You say you want a resolution? Well, forget it. This year, we’re not quitting anything, cutting back on anything or trying to lose 15 of anything. Instead, we’re all about new acquisitions, baby. Drown out 2014’s broken promises with 2015’s new habits and skills.
Going, Going, Green!
Sweet Woodland Farm
45 Old Squires Rd, Hampton Bays
Being ecologically conscious and “green” is no longer just for trustafarians—it’s a survival imperative. But for those New Yorkers who need a road map on their return to nature, Sweet Woodland Farm in Hampton Bays offers help.
The farm is currently occupied by Rachel and Mike Stephens, their children Ben and Rayna, and also 12 chickens, 10 quail, 7 ducks, 4 guineafowls, 4 cats, 2 gerbils, a rabbit, a gecko, a frog and a beta fish. (Population numbers subject to change without notice.)
The family is always involved in some kind of homesteading occupation—spinning yarn, beekeeping, animal husbandry, growing organic foods—and they teach their skills to community members who’d like to emulate a piece of their lifestyle. Offerings include four levels of knitting (Getting Started, Scarf, Cowl and Hat), sewing, organic vegetable gardening, raising chickens and canning. They also run a summer farm stand where visitors can buy handcarved wooden items, fresh breads, herbs, vegetables, chicks and even the fertilized eggs of French Guinea Fowl and Northern Bobwhite Quail.
Dance: Shake What Mama Gave You
Learning to dance is one of those ideas that tends to live on the back burner. We always plan to do it, but it never seems like exactly the right time. Given the supply of first-rate dance studios on the Island, however, there’s really no excuse to continue living life with two left feet.
60 Calvert Ave, Commack
Frank Ohman danced as a soloist with the San Francisco and New York ballets for 22 years before opening his school in 1979. His teaching system is non-competitive and isn’t recital-based, which equates to a relaxed atmosphere for beginners and others not set on some day playing Odette in Swan Lake. Masters classes are available as are intro classes and beginners’ pointe.
Ballet Long Island
1863 Pond Rd, Ronkonkoma
Despite the specificity of the name, Ballet Long Island actually provides a varied menu of movement classes for all ages. Among the courses offered are hip-hop, jazz, kick line (which sounds like a blast), lyrical, tap and more. They also off er a daddy/daughter dance evening for fathers looking to carve out quality time.
Shimmy Shimmy Dance Studio
3316 Route 112, Suite E, Medford
At the opposite end of the daddy/daughter spectrum is the Shimmy Shimmy Dance Studio where classes include “Burlesque Chair” and “Aerial Hammock Fitness.” Pole and belly dancing classes are also available, but don’t get the wrong idea: While the lessons certainly have applications in the boudoir, the focus here is firmly on fun and fitness.
Music: Play it loud
“One good thing about music/ when it hits you, you feel no pain.” Or so Bob Marley sang. But we’re willing to bet even Marley found the learning process a bit of a grind at the outset, which is why so many of us put off music lessons year after year. Luckily, Long Island is home to a great many music teachers who specialize in teaching reticent rockers and procrastinating pianists. Your journey to musical fluency starts here.
Family Melody Center
77 South Ocean Ave, Patchogue
Specializing in one-to-one instruction in their homey, Patchogue location, the Family Melody Center has been spreading the love of music since 1956! The shop rents a wide range of instruments and also offers their signature Rock Shop, which is always well-stocked with axes, drums, keyboards and amp stacks in case you need your own Wall of Sound.
Great Neck Music
625 Middle Neck Rd, Great Neck
The GNMC is something of a one-stop shop for all that musical ability we always meant to cultivate. They cover the basics, of course—Song Writing and Composition, Guitar, Basic Musicianship, Ear Training, Music Theory—but they also have an extended calendar of off -beat offerings that piqued our curiosity: Drum Circle anyone? How about Opera, Musical Theater or Intro to Ventriloquism?
The Music Institute of Long Island
90 Plandome Rd, Manhasset
The Music Institute has been instructing musicians from ages 3 to 103 for almost a quarter century. (We imagine if you’re 104, they’ll probably let you in anyway.) Their expertise extends to just about anything with keys, strings or reeds, and they offer both group and individual lessons.
The Art League of Long Island
107 East Deer Park Rd, Dix Hills
(631) 462-5011, artleagueli.net
While we at Pulse love the arts all year-round, we’re feeling very fond of practical pottery for the new year. There’s something about sinking your hands into an earthy mass and coaxing forth a three-dimensional object that’s making us all warm and fuzzy. The Art League of Long Island offers all kinds of courses from welding and calligraphy to color mixing and graffiti, and their pottery offerings are equally diverse.
They teach beginner and intermediate clay workshops, ceramics courses at several levels as well as sculpture, wheelwork, clay handbuilding and even classes for partners. They also have lectures like Bill van Gilder’s “The Functional Pot: Tips, Tools & Techniques.” In this demonstration van Gilder, a potter for 40 years, deconstructs the functional form and shares his vast experience.
Other places to pot locally:
Artrageous Studio, 5 North Village Ave, Rockville Centre, artrageousrvc.com
Earth Arts, 162 West Park Ave, Long Beach, earthartslb.com
Earth ’n Vessel, 67 West Main St, Bay Shore, earthnvessel.com
Gather Studio, 85 East Main St, Patchogue, gatherstudio.blogspot.com
Haven Art Studio, 29 Haven Ave, Port Washington, havenartstudiony.com
Say What? Language!
Vai jus runaijat Latviski? Kâpêc ne? That’s how you say “Do you speak Latvian? Why not?” in Latvian. In case you’ve been meaning to learn Latvian or another new tongue, here are several ways to get multilingual.
Listen and Learn
Their locations in Babylon, Oyster Bay and Islip employ native speakers to teach individuals and small groups in nearly 50 different tongues from Afrikaans to Zulu.
Great Neck Music Conservatory
625 Middle Neck Rd, Great Neck
Remember these guys from the music section? They also teach Yiddish and invite you to “kumt khapn a shmues.” (Come have a chat.)
Sign Language for Adults
501 South Broadway, Hicksville
American Sign Language is recognized by New York State as a foreign language and these classes, arranged by Mill Neck Services for Deaf Adults and taught at the Interpreter Services Building in Hicksville, cover the beginner and intermediate levels.
Kerry Travaglione contributed to this story.