10 Ways to Learn Something New in St. Louis

Burlesque might be just the skill to master this summer.
Burlesque might be just the skill to master this summer. CARRIE MEYER/INSOMNIAC, COURTESY OF VAN ELLA STUDIOS

Summer's extra-long days are perfect for learning something, whether it's dance, sewing or even how to survive the zombie apocalypse. Here are ten St. Louis options for anyone who'd like to acquire a new skill or brush up on an old one.

You Sexy Thing

Sure, you know how to take your clothes off (we hope). But there can be a lot more to it than just shucking your drawers! Van Ella Studios (vanellaproductions.com), the burlesque center owned by the incomparable Lola Van Ella, is offering a suite of classes starting June 5. Classes like "Thinking on Your Feet," "Cardio Tease" and "Cultivating a Character" will school you in the ancient and beguiling art of burlesque as the summer heats up.

Ballet for Adults

Do you find yourself thinking back on the halcyon days of your youth, when you were just a wee kid bellying up to the barre? You may have a mortgage and a receding hairline now, but those days don't need to be over. Consuming Kinetics Dance Company (www.ckdc.org) offers classes in ballet, hip-hop and even capoeira, specifically tailored for adults. If you're a serious dancer or just feel like getting your groove on, drop in and know that your fee is supporting the performance company.

Spot o' Tea, Good Sir?

The London Tea Room (3128 Morganford Road, 314- 241-6556) is more than just a place to slurp fragrant infusions, shop for ludicrously charming tea pots and overdo it on scones. Classes on-site cost as little as $15 and teach you about the social history of tea and the plant it comes from, how to make your own delicious scones (eating them, naturally, with perhaps a bit too much double Devon cream) and allow you to sample rare teas under the expert tutelage of their sommelier. Spending time with a sommelier automatically makes anyone cooler. See thelondontearoom.com/classes-events for this summer's offerings.

Get in a yoga state of mind. - COURTESY OF PRACTICING YOGA STUDIO
Get in a yoga state of mind.

Stretch Toward Serenity

They say it takes 30 days to build a habit and that rewards help people stick to plans. At Practicing Yoga Studio (www.practicingyogastudio.com), if you pull off 30 days in a row of class attendance throughout June, July or August, you'll be entered into a drawing for a free lifetime pass at the studio. That's a serious prize! Pull off the feat more than once and your name goes in the pot again. Monthly passes during the challenge are at a discounted rate of $100.

Don't Throw That Out!

We've all heard the three enivro-Rs: reduce, reuse, recycle. The middle one seems to cause the most trouble — a great idea, but how? At south city's Perennial (perennialstl.org/) you can take classes related to specific projects like rag rugs, canvas tote bags, stools and record crates. Maybe you have plenty of ideas, but power tools seem a little intimidating — never fear. Their "Tools 101" series walks you through using table saws, drills, sanders, planers and power saws. The second Sunday of every month is the community workshop, where you can use their hardware and hit up their experts for advice.

Quiet That Monkey Mind

The practice of meditation has been credited with all sorts of things. It's generally accepted to bring peace and calm by training the mind to slow down, stop the chatter and just be. But ... like ... how? It's perfectly simple! ... OK, maybe you'll need some help. Dharmatown (dharmatown.org) is an online clearinghouse for information on St. Louis sitting groups and resources for honing your mental focus. Connect with other seekers virtually and in the real world, and then disconnect mindfully.

What could be tastier than a mushroom you've personally foraged? - COURTESY OF MISSOURI MYCOLOGICAL SOCIETY
What could be tastier than a mushroom you've personally foraged?

'Shroom Out, Dude

That one dude in college was right — mushrooms are mind-expanding. And salad-expanding. (What did you think we meant?) The gloriously weird not-quite-plants grow in abundance in Missouri's forests, which is nice to consider when you see what they go for at the grocery store. The Missouri Mycological Society (www.momyco.org) hosts meetings and forays all over the state, offering members-only identification classes — and presumably closely-guarded foraging locales. Join the club or join a foray.

Be the Next Rei Kawakubo

Do you dream of beautiful garments, and then awake unable to sew on a button? Make this summer the beginning of something beautiful. City Sewing Room (www.citysewingroom.com) is a charming spot for beginners or old hands. Use their machines (during drop-in studio time) or select a class like sewing machine basics, patterns and fitting. The ladies also offer their services in making your dreams a reality. (And yes, they are ladies, but they note that fellas are more than welcome.) Call to set up a Sip N' Sew, a two-hour project they'll lead. Bring your own libations.

Divine What the Future Holds

Planning and setting goals are great and all, but wouldn't you just like to know what's next? Gain insight into your own future or pick up an intriguing party trick this summer from Little Fox Tarot (littlefoxtarot.com). Melissa Cynova, author of Kitchen Table Tarot, has been consulting the tarot since 1989, and this summer, she can teach you how to do it. She's holding Tarot 101 sessions Saturday, June 17 and Saturday, July 9, 4 p.m. at Cherokee Street's Fortune Teller Bar. Just $50 buys 2.5 hours of insight for the first ten takers — reserve your seat online.

Make Dead Things Deader

The tagline for Zombie Squad (www.zombiehunters.org), "We Make Dead Things Deader," seems like a pretty straightforward means to living your best life. The group's focus on zombie-attack preparedness in fact bleeds into general disaster prepping, so even if, somehow, zombies don't attack St. Louis, your work won't be in vain. The group does charity work in addition to prepping, and each summer hosts a members-only retreat known as Zombie Con. This year's con is in late June, so check out the website now to sign up.

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