11 nifty New Year's resolutions to try around Sacramento

Resolutions Scuba
Photo courtesy Dolphin Scuba Center
Go deep at Dolphin Scuba Center, which offers scuba lessons and training for beginning and expert divers.

With 2015 just around the corner, it’s time to get thinking about a new round of New Year’s resolutions. Consider checking out these 11 cool ways to get in shape, get cooking, learn a new language, pick up a new hobby, and much more.

1. Get your groove on at The Ballroom of Sacramento
The workshops and organized dance parties at this East Sacramento studio cover everything from swing to the hustle and the waltz. Sign up for a weekly group lessons—January offers West and East Coast swing, salsa, tango, and the foxtrot (to name a few). Also, the Ballroom’s many DJ-hosted, themed “dance party” nights are great for those who want to learn a few moves and boogie into the evening. First-timers might also be interested in the Dollar Daze Dance Camp (Jan. 4) that offers four 45-minute sessions for $1. Prices range from $5-10. Monthly memberships available. 6009 Folsom Blvd. 456-2616. theballroomofsacramento.com

2. Dive in at Dolphin Scuba Center
Sacramento might be landlocked, but Dolphin Scuba Center makes it easy to get scuba-certified at weeknight and weekend classes with experts at the center’s heated pool before taking the plunge in the Pacific Ocean (usually Monterey, offered year-round) or Lake Tahoe (summer only). Dolphin offers both group and private lessons that can take you from a beginner all the way to a PADI (Professional Association of Dive Instructors) “Divemaster.” Special classes in underwater photography, CPR and underwater scooters also ensure longtime scuba-enthusiasts can also try something new. Prices vary by class. 1530 El Camino Ave. 929-8188. dolphinscuba.com

3. Take a shot with PhotographyMyWay
Did the holidays bring you a new digital camera? Learn how to really get the most out of it with PhotographyMyWay’s “The Basics” course that acquaints you with your camera though studying general camera features and terminology. From there, budding photographers can sign up for some of PMW’s more advanced classes in exposure, composition, lighting, portraiture and studio lighting. Not only do the instructors promise to equip you with real, practical skills, but they also offer continued support over the phone, email and social media. Prices and area locations (in Sacramento, Folsom and Roseville) vary. photographymyway.com

4. Get your hands dirty at Alpha Fired Arts
Those interested in taking up ceramics can get their start at Alpha Fired Arts Creative Clay Learning Center, which offers a variety of classes and chances for students of every experience level to get behind the wheel and spin their own pottery. In addition to courses (which last from four to six weeks), the center’s paint studio offers the best deal in town for painting pre-made pieces—a great way to spend an artful afternoon alone, with friends, a significant other, or your whole family. Prices vary by class. 4675 Aldona Ln. 484-4424. alphafiredarts.com

5. Crank it up at Bach to Rock Music School
Channel your inner rock star at this Folsom branch of the nationwide Bach to Rock Music School, which offers professional instruction in just about every major instrument, from guitar to drums to ukulele. Group lessons are available for select instruments, and there’s even an opportunity to be placed in a rock band with other students of similar experience level and music interest. Prices vary by class. 82 Clarksville Rd. 265-2600. b2rmusic.com

Granite Arch Climbing Center offers group and one-on-one instruction throughout the year. (Photo courtesy Granite Arch Climbing Center)

6. Go higher at Granite Arch Climbing Center
Boasting over 20,000 square feet of wall area, this Rancho Cordova climbing hub is a great place for both beginners and experts to reach new heights. The famously friendly staff helps newcomers get started with gear and finding group or one-on-one instruction on everything from rope handling to clipping skills and lead climbing. Granite Arch members are also granted access to the outdoor boulder park and its hand-sculpted “natural” climbing rocks. Prices vary by class. Monthly memberships available. 11335 Folsom Blvd. Rancho Cordova. 852-7625. granitearch.com

7. Unleash your inner drummer at Taiko Dan
Instructors of traditional Japanese drumming at Sacramento Taiko Dan teach traditional choreography and chants while students pound out beats on wooden drums—making Taiko Dan classes a great combination of culture, music and fitness. Sign up for a beginner’s course, or check out what you’re in for at local events featuring the organization’s advanced team. Prices vary by class. 2728 J St. 444-5667. sactaiko.org

8. See what’s cookin’ at the Co-op
Both the Davis Food Co-op and Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op offer some of the most interesting cooking classes in the region: Food lovers in Sacramento can learn how to make things “Better with Bacon” or explore the “Art & Science of Cheesemaking,” while the Davis co-op offers a host of intro classes on soups, beans, sourdough, kombucha and alternative foods. Become a member at either co-op and receive discounts on tuition. Prices vary by class. Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op. 1900 Alhambra Blvd. 455-2667. sacfoodcoop.com; Davis Food Co-op. 620 G St. Davis. 530-758-2667. davisfoodcoop.com

9. Get physical at Waza Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
Release any remaining tension from 2014 by picking up Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, a popular style of mixed martial arts that promotes strategic combat through leverage, joint locks and chokeholds. Waza in Elk Grove invites newcomers to take a class from instructor Derek DiManno, the highest placing American-born black belt in the 2003 World Jiu Jitsu Championship. And as encouragement to give BJJ a try, the first private lesson or two group classes are free. Prices vary by class. 9105 Laguna Main St. Elk Grove. 667-3575. wazabjj.com

10. Tackle fly fishing with Jeff Putnam
With year-round group and private lessons, Jeff Putnam’s Fly Fishing Schools covers all the basics of fly fishing right on the American River. Starting with a two-hour course in fly casting, students learn how to tie knots, roll cast, false cast, measure distance and change line direction. From there, fly fishing fans can take higher level courses and ultimately become master anglers, casters and rubber-pants wearers. Prices vary by class. 9035 New Dawn Dr. 366-7554. jpflyfishing.com

11. Pick up a language (or five)
It’s not surprising that Sacramento, one of America’s most culturally and ethnically diverse cities, is home to a variety of language schools and learning centers. For most, enrollment in evening classes starts in early January, making New Year’s the perfect time to resolve to pick up a new language and meet some local bon vivants in the process. Buena suerte!  
     -Sakura Gakuen Japanese Language School. 2401 Riverside Blvd. 542-0557. sakuragakuen.org
     -Sacramento Turn Verein German Language School.
3349 J St. 442-7360. sacramentoturnverein.com
     -Casa de Espanol Spanish Classes.
2115 J St. 346-4535. casadeespanol.org
     -Alliance Francaise de Sacramento.
1721 25th St. 453-1723. afdesacramento.org
     -Wisdom Chinese School.
1620 35th Ave. 392-0442. wisdomchineseschool.org

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