As the saying goes, “You’re never too old to learn new things. For those yearning to shake the cobwebs off the daily routine, LA is the perfect city to find out-of-the-box classes that make spinning and knitting seem positively passé. Here’s just a small sampling of classes sure to supplement your skills while supercharging your smile.
Remember the days when keeping a ring of plastic whirling around your middle was the most fun a gal could have? The folks at Hoopnotica do and they’ve created a whimsical, retro routine combining the art of hula hoop and high energy dance moves that makes for a killer workout with the promise of laughter and pure kiddie fun. Whether you’re a total beginner or ready to spin it with the pros, there’s a class here for you. Whirl it on Venice Beach or for $10 more, opt for the Loews Hotel class and get a full day pass to the spa! BYOH (that’s ‘bring your own hoop’, natch) or rent one there for $5.
Urban Outdoor Skills
If you’re like most people in Los Angeles, the most you’ve done to prepare for ‘the big one’ is toss an extra gallon of water in your trunk. Good thing there’s a class that shows you how to survive the urban jungle in the most unthinkable circumstances. Instructor Pascal Baudar will not only lead you on a foraging excursion for edible plants but show you how to whip them into a gourmet meal on your homemade emergency stove or fire made from sticks or batteries. Combine that with learning to purify water, track food and make soap and you might just be inspired live off the grid. Just don’t forget to toast your newfound skills with some wild mugwart beer.
Most classes meet in Hansen Dam Park (Lake View Terrace), Hahamongna Watershed Park (La Canada Flintridge) or Argos Manor (Sylmar). Contact: Pascal@UrbanOutdoorSkills.com
Kinetic Theory Theater
For anyone who’s ever wanted to run away and join the circus, Kinetic Theory reminds us that it’s never too late. Thankfully for Los Angelenos, you don’t actually have to leave home to join in the fun. This “circus arts” center in Culver City voted by LA Weekly as “Best Place to Express Yourself” offers wacky classes for all ages, whether you’re looking to get in shape or seriously aspire to a circus career. It’s not cheap but classes are small and students rave about the instructors and intense workout. From mime and contortion to trapeze and acrobatics, classes promise not only a one of a kind creative outlet but the motivational skills to help you exceed in any part of life.
Anisa School of Dance
15252 Ventura Bvd.
Sherman Oaks, CA 91423
Collnette School of Dance
922 Huntington Dr.
San Marino, CA 91108
If the end credits to Slumdog Millionaire had you grooving in your seat, its time to heed the call of Bollywood. Hip hop, Salsa and ballroom dance classes are a dime a dozen in LA but thanks to California’s first Indian dance school and local authority on the art of Bollywood dancing, there’s a whole new way to shake your tail feather. Whether you’re a dancer looking for some new moves or just want to add a twist to your cardio routine, “So You Think You Can Dance” choreographer Nakul Dev Mahajan has designed programs for all levels, featuring group dances set to energetic Hindi songs and steeped in Indian folk history with a modern flair.
House of Intuition
What started as a cool card game 500 years ago in Italy has evolved into the most popular tool for psychic guidance in the West, helping spiritual seekers examine life influences and guide major decisions. For only 10 bucks for a 2 hour class, Naha at the House of Intuition in Echo Park will teach you Tarot symbology and help you understand what the cards have to say. Naha also gives readings, one of many metaphysical services offered at this unassuming mecca for all things spiritual, praised by devotees for its great vibe and cool staff. Whether your chakras need balancing, you’re overdue for an aura cleanse or you’ve always wanted to learn to meditate, this is the place for you. It’s also a fun place to shop, book-browse and enjoy a soothing cup of tea. Make sure you click on their ‘meetup’ tab to find the latest upcoming classes.
Cheviot Hills Recreation Center
If you find yourself quoting “Robin Hood: Men in Tights” by heart, it’s high time to indulge your inner archer. The Rancho Park Archery Range is one of the best-kept secrets on the Westside, offering FREE archery classes Saturdays at 11:00 AM and the second Sunday of the month at 1:30 PM. Don’t happen to travel with your own quiver? No problem – equipment rental is free too! Turns out a donation was made to the ‘84 Olympic games with the condition that the city would build a range and offer free beginner classes with the leftover cash. And so they did. Come a few minutes early as the 2 hour classes fill up fast.
Noelle Wright is a writer and perpetual student of random subjects in Los Angeles.