Out of many popular New Year resolutions LEARNING SOMETHING NEW is one of the easiest ones to keep. In fact, if you have not made this YOUR New Year resolution- you should! Set yourself to reclaim a long forgotten interest of yours- physical, spititual, artistic, – or pick up a new hobby. Enjoy a one time weekend seminar or make it a weekly affair. You don’t even have to leave your house to immerse yourself into any of the activities I describe below, but getting out there and joining similarly minded may be just what you need to get started. And if you happen to live near such cultural and educational gem like Boston- consider yourself super lucky and don’t wait a minute longer to register for a class.
Here are just a couple of ideas to get you started on your New Year learning adventure.
Ballerina I am not, but I love the self-expression (and physical benefits!) that come with dancing. Boston Ballet School’s adult open classes are offered at several levels- there are choices for complete beginners and former dancers. In the beginner class I took recently in the Newton Studio we were introduced to the basic arm and leg positions, performed simple exercises at the barre and finished with some moves and compositions in the center of the room. There is live piano accompaniment. You leave the class feeling as a ballerina if only for an hour (and your leg muscles remind you about it the next day).
Classes are offered at Boston Ballet School’s studios in Boston, Newton and Marblehead and are taught by the company’s instructors. Most classes are “pay as you go”, no pre-registration required. Here is a link to Boston Ballet’s website for full adult classes schedule and description.
LEARNING TO SEE. ADULT VISUAL ARTS CLASSES AT THE MFA.
What I like about adult art classes is that no matter what your skill level is- you get a chance to immerse yourself in an artistic activity for a couple of hours and learn something. At least this was my experience with beginner sculpture 4-hour weekend class at the MFA. I did get a little lost for a few minutes in the beginning of class, when instructor said “GO” and everyone else in the class looked like they knew what they were doing (sculpting the life female model!) – but the atmosphere (and, frankly, lack of other options) quickly caught up with me and for the next 4 hours all I was thinking about – (or rather NOT THINKING – as sculpting is highly therapeutical!-but SENSING and DOING!) was positioning my tools and hands to carve the figure from my block of clay.
I was so inspired that I took my husband to the “Learning to See” still life drawing workshop as (his) birthday present. Don’t expect too much interaction between the two of you as you concentrate on trying to capture the composition but I promise you that you will LEARN a lot and have a real still life work to bring home, even if you have never managed a straight line in your life.
MFA offers weekly and 1-day weekend workshops in drawing, pastel, watercolor, printmaking, photography, ring making, nature photography, sculpture, welding, glass sculpture, and other crafts. (Here is a link to class list and schedule).
BRUSH UP ON YOUR HIGH SCHOOL FRENCH (OR SPANISH)
I like to take a language class as part of my foreign trip preparation- to make the not so frequent experience even more special (aside from the practical reasons, of course). Whatever your reason, there are many reasonably priced options to do it. I enjoyed my Italian class at the Boston Center for Adult Education- but granted, not everyone can fit a downtown course into our schedules these days. More recently I took adult Spanish class offered by my town’s community education program and I recommend that you check out the options at your towns. You may need to supplement a class with renting a language course DVD from your local library too- a great option for those long commutes and the price tag (even with the late fees) will not break your bank account. (Here is a link to the website of Boston Center for Adult Education)
BEND YOUR BODY…AND SOUL
Whatever your level of spirituality, we all may benefit from learning a new relaxation technique or two. This year my quest for spiritual enlightening took me several times to Kripalu Center of Yoga and Health at the Berkshires (I shared one of my trips with you Here).
On my most recent trip, my mom and I studied a healing hand-laying “technique” of Reiki at a two-day seminar. We learned new things, met lots of interesting people, took walks to the lake, ate healthy food and yoga-danced (and what have YOU done with your mom lately?)
Kripalu offers day passes and two to five day seminars on a variety of subjects related to personal and spiritual growth and health (all coming with daily choice of yoga classes)- amidst beautiful Berkshires scenery.