Who says you’re only learning when you’re at school? Dubai shakes its figurative head in shame at such a statement, and it has the classes to prove it.
We can’t get enough of the abundance of activities this city offers – from high-octane classes to fancy ballroom dancing. Although, with the amount out there to bury yourself in, it’s easy to miss out on some lesser-known challenges that could easily become your next hobby. Search no longer. Whether you want to unleash your inner Picasso (while sipping on a glass of grape) or learn how to whip up a brand-new dish in the kitchen, there’s a class here that will spark your interest.
In the words of Troy Bolton from High School Musical, “this could be the start of something new,” so have a gander at these 11 fresh classes to try.
For the sportsmen
Burn calories at Barry’s Bootcamp
Think your treadmill training session is tough? Think again. Barry’s Bootcamp is a HIIT concept consisting of intense sprints on a treadmill along with extreme weight training spread out over short intervals. Basically, it’s a mix of running and weights, and it’s hard. You’ll burn up to 1,000 calories during each session (so they say), and the idea is you’ll continue to burn calories for hours after the workout ends (hopefully even when you’re lounging on the sofa massaging your aching calves). The pumping jams and upbeat instructors will keep you motivated throughout each session – no matter tiring it gets. Barry’s second location is now open at the Trident Grand Mall in Dubai Marina and your first 50-minute class will cost just Dhs84, with every class after priced at Dhs126. It’s the kind of workout big stars like Jake Gyllenhaal, David Beckham, Ellie Goulding and Jessica Biel do, if that’s what it takes to inspire you to try it.
Dhs84 (first class), Dhs126 (per class), Dhs1,207.50 (monthly 12 class membership). Class times vary. Trident Grand Mall, Dubai Marina, www.barrysbootcamp.com/barrys-dubai, (04 874 8476).
Get active with Aquaspin
Pretty much what is says on the tin, but who knew pedalling underwater could be such a craze? A brand-new Aquaspin class launched this month at the InterContinental Dubai Marina and it’s time to suit up and hit the pool. You’ll be submerged underwater, spinning at speed, using the water as resistance. The 45-minute sessions take place in the morning and evening, ideally timed to fit around work, so there’s no reason not to get your sweat on in your swimsuit.
Every Sun, Mon and Wed 7am-8am, Tue 7.30am-8.30am, Thu-Fri 8am-9am, Sat 4pm-5pm. InterContinental Dubai Marina, www.aquaspin.ae
(04 446 6777).
Splash around at FloatUAE
Just when you thought your run-of-the-mill HIIT class was tough enough, FloatUAE came along and put the intense workout on water. Tiring? Yes. Fun, absolutely.
Float UAE offers fitness enthusiasts a blend of balancing and swimming within its 40-minute HIIT classes (thought planking on land was tough?).
The programme focuses on building strength, deepening your flexibility and improving your balance and movements – via an intense workout while balanced on a floating mat. Classes take place across some of Dubai’s best pools and five-star resorts, so you’ll have a luxurious al fresco setting to sweat it out in, too.
Fancy trying it? Budding floaters can enjoy their first lesson free of charge, and if you find that you have an affinity for it, you can buy five classes for Dhs625. How many burpees can you do on a floating mat?
Dhs625 (five classes). Various locations and times, www.floatuae.com (055 713 4925).
Strengthen at Cardiolates
Another one that’s fairly self explainatory. Combo cardio and Pilates, and you’ll end up with a fun way to get in shape while going easy on your joints – otherwise known as Cardiolates. Simply put, it’s an intense (and sweaty) workout that increases agility, coordination and fitness.
Not only this, it’s also known to strengthen your core and give you great posture – which means no more slouching. The hour-long classes will have you bouncing around on a mini-trampoline and strengthening your core with various moves, including hopping around on one leg. Your first two group classes are priced at Dhs110, and each class after will be Dhs120. We’re sitting a bit straighter already.
Dhs110 (first two classes), Dhs120. Open Sun-Thu 8am-9pm, Fri-Sat 9am-1pm. Jumeirah Bay X2 Tower, Cluster X, JLT, www.pilatesacademydubai.com (056 798 4655).
For the performers
Go Bachata dancing
We’ve seen it in our favourite movies – a couple hits the club and bust out some amazing dance moves that clear the floor and have the crowd going wild. If you’re yearning for that moment, you’ll want to take a few bachata dance classes at the James & Alex Dance Studios in Dubai Media City. An electrifying form of social dancing originating from the Dominican Republic, bachata has quickly gained a huge following thanks to a few big names such as Romeo Santos, who has 1.3 billion views on his popular song Propuesta Indecente. Generally slower than salsa, but with a faster pace than ballroom dancing, it’s the type of dance that’s easy to pick up but hard to master, though a few classes will put you on the right track. Hourly sessions for beginner and intermediate levels are priced at Dhs70, while you can get a 12 class bundle for Dhs690. If you’re looking to steal the spotlight the next time you hit the club, get started here.
