Natalie Woolman leads you through the myriad of possibilities for part time further education, starting with dance classes for every possible taste
Hula-hooping, burlesque and aerial acrobatics are all withinreach of your twinkle toes this autumn if you have the urge. The phenomenal success of the Strictly Come Dancing and recent Hollywood offerings including Shall We Dance? and Step Up seems to have transformed us into a nation of dance lovers. Over 2500 students pass through the doors of Dance Base in Edinburgh every week and Glasgow’s Dance House has just announced a new space for the autumn session: it seems that we are surfing the cultural equivalent of a tidal wave, bandying tap shoes, cha cha heels and ballet pumps.
The plethora of dance courses available in Edinburgh and Glasgow can be daunting for a total beginner so we have picked some highlights. After all, with health benefits including increased stamina, flexibility and weight loss, who would pass up the chance to become a Pavlova or a Swayze?
Dance Base in Edinburgh offer every type of dance class you can probably imagine, plus a few more. The 130 weekly classes, ranging from ballet to breakdance and bellydancing, are pitched at five levels. These levels, which span beginners to professionals, are highlighted in the brochure to ensure you don’t find yourself in with Rambert understudies. Students are advised to book classes on the first booking day – Saturday 6 September – for the best chance of getting places on oversubscribed courses. There are also drop-in classes if you want a taster of a new style before you commit to a term’s worth of classes.
In Glasgow Dance House, which holds courses in locations across the city centre, is launching a variety of new classes in time for Autumn in its biggest programme yet. These include Ballroom Basics, Bollywood and Shiatsu Bodywork. Advanced booking is required for many of these classes, although there are a number you can drop into and pay on the day. For partners, friends and children of the couch potato variety, Dance House has Love Dance gift vouchers to draw reticent dancers into the limelight.
For those with an eye on becoming involved in professional dance, Anniesland College in Glasgow and Telford College in Edinburgh offer various qualifications up to HND and BA standard. The courses at Telford revolve around a core of ballet, jazz and contemporary dance training, with speciality units depending on your course. The faculty at Anniesland mix academic study and practical dance skills with students also getting to grips with choreography.
The Edinburgh Tango School holds classes five nights a week for neat feet. Novices are encouraged to go to the free trial class, held every Sunday evening at the Counting House, after which they can sign up for a regular class. The School also organises visits from Argentinian and European professional tango dancers several times a year.
Cuban Salsa classes start at the Ashanti Dance Studio in Glasgow in mid September. For ladies who covet Dita von Teese, a burlesque class is starting in October and a pole-dancing course will get heads spinning from November. (Natalie Woolman)
Sian Bevan is schooled in the fine art of stand-up comedy and is ready to explain all to you. Come hear her punchline
Adult education is so much more than learning new facts. A good course can change the way you think, maybe with life-altering results. Comedy is a subject which can’t be ‘learnt’ but it offers invaluable transferable skills: public speaking, creativity, confidence, acting and microphone technique. Oh, and it’s bloody good fun.
I run the stand-up course at Leith Academy with fellow comic Rick Molland. Previous students were phenomenally successful - most went from a vague appreciation of comedy to performing a solid set within eight weeks. It was exciting to watch, as students performed character comedy or a guy dealing with autism gave a gloriously bitter rant.
It’s great to see friendships springing from the course. Laughter brings people together and everyone is in the same nerve-wracking, position. The course ends with a showcase of students’ work, which has led some to write and perform sketch comedy for local radio. I hope to build up a community to develop people’s confidence and skills even further.
We can’t magically make anyone funny and we’re not trying to create professional comedians in one term. Instead, stand-up is a springboard to see what people are capable of. I really believe most people have the capacity to be funny – it’s just a question of finding your voice and the humour that surrounds us.
It’s like an emotional parachute jump: if you can overcome nerves to perform stand up comedy then the world is at your devilishly funny feet.
Comedy for Beginners starts at Leith Academy on Tue 16 Sep, 7–9pm.
Feel like adding another string to your bow? We guide you through some options for gaining new skills
You may be blithely flicking through these pages, certain that you will never make a good chef, dressmaker, surfer or yogi. But that doesn’t exclude you from the pool of continuing education courses across the Central Belt. Besides the feast of mainstream courses on offer, there has been an explosion in unusual classes, perfect for coaxing you off the sofa and out your comfort zone.
Whet your appetite for wine and learn the differences between a merlot and a shiraz with Edinburgh City Council’s wine appreciation courses. There are beginner and intermediate classes, depending how experienced your nose is.
If you’re the bloke everyone laughs at down the pub, leave wine tasting alone and try a beginners’ course in stand-up comedy instead. Both wannabe performers and writers are welcome and, although the overarching aim is simply to make people chortle, you will pick up a range of techniques including voice technique and audience communication.
The Ramshorn Theatre at the University of Strathclyde has an exciting programme of part-time courses taught by theatre and film industry professionals. As well as straight acting and directing, there are specialist courses including writing for film and Shakespeare in practice for more focused learning.
The hidden vixen in any red-blooded female is sure to be lured out at Club Noir’s burlesque workshops. Poses, tassels and seduction are all part of the drill, and classes are shaped to your requirements, whether that’s one-to-one tuition, a hen night or team-building exercise. (Natalie Woolman)
Arts and Crafts
Edinburgh College of Art run a range of art courses including ‘Painting the Landscape’ and ‘Approaching Abstraction’ as well as figure modelling, life drawing and digital imaging. The eca brochure is out on 8 Sep. Telford College also run BTECs, A-levels and Foundation courses in art. eca, Lauriston Place, 0131 221 6000, www.eca.ac.uk. Telford College, West Granton Road, 0131 559 4000, www.ed-coll.ac.uk
Leith School of Art’s evening jewellery course shows students how to make baubles in metal and other materials in time for the festive season. The course is full for autumn term but to join the waiting list, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Prices vary. Leith School of Art, North Junction Street, 0131 554 5761, www.leithschoolofart.co.uk
Edinburgh council (CEC) runs plenty classes for those with a secret artistic side. Drawing and painting classes are available, plus courses in calligraphy, dressmaking, photography and stained glass window design. Term begins Mon 22 Sep. Courses start at £60 for ten weeks. CEC, various locations, 0131 469 3250, www.edinburgh.gov.uk
Madge at Creative Glass Designs teaches students how to design, cut and weather their own panel. Five two-hour sessions cost £95, or all-day Saturday workshops are £80. Creative Glass Designs, Drum Brae South, 0131 339 5135, www.creativeglassdesigns.co.uk
If you dream of being the next Stella McCartney, Telford College offer several fashion-related courses. CEC also run a weekly dressmaking class if you want non-vocational tuition. Ten lessons cost £66. Prices for Telford’s courses vary. CEC, Telford College, see Edinburgh, Art.
Boost your portfolio with the range of photography courses at Stevenson College. A range of qualifications can be gained whilst you learn camera, darkroom and digital imaging techniques.
Stevenson College, Sighthill, 0131 535 4700, www.stevenson.ac.uk
The Continuing Education programme at GSAr offers evening and day courses for those yearning to pick up a paintbrush. There are also portfolio-focused courses if you need to bulk up your stash of work. Courses run over two terms, 20 classes in total. Day courses from £465, evening courses from £200. Glasgow School of Art, Renfrew Street, 0141 353 4596, www.gsa.ac.uk
Glasgow School of Art’s jewellery classes show you how to create your own accessory masterpieces. Beginners are welcome at Tuesday’s silversmithing class, and there is an advanced jewellery class you can progress to. Glasgow School of Art, see Glasgow, art.
Get a feel for glasswork with RDW’s six-week beginner course. Run on Thursday evenings, you will learn trade secrets whilst making two stained glass panels. Classes cost £125 for six weeks, including materials and equipment. RDW Glass, Fleming Street, 0141 556 3312, www.rdwglass.co.uk
With good contacts in the industry and purpose-built facilities, Cardonald College is earning itself a solid reputation for its fashion courses. Distance learning and part or full-time options are available. Cardonald College, Mosspark Drive, 0141 272 3333, www.cardonald.ac.uk
Release tension and throw a pot or two at Firework Studio. Classes are split into hand building and throwing techniques. Two-hour weekly sessions cost £90 for six weeks. Evening class times are negotiable depending on your work and travel commitments. Firework Studio, Dalhousie Street, email@example.com, www.fireworkstudio.co.uk
Non-vocational courses are available through the CEC or you can earn a BA in Complementary Healthcare (Aromatherapy) at Napier University. CEC, see Edinburgh, art. Napier University, Craiglockhart, 0845 260 6040, www.napier.ac.uk
If you are frazzled by lunchtime, drop into a lunchtime meditation session at the Edinburgh Buddhist Centre. Six-week meditation courses are also available, costing £65 (£45). Lunchtime meditation is held on Wednesdays and Fridays, 12.30-1.30pm, £3 (£2). Edinburgh Buddhist Centre, Melville Terrace, 0131 662 6699, www.edinburghbuddhistcentre.org.uk
Running courses for yoga virgins or veterans alike, beginner’s classes must be booked in advance and are £68 for eight weeks. Adita Yoga Centre, Alva Street, 0131 226 2601, www.aditiyogacentre.com
With meditation, tai chi, yoga and Alexander Technique tuition all under one roof, the Glasgow Buddhist Centre know lots of ways to de-stress. Two-hour, weekly meditation classes are £63 for six weeks. Glasgow Buddhist Centre, Sauchiehall Street, 0141 333 0524, www.glasgowbuddhistcentre.com
Drop in on Pilates and ashtanga yoga classes or indulge in their salsa dance and djembe drumming courses. Classes start at £6. Gather in Glasgow, Ruthven Lane (off Byres Road), 07967 188 513, www.gatheringlasgow.co.uk
Thai yoga massage
Learn the ancient art of Thai yoga massage at Metta. There are introductory days for beginners or courses to practitioner level for those wanting to make a career out of it. All courses are accredited. Prices vary. Metta, Newcourt Street, 07956 911 159, www.yogamassage.co.uk
Showing pupils how to sizzle in Spanish or argue in Arabic, the Applied Language Studies has various courses to bring you closer to linguistic perfection. There is an open day at Hill Place, Sat 20 Sep, 11am – 3pm. Institute for Applied Language Studies, Hill Place, 0131 650 6200, www.ials.ed.ac.uk
The Modern Languages Unit runs courses for pleasure, or courses leading to a qualification. These include lunchtime courses, costing £190 for 18 weeks. Francophiles can head to the Alliance Francaise for specialist tuition in art and current affairs or a chance to brush up their business French. University of Glasgow, 0141 330 6521, www.gla.ac.uk; Alliance Francaise, Park Circus, 0141 331 4080, www.afglasgow.org.uk
Telford will take you from beginner to professional in joinery, carpentry and stonemasonry if you fancy a new career. Telford College, see Edinburgh, art.
Give in to your inner flower arranger with a floristry course at Telford College. You can study the art at all levels, from a beginner’s course entitled ‘A Taste of Floristry’ to BTECs, masterclasses and the City and Guilds National Certificate. Telford College, see Edinburgh, art.
Going green seems a great idea – getting a puncture does not. The Edinburgh Bicycle Co-op offers bike maintenance and wheel-building classes so a burst tyre won’t stop you getting eco-friendly. Half-day courses are £16 and day-long intensive cycle maintenance courses are £45 with lunch. Edinburgh Bicycle Co-op, Alvanley Terrace, 0845 257 0808, www.edinburghbicycle.com
A smorgasbord of speciality food classes is available through the CEC, including baking, entertaining and vegetarian cuisine -- ideal incentive to get you singing in the kitchen. CEC, see Edinburgh, art.
The list of industry courses at Cardonald College is gargantuan, including training in construction, electronics, plumbing and a lot more besides. Each course is accredited by the relevant authority. Cardonald College, see Glasgow, fashion
One-day or five-day cookery courses are available at The Cookery School to tart up your culinary skills. Evening classes let students cook dishes, then sit down and dine mid-class. Day classes follow ‘themes’, including a chocolate masterclass for the sweet toothed. The Cookery School, Glassford Street, 0141 552 5239, www.thecookeryschool.org.
Deep Blue Scuba
Take the plunge, with Deep Blue Scuba’s courses for both beginners and professionals. Classes are small to ensure one-to-one attention is available and they offer overseas diving trips, exploring the underwater flora of balmier climes. Deep Blue Scuba, Coates Place, 0845 838 7785, www.deepbluescuba.co.uk
Surfari Scotland organises weekend trips to Mull, Sutherland and the East Coast where you will be guided through everything from standing up on the board to wave selection. Prices start at £125 for a ‘classic’ weekend. Surfari Scotland, venues vary, 07980 651 739, www.surfariscotland.com
For first-timers or experienced climbers, Glasgow Climbing Centre offers a relaxed atmosphere and a variety of surfaces to try. One-off lifetime membership is £10, adult entry is £7.25 or a yearly pass is £300. Glasgow Climbing Centre, Paisley Road West, 0141 427 9550, www.glasgowclimbingcentre.com
One of the most exciting sporting experiences on offer, try aerial acrobatics at Lansdowne Parish Church. Suitable for beginners. Prices vary. Spinal Chord, 416 Great Western Road, 07863 132 481, www.spinalchord.com
CEC, see Edinburgh, art.
Comedy Stand up
CEC, see Edinburgh, art.
Club Noir, venues vary, www.clubnoir.co.uk
Centre for Lifelong Learning, Strathclyde University, George Street, 0141 548 4287, www.strath.ac.uk/cll
Ramshorn Theatre and Film Studio, University of Strathclyde, Ingram Street, 0141 552 3489, www.strath.ac.uk/culture/ramshorn
Dance House, St Andrews Street, 0141 552 2442, firstname.lastname@example.org
Ashanti Dance Studio, Great Western Road, 07949 155 922, www.ashanti.org.uk
Anniesland College, 0141 357 6093, www.anniesland.ac.uk