The Yard at home

Try a number of classes this summer; you might surprise yourself.

Jesse Keller Jason leads a dance class at The Yard. —Caleb Carr

Zoom has become an amazing tool. Now, whether you are on the Vineyard or not, a panoply of classes will be available from the Yard, so we don’t have to miss out on their annual summer series. Jesse Keller Jason, director of Island programs and education, shares how the offerings came about. She was teaching a Zoom Community Dance class from April to June through the West Tisbury library, and says, “I had a really wonderful time doing that, so I wanted to keep up offerings for people and also bring attention to the classes the Yard usually has in the summer. I hold such a special place in my heart for those classes. It’s the highlight of my summer. And I really wanted to still have the opportunity to connect to the community that comes to those classes.”

One of the advantages of this new virtual world we’re in is that unlike other summers, you won’t have to be on the Vineyard to join in. “I think the upside of the virtual classes is that we can connect to folks near and far. I’m excited to see some people who might not be on the Vineyard right now, but are able to tune in on their computers in the living rooms, even if they’re in New York or out West, or wherever they may be,” Jason said.

Jason will continue to teach the Community Dance Class, an enticing mixture of modern, contemporary, and social dancing on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 to 11 am. This class welcomes teens, adults, and seniors, and can be done in the comfort of your own home on any surface — seated or standing.

For a little pizzazz, there is Holly Jones’ Jazz Class on Fridays from 12 to 1 pm. “Jazzin’ with Jones” is a high energy, feel-good class that draws inspiration from classic and contemporary jazz legends, and investigates stylization and technique with a sense of humor and curiosity — all to a throwback ’80s, ’90s, and early 2000s playlist.

“Another exciting thing is that we have is a Yoga at the Yard program, which also happens every summer,” Jason adds. “Mollie Doyle is founder and director, and has signed on to do July and August on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 8 to 9 am.” The alluring website description reads, “The class focuses on intelligent sequencing, linking breath to movement, and building a practice that brings consciousness and ease to the body and mind.”

Jason is equally as excited to be able to again offer the Yard’s Pilates program, taught by Kimberly Murry on Mondays and Wednesdays from 12 to 1 pm. This will be a challenging mat training at home, designed to build strength, flexibility, mobility, and improve posture. Pilates conditions your entire body from the inside out, with a workout that strengthens and stretches simultaneously, with an emphasis on the core.

For yoga and Pilates, you will need a mat, and if any other props are needed, the teachers, Jason says, “are super-creative about using objects you might have at home.”

The Yard has made it easy to carve out the class schedule that suits you. You can sign up for a monthly pass at $75 for the three-day-a-week dance or yoga classes, and $55 a month for the two-day-a-week Pilates class. If you wish, you can carve out an à la carte menu of “drop-in,” $10 per class options instead.

The single-class option also gives you the opportunity to dip your toe into any or all of the disciplines. “I would encourage people, if they’ve never tried a yoga class at the Yard, to try one virtually,” Jason recommended. “The same with Pilates. You don’t have to be committed to them the entire month. Try one of them and see how it feels.”

Although this summer you can’t enjoy the Yard’s beautiful open-air studio on its Chilmark campus, Jason points out a very nice advantage of taking class virtually: “There’s a level of comfortability of trying something new in the comfort of your own living room. I think this is a wonderful opportunity for people to try something out if they’ve always wanted to go to one of the classes, but they’re intimidated. You don’t have to worry about if you’re on the same level as someone you’re standing next to. I think this world of doing things virtually allows us to take a few more risks that maybe we surprise ourselves by.”

See Summer Class Series July 1st-31st through Zoom! for class descriptions, teacher bios, and ticket purchases.