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New York City classes that are enlightening and entertaining

Chef-instructor Sabrina Sexton explains about choosing fresh fish

Chef-instructor Sabrina Sexton explains about choosing fresh fish to students in a recreational class on preparing quick and easy sauces for fish at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York. Credit: AP, 2009

Summer's winding down, which means one thing: The school year is starting up. Take advantage of these New York City classes that promise more fun than drudgery.


Sick of microwaving dinner? The Institute of Culinary Education offers cooking classes in everything from Asian cuisine to American comfort food. "'Knife Skills' and 'Couples Cooking' are the big ones," says ICE's Ashley Bain. Classes run for two hours or longer. Aspiring mixologists can take wine and beer classes. $70-$125.

WHERE The Institute of Culinary Education, 50 W. 23rd St.

INFO 800-522-4610,


Learn to be funny at Upright Citizens Brigade, which offers classes in long-form improvisation and comedic sketch writing. You'll learn how to act, speak in public and think on your feet in these three-hour classes. "Our curriculum stresses teamwork and support, which are valuable life skills," says Alex Sidtis, UCB managing director. Class listings are available every Monday and Wednesday and sell out fast. $350 for an eight-week course.

WHERE Upright Citizens Brigade Training Center, 145 W. 30th St., fourth floor

INFO 212-929-8107,


WHAT Parlez-vous français? Parla italiano? ¿Habla español? If not, or not to the level you'd like, this bookstore offers French, Spanish and Italian classes taught by native speakers. Classes are 75 minutes, run for 10 weeks, range from beginner to advanced and stress conversational skills and cultural immersion. "The approach is more participatory and fun," owner David Del Vecchio says. $195-$285 before Sept. 15, plus $18 for a textbook.

WHERE Idlewild Books, 12 W. 19th St. in Manhattan, or 249 Warren St., Brooklyn

INFO 212-414-8888 or 718-403-9600,


WHAT From ballet to modern to African dance, get your groove on any way you want at Peridance Capezio Center. "We offer nearly everything," says Kayla Shetter, front desk manager at the school. Adults can take open classes, which typically run for an hour and a half and don't require a reservation, while children and teens can sign up for style- and skill-specific programs. $18 per open class for adults, from $522 a session (16 weekly classes) for children.

WHERE Peridance Capezio Center, 126 E. 13th St.

INFO 212-505-0886,


WHAT Learn how to shoot and print professional-looking photos at the International Center for Photography. The ICP offers five- and 10-week classes, one- and two-weekend workshops and one-day seminars. Camille Ortiz of ICP says "Telling a Story Through Photographs" and "The New Landscape" are popular classes. The center even offers travel classes to Cuba and Myanmar for those who want to try travel photography. $290-$820, plus fees for materials and registration.

WHERE International Center of Photography, 1114 Sixth Ave., between 42nd and 43rd streets

INFO 212-857-0001,

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