh, flavorful ingredients.” And if you grow some particularly amorous aromatics, you can learn how to prepare them in a class—held just before Valentine’s Day—on “Herbal Aphrodisiacs,” from damiana to kava kava to roses.


There once was a time when we had to live with red eyes, weird cowlicks, and the annoyances of some background figure photobombing a perfectly lovely vacation snap. But editing tools have put an end to all these infelicities. To learn how to best employ them, the NYC Digital Garage in Chelsea offers the four-session January course “Photoshop: It’s All About the Image.” Students will learn color correction, enhancement, flexibility of images, and automated features.

The acerbic author H.L. Mencken might have called New York a third-rate Babylon, but our sybaritic city provides a first-rate site for aspiring shutterbugs. New York City Photo Safari knows this, as each of its classes visits a particularly photogenic locale. Winter offerings include “Madison Square Park,” “City Hall and Environs,” and “Museum Inside and Out” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. And what about those hanging gardens?


When it comes to clothing, men have it easy. While women have to agonize among skirts, pants, dresses, and the occasional jumpsuit (rarely a good idea), men can throw on a jacket and a tie and instantly appear presentable. So unfair! But if you’d still like to give chaps a further trouser leg up, you can enroll in the Fashion Institute of Technology‘s menswear offerings, such as Sewing, Tailoring I, and Tailoring II.


At the Museum of Sex, you can see naughty postcards, chastity belts, blow-up dolls, and some off-color Simpsons cartoons. But if this display doesn’t make you feel sufficiently informed about human sexuality, you can also sign up for classes held in the museum’s Oral Fix Bar. In January, sex educator and burlesque performer Ducky Doolittle will offer “Pop His Rocket” (a blowjob class) and “Girl ‘Gasm,” which will “demystify the female body.”