Continuing Education 2012

Continuing studies in NYC—from computer courses, cooking classes and language lessons to photography classes and yoga instruction.

Illustration: Joe Paul


Learn to shake it Indian-style at Bollywood Axion Dance Studio (257 W 39th St between Seventh and Eighth Aves; 646-373-2555,, one of the most established centers in the city for the culture-crossing genre—hour-long evening classes for all levels start every month. Bollywood Bax (from $160 for a ten-hour package) is an exuberant mix of bouncy bhangra, classical Indian dance and Western moves, taught so that even beginners can learn complete routines and have the chance to perform. Founder Pooja Narang, a dancer and choreographer who’s coached for So You Think You Can Dance, says the arm and leg moves make it a great workout, “but it’s so much fun you forget it’s hard.”

For a twist on the theme, Bollywood Funk NYC (locations in Chelsea and midtown; see website for details;, 212-502-7997) teaches a unique fusion of funk, jazz and hip-hop moves with Indian beats. In the three-week Bollywood Funk Basic Beginner workshop (Aug 4–29, Sept 5–26, Sept 29–Oct 24; from $85 for a five-class package), you start with a warm-up and move into learning an entire routine.

The salsa craze is still smoking hot. Dance Times Square Latin & Ballroom Studio (156 W 44th St between Sixth and Seventh Aves, third floor; 212-994-9500, was founded by world-champion ballroom dancers and Broadway choreographers Tony Meredith and Melanie LaPatin. Yesid Lopez, also a choreographer, teaches Beginners Salsa (On 2), a New York style named for its two-count beat (Tue 7–7:50pm; one class $20, four classes $60, ten classes $150, one month unlimited classes in any style $330). Sessions are ongoing and drop-ins are encouraged. You’ll learn basic footwork and position, leading and following techniques, and the etiquette of social salsa dancing.

A three-time ballroom champion and longtime leader of the NYC ballroom scene, Sandra Cameron combines American and international style into a fluid form that’s beautiful to watch. At her eponymous dance center (439 Lafayette St between Astor Pl and E 4th St, second floor; 212-431-1825,, beginner classes average about 16 people—big enough to change partners, small enough to get individual attention. When you sign up for an intro to the Basic Six—the classic ballroom styles fox-trot, waltz, rumba, cha-cha, tango and swing (Wed 8:30pm, Sat 1pm; four weeks $80)—you get two classes a week, one of which Cameron teaches, and can also join free Wednesday-night practice sessions. “There’s only one way to learn how to dance, and that’s by dancing,” says business manager (and Cameron’s husband) Larry Schultz.—Jana Martin

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Gadget-obsessed geeks and wanna-be inventors should check out the slate of continuing ed electronics classes at 3rd Ward (195 Morgan Ave between Meadow and Stagg Sts, Williamsburg, Brooklyn; 718-715-4961,, which includes Intro to Circuits & Electronics (Sun 10am–1pm Aug 12–Sept 16, or Mon 12:30–3.30pm Aug 13–Sept 17; five weeks members $200, nonmembers $250, plus $100 materials fee). You’ll learn basic principles like Ohm’s law (voltage equals current times resistance), the function of resistors and capacitators, transistors and diodes, and how to incorporate motors, switches, optical sensors and LEDs.

DIY technology buffs love Arduino, an “open-source electronics prototyping platform.” The blueprint for this Italian minicomputer is freely available online, so you can adapt it and use it to create all kinds of interactive devices. The microcontroller forms the basis for 3rd Ward’s Robotic Arm class (Thu 7–10pm; two weeks members $300, nonmembers $375, plus $180 materials fee; Aug 23, 30), taught by engineering consultant Dustyn Roberts, who also teaches at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts Interactive Telecommunications Program. Roberts supplies students with a custom kit of off-the-shelf parts (aluminum tubes, brackets and servo motors), based on a robotic arm she created in her lab for research and education purposes. “The idea is that it’s not that hard to go from nothing—no programming or engineering experience—to having a moving robot in front of you in a few hours,” she explains. The first session will largely be spent building the arm, getting the wires and motors plugged into the right places, and soldering it together. In the second, students will program it to draw lines and circles—and possibly for other uses.

In Designing Musical Interfaces, a two-session class at Harvestworks (596 Broadway at Houston St; 212-431-1130, at the end of August or beginning of September (check website for dates and price), Arduino provides an alternative to the standard computer-keyboard model when combined with popular music-production software Ableton Live, to create a new-tech “instrument” with sensors that are used to produce sound. “The class is ideal for a musician who is frustrated with just playing with a computer, or anyone interested in creating interfaces,” says audio engineer Andrew Sigler, who will coteach the class with Nicole Carroll, an electroacoustic composer who uses hacked hardware in performances.—Lisa Ritchie

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Explore the symbiotic relationship between two disciplines in “Art and Fashion at the Metropolitan Museum, from NYU-SCPS (212-998-7200,; Fri 5:30–7:30pm; five weeks $290 including museum fees; Sept 28–Oct 26). Held at the Met, each class focuses on a different time period or geographical area, and looks at works in many mediums, as well as clothing and textiles in the collection. Instructor Karla DeVries discusses styles of dress and adornment from ancient and modern times, as well as culture and art history.

Sported by Princess Beatrice and Dita Von Teese, the petite headpiece known as a fascinator is in vogue. Learn to make a feather version at Artikal Millinery Studio in the East Village (510 E 12th St between Aves A and B; 212-260-0278,; Sept 19 6:30–9:30pm; $60 including materials). “The feather fascinator is the easiest, as it requires very little hand sewing,” explains studio founder and millinery designer Holly Slayton. No prior millinery skills are necessary, and materials (feathers, elastic, combs and millinery backing) are supplied. Students can bring in a piece of jewelry, such as a brooch, to add a decorative touch.

By the end of Make Workshop’s “Fashion Lab: Learn to Sew” series (195 Chrystie St between Rivington and Stanton Sts; 212-533-9995,; Wed 6:30–8:30pm Sept 12–Oct 24 or Mon 6:30–8:30pm Oct 1–Nov 12; seven sessions $500 plus supplies), you’ll have created not one, but three stylish pieces: a simple tie bag, a skirt and a dress, all from founder Diana Rupp’s book Sew Everything Workshop. Over seven weeks, Rupp gives you a complete introduction to fashion sewing. “A lot of schools hire students to teach basics,” she says. “Not here.” The course is popular with men as well as women (“Men can e-mail me if they’d rather not make a dress and we’ll figure something out,” says Rupp).

Discover how stylists sleuth out amazing vintage in Fashion Institute of Technology’s “Star Quality Vintage Shopping” (Seventh Ave at 27th St; 212-217-7999,; $110 plus expenses). The class consists of a lecture and fieldwork on two successive Saturdays (check the website for fall dates). Professional stylist and shop owner Emma Sosa reveals the best vintage and thrift shops and how to evaluate the goods. You’ll strengthen your critical eye and sharpen your hunting instinct, then wrap up in a coffee bar with a show-and-tell. The class is limited to 16 people and there’s no same-day registration, so sign up early.

Another continuing ed course at FIT that taps into the zeitgeist is Pet Apparel Fashion and Design (three four-hour sessions $280; check the website for fall dates), offered as part of FIT’s Pet Product Design and Marketing program. Team-taught by a pet-product executive and senior designer, this hands-on workshop covers body forms and functional needs, seasonal fabrics, wearability and safety, creating garments—whether casual tees or couture ensembles—from sketches, and how to succeed in this rapidly growing market.—Jana Martin

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