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February 20, 2014 | 12:00 a.m. CST
Do you ever find yourself listening to conversations happening around you and feeling completely out of your depth? Everyone else is discussing the fanciest pastimes and latest trends, but you’re too busy trying to distinguish between merlot and Bordeaux to participate. By taking a few new community classes, you can learn how to impress the most cultured of any company and turn from a shrunken wallflower into someone enviable and experienced.
Columbians can soon brag to everyone in their lives about all the new skills they’ve picked up, even if their practical uses are limited. Being the most knowledgeable one in the room has never been easier.
Course: Latin Dance I: Salsa and Bachata
Dates: Thursdays, Feb. 27 through March 20
Location: Missouri United Methodist Church
Hours: 7:30 to 9 p.m.
Class size: 16
Description: There’s no better way to make a good impression than by busting out those Latin moves. Scrap the typical dinner-and-a-movie plan in favor of an upbeat salsa dance.
New Vocabulary Word: Bachata: Afro-Latino music that comes from the Dominican Republic
Not for You If: You’ve got a medical concern. Nothing ruins a salsa date like a cast or oxygen tank. That’s a quick way to go from “la vida loca” to “la vida loca en el hospital.”
Course: Cloth Diapering 101
Dates: The second Saturday of every other month beginning March 8
Location: Plume Boutique
Hours: 9 to 10:30 a.m.
Class size: No limit
Description: New parents can take this class on cloth diapering to appease those crunchy friends who scoff at a mound of Pampers in the trashcan. Plus, it’s a cheaper choice that prevents waste.
New Vocabulary Word: Prefold diaper: thick cotton diaper liner that’s both absorbent and practical
Not for You If: You don’t have kids, you don’t suffer from panic attacks involving smelly diaper-filled landfills or you don’t care about the environment.
Course: French Macarons I
Date: March 12
Location: Rock Bridge High School, Room 102
Hours: 5:30 to 9:30 p.m.
Class size: 14
Description: Macarons are one of the most difficult desserts to prepare, but instead of drooling over the ones in Top Chef, learn to make your own. That way, your monster-in-law will be clutching her pearls in delight rather than tut-tutting at your dry chicken.
New Vocabulary Word: Meringue: whipped egg whites and sugar
Not for You If: You have a food allergy. Your relationship with your mother-in-law must be pretty awful if you’d be willing to break out into hives for her.
Course: Reblooming Irises
Date: March 2
Location: Columbia Public Library
Hours: 1:30 to 3 p.m.
Class size: No limit
Description: This presentation will make you the envy of the block party. A lesson on reblooming irises could turn your yard into a gorgeous Eden that attracts songbirds and fairy tale princesses.
New Vocabulary Word: Remontant: biological term for reblooming; having capacity to bloom again
Not for You If: Deer like to wander in your backyard. There’s no use putting all that work into making your thumb greener if Bambi’s going to nibble at your floral trophies.
Course: Home Fermentation
Dates: Wednesdays, March 5–19
Location: Rock Bridge High School, Room 103
Hours: 6 to 9 p.m.
Class size: 12
Description: Learning to ferment food is a must for aspiring chefs who crave a different taste. If your husband likes sauerkraut, pickles, sourdough or root-based tonics