Having grown up in the cold, rainy and often snowy climes of the United Kingdom, it often comes as a shock to most when I announce I learnt the art of snowboarding here in the desert.
It shouldn’t. Dubai is a haven of activity and each year new and exciting things pop up, offering residents and visitors countless options for trying something new.
If you thought Dubai was only about lavish brunches and nights out, think again. For those willing to turn their hand (and brain) to a new skill, sport, activity, the options are endless.
Why learn: Because who even needs to question how throwing paint at a wall couldn’t be more fun. Plus, you have the added bonus of being able to call it art instead of vandalism. People do sports to de-stress, but there are more ways to get rid of daily strains and burdens. The name of the game is to simply make a mess. No artistic skills necessary.
Where: DUCTAC, Mall of the Emirates
When: Sunday 4-6pm and from 7-9pm
Cost: Dh250 for four consecutive sessions plus and additional Dh20 for materials
In 60 minutes: Expect to learn about colour and texture but mostly about how to let yourself go. Surprisingly, making a mess doesn’t come naturally to all.
In a fortnight: Learn more about the expression of what you are creating from a personal perspective and just how to interpret it all.
Call: Martina Dresler on 050 6443703 or 04 341 4777 extension 323.
Why learn: Vertical Flex or Pole dancing has been taking the world by storm. Hailed as the new aerobics, it improves muscle posture and will give you killer abs. Classes are tailored for newcomers with a view to mastering the basics before incorporating routines to music.
Where: Cello Music & Ballet Centre, Level 1, Al Fattan Towers, JBR
When: Individual classes and set courses take place throughout the week
Cost: Dh90 per single class or Dh850 for a package of 10.
In 60 min: Expect to build your confidence, upper body strength and have some fun. It involves dancing with specially made poles so you’ll get used to those in the first session.
In a fortnight: You will see vast improvements in your body strength and flexibility and will have picked up a combination of moves both on and off the pole. Steps from other dance styles such as jazz, modern and hip hop will have been mastered.
Call: 04 399 5452 or visit www.cellodubai.com
Why learn: Aerial Silks, Tissu or Fabric are two long pieces of soft fabric that hang from a single point, which an artist uses to create dance routines. You will increase your strength, grace and flexibility, move your body into amazing poses and learn exciting drops and slides in later stages. Appropriate for all and no previous experience required.
Where: The Fridge, Al Quoz, Dubai
When: The next round of courses begin in mid August and workshops take place on a weekly basis.
Cost: Dh100 for the introductory session, Dh180 per workshop and Dh800 for a package.
In 60 min: The first session includes a warm up, strength training, focusing on core and lower abs, conditioning tips and stretching. You will learn a bit about climbing, foot locks, poses, turns and tricks from the ground level only.
In a fortnight: As you increase your strength and stamina while learning body control, balance and flexibility. More advanced students will learn more difficult skills, choreography and artistry, while hanging in the fabric.
Call: Mario on 050 5362805 or 04 3477793
Why learn: Because who wouldn’t want to be able to create that romantic scene from the film Ghost with Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze? OK that, and the fact it would be pretty cool to make your own dinner service!
Where: DUCTAC, Mall of the Emirates, Dubai
When: Tuesday and Wednesday from 6.30-9.30pm and on Saturday from 2-5pm.
Cost: Dh660 for four consecutive sessions plus Dh200 for clay and firing
In 60 min: The course is ideal for beginners and students will learn the basic principles of wheel-thrown ceramics at their own pace. Getting used to the clay and how to work it is first up as well as the process of pottery making.
In a fortnight: Complete ceramic projects from design through to glazing while experimenting with shapes and function to create unique pieces of personal work.
Call: Irene Sutton on 055 5029673
Why learn: Because it’s one of those things you really wish you were taught at school, especially when the new season of Strictly Come Dancing starts. Flicking your feet around like a crazy person does not the Jive or Foxtrot make!
Where: Arthur Murray Dance Studios Dubai. 201 Reef Tower, JLT or 1 West Block, Souk Al Bahar Downtown Burj Khalifa
When: Group and party classes take place throughout the week and private lessons can be booked at your convenience.
Cost: Dh100 for the introductory session of 45 minutes. Dh550 for one private lesson, one group lesson and one party class.
In 60 min: The first session assesses rhythm and co-ordination as well as keeping time with the music and working out the styles. By the end of the class you will have learnt the basic steps used in almost all forms of dance.
In a fortnight: More advanced steps will be mastered and more of a natural flow to the music will be starting to come through. You will be comfortable moving to the music both with and without your partner.
Call: For JLT call 04 448 6458 and for Downtown call 04 450 8648.
Why learn: Watching Martha Stewart and attempting to copy every move is almost impossible while she’s live on television and, let’s face it, the cakes are never the same. Learn to bake in your sweet time and become Martha-worthy in just weeks.
Where: Baking Art, Mirdif, Dubai
When: Brownies and Desserts is an eight-week course every Wednesday from 9-11am.
Cost: Dh2,500 for eight weeks of expert tuition
In 60 min: Expect to be hit with the basic introduction to baking including terms and utensils.
In a fortnight: Chocolate brownie, dark chocolate mousse, white chocolate mousse, tiramisu, cheese cake, date pudding, marshmallow pudding, creme caramel, pana cota, vanilla and chocolate ice-cream with nougat, pineapple upside down, Lemon/Coffee soufflé and strawberry short cake. Need I say more?
Call: 055 8086940 or email email@example.com
Why learn: Because it’s boiling hot outside feels like the obvious answer but ice skating offers so much more than just an escape from the scorching summer temperatures. Fitness, balance, coordination and endless camera moments for your friends sitting poised for your every fall.
Where: Dubai Ice Rink, Dubai mall
When: From 4.30-5.15pm daily for group lessons. Private lessons can be booked at your leisure.
Cost: The Summer on Ice promotion offers a weeklong learn to skate programme for Dh825, which concludes with a month of free ice skating at Dubai Ice Rink. Group lessons are Dh250 per person and private one-on-one sessions are Dh165 per hour.
In 60 minutes: How to wear skates without getting blisters, general safety and balance are the main features of the first class as well as getting onto the ice to assess levels.
In a fortnight: depending on proficiency you will be skating at speed and attempting basic turns and stops. The road is endless when it comes to skating and practice could bring out the figure skater in you.
Call: Email www.dubaiicerink.com
What: Make-up school/hair school
Why learn: Because wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to do your own hair and make-up before a big event rather than battle for the best appointments at the salon. Saving money would just be an added bonus, and if you really fancied taking it seriously then a career change could be on the cards.
Where: Formul’A Academy, Knowledge Village, block 11, g-02, Dubai
When: The two-week make-up courses start tomorrow (August 5) until Wednesday and from August 12-15 from 3-6pm.
Cost: One-day courses in hair styling start from Dh1,000 and single evening courses from Dh500. Two-week make-up courses are priced from Dh3,000 per person.
In 60 min: A condensed hair and make-up course would teach the basics of products and colour and enable students to do their own basic make-up and simple styles.
In a fortnight: All the skills necessary to get you on the road to perfecting flawless make-up and perfect styling for all occasions. Daytime, evening and bridal – both European and Arabic styles – as well as smoky eye and make-up for photo shoots. There is still plenty to learn but two weeks offers enough time to pick up all the basics.
Call: 04 4380122, visit www.formula-academy.net or email firstname.lastname@example.org