Dhs70 per class, Dhs690 (12 classes). Sun 9pm, Thu 7pm. Concord Tower, Dubai Media City (04 447 0773).
Pick up an instrument with ukulele lessons
Simple to pick up and fun to sing along to, the ukulele is the epitome of good vibes, and you can learn to play it over at Melodica Music Center. But it’s just a tiny guitar with fewer strings? There’s a lot more to the ukulele than meets the eye. The instrument comes in four different sizes, including soprano, concert, tenor and baritone. That means you can easily form a ukulele group with different tones to create the perfect melody – if you have enough persuadable mates. If you don’t have many with musical talents, there’s already a Dubai group performing weekly sessions that you can join at www.meetup.com. As for learning the skill, ukulele players can get private classes starting from Dhs580 per month, so you can master all of the different chords and even your favourite songs. Better yet, the instrument is one of the cheapest to buy, with prices ranging from Dhs150 all the way to Dhs1,000 at outlets across Dubai.
Go on, be the Hawaiian trendsetter.
From Dhs580 per month. Open Sat-Fri 10am-10pm. Various locations including Palm Jumeirah and JLT, www.melodica.ae (04 374 3434).
Try acting at The Desert Monologues
Fancy yourself an actor of Oscar-worthy standards? Check out The Desert Monologues, a programme for adults to take to the stage and bring out their inner thespian. From Dhs1,890, actors of all levels will explore script-work, improvisation and characterisation, while experienced instructors will teach you how to get the best out of your voice, along with learning how to bring out the inner Robert De Niro. All of the lessons consist of drama activities and a tonne of rehearsals that will lead to a big monologue performance at The Courtyard Building, so you can show the world the true star that you are – or just give you a little confidence boost. Pricier packages include a 30-minute professional headshot photoshoot, a performance video of your final show and a one-hour audition showreel for those looking to make it to the big time or to get into acting.
From Dhs1,890 (seven week program). Dates and times vary. The Courtyard Building, Al Quoz, www.courtyardplayhouse.com (050 781 2269).
For the artists
Create candles at COYA
There are plenty of reasons to visit COYA – the ceviche and Time Out Dubai’s Best Restaurant Bar, Pisco Lounge being just two – and now you can head to the cool Peruvian restaurant to learn how to make candles. Julia Volet’s candle masterclass will show you how to make your very own home fragrance. Using various different scents, including a blend of sandalwood, amber, leather and spicy cinnamon, you’re sure to find a smell that pleases your nasal passages. That’s not all, as Volet will also be hosting floral masterclasses, too. Even better, the sessions will include a special set lunch menu with a dessert, mocktail and coffee. Sign us up.
Dhs500. Candle masterclass: Tue Oct 30 and Tue Nov 27, 11.30am-1pm; Floral masterclass: Tue Oct 16 and Mon Nov 12, 11am-1pm. COYA Dubai, Four Seasons Resort, Jumeirah Beach www.coyarestaurant.com/dubai (04 316 9600).
Make your own pottery
If you’re learning how to cook (see page 35 for more of than), you may as well learn how to make the actual plate it comes on, too, and really wow your dinner guests. From tableware and decorative vases to creative sculptures, Yadawei’s ceramic and pottery classes will teach you how to expertly craft them all, using a good old-fashioned pottery wheel. Sessions will introduce you to a list of methods, including centering, pulling, trimming and shaping clay on the wheel, how to manipulate clay into human or animal forms and design abstract designs, as well as functional simple stuff such as plates. Classes are well catered for first time clay artisans, so don’t fret, they expect a few clumpy “masterpieces.” Pottery students can take part in their first trial class from Dhs180, and get four sessions from Dhs650. Don that potter’s apron, it’s time to get moulding.
Dhs180 (trial class), Dhs650 (four sessions). Mon-Wed 10am-9pm, Thu-Sat 10am-6pm. Yadawei Ceramic Studio, Warehouse 30, Al Qouz Industrial Area 1, www.yadawei.net (04 379 1312).
Paint with grape
Looking to fill that dead space on the living room wall? You could go and buy art, but where’s the fun in that? Creat your own instead. We Love Art’s Paint and Grape classes give budding artists the chance to create their own masterpiece (maybe) using a pre-sketched canvas with a host of materials. With a paint brush in one hand and a glass of grape in the other, along with some smooth, jazzy music as a backdrop we can’t think of a better way to take to the easel. The art you’ll be recreating includes the likes of The Great Wave off Kanagawa, Girl with a Pearl Earring and the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci – and it isn’t easy painting that smile. Priced at Dhs387, classes go on for three hours and take place in various locations. Whether you’re looking to touch up on your painting skills or simply want to taste the life of an artist (and some grape), the class is the place to unleash your inner Van Gough/Picasso/insert other amazing artist name here.
Dhs387 per class. Times vary. Various locations including Couqley, JLT; Grapeskin, City Walk; InterContinental Dubai Marina, www.weloveart.ae (04 514 9339).
Perfect your perfume
If you’re the kind of person that spends hours in duty free searching for the perfect perfume, this is the class for you. Hosted by Melanie Jane, a qualified aromatherapist and natural perfumer since 1998, the perfume making class will teach you the ways of making a unique scent. Sessions usually last three hours or more, and will teach you the basic perfume making techniques so you can muster up a scent that’s exclusive to you, whether you’re after a fresh eau de cologne or something super-glam. Classes take place at The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai in JBR, and sometimes at the iconic Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, and you’ll enjoy some snacks as well as a glass of sparkling while you’re there.
Prices vary. Various dates and locations, including The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai, JBR; Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, Umm Suqeim, www.masterclasseswithmelanie.com (050 350 1557).
For the foodies
Be creative at Café Céramique
At Café Céramique, you’ll get to make and paint a masterpiece before or after you eat. If you’re looking to fill your tummies first, choose from a portion of pancakes with a side of syrup, chocolate sauce and fresh fruit, mushroom and veal omlette packed with rosemary potatoes, or even a freshly made bagel. And we’re sure that all that food will fuel your creative side. Once you’re full it’s time to bring out your artistic talent. Diners get the chance to paint and craft whatever they choose, from ceramic small animals to a traditional mug. The cheery staff are only too happy to help with picking out the perfect paint colours. Your painted products are then sent to the kiln for firing, and can be collected in a week. A pretty good excuse to return. The question Cafe Ceramique asks you first is: “do you want to paint first or eat?” Whichever one you choose, you’re in for a right treat, and it’s an ideal spot for the whole family to have fun and get creative.
From Dhs130 (meal and crafting). Open daily 9am-midnight. Level 1, Jumeirah Town Centre, Jumeirah, www.cafeceramique.ae (04 344 7331).
Get cooking at Chef’s Palette
Can’t cook, wont cook? Or Gordon Ramsay in disguise? Either way, there’s a space for you at this all-level fun cooking school. Chef’s Palette at Fairmont The Palm features an array of different classes and experiences. Taking place daily, the interactive cooking studio, led by Michelin-trained chef de cuisine Romain Van Durmen, will have amateur cooks work one-on-one with him to discover recipes from all over the world, along with a complimentary lunch buffet at the Flow Kitchen (if you take on the afternoon classes). Other experiences include master classes, along with a private dinner in the live kitchen with the chef’s table dinners and then Friday night drop in sessions perfect for couples. It’s time to dust off that tablecloth and invite your friends round for dinner.
Dhs195 (afternoon classes), Dhs345 (master classes), Dhs445 (chef’s table dinner). Afternoon classes: noon onwards; Drop in sessions: Every Fri 7pm-9pm; Chef’s table dinners: daily 7.30pm onwards. Fairmont The Palm, Palm Jumeirah (04 457 3457).
Master chocolate making
If you’re a lover of all things cocoa, this is a class with your name on it – mainly because you get to indulge in chocolate throughout the session, while learning a thing or two about how to make it while you nibble. Boutique Le Chocolat hosts hour-long Bespoke Chocolate Experience classes where the master chocolatier begins by taking you through a tasting experience. You’re then given the chance to make your own bar of chocolate with a customised design and name. Think like Willy Wonka and come up with something creative. The class will also give an educational tour about different cocoa beans from all around the world, and the different traits that give them all their unique texture and flavour. After the class, you’ll be able to take home four bars of “Unicorn’s Kingdom” that you’ve melted and moulded yourself. Take them to work to win over your colleagues (or just to avoid the vending machine).
Dhs350. Open Sun-Thu 10am-10pm; Fri-Sat 10am-midnight. Class times vary. Al Safa Street, City Walk (04 590 5075).
Whip up a brunch
If you love brunch, but would rather stay home, the “Let’s Make Brunch” class at Top Chef Dubai will teach you how to make your very own foodie extravaganza. The sessions give groups of friends or families the chance to cook under the guidance of one of the chefs. As for what you’ll be cooking, amateur chefs will be whipping up traditional eggs Benedict with grilled bacon on a homemade English muffin, handmade chorizo gnocchi, lemon and raspberry tart and a refreshing hibiscus raspberry and ginger iced tea. And the best part? You can taste the fruits (or whatever you cooked) of your labour after you’re done, so you had better do a good job of following the chefs instructions.
You can get it all for Dhs315 per session, too – which is less than most brunches, plus you’ll come away with fine skills (hopefully). Even if you’re more akin with whipping up beans on toast than fancy fodder this is sure to help.
From Dhs315 per class. Open daily, times vary. Villa 196, Jumeirah Beach Road, www.topchefdubai.com/cooking-classes (04 385 5781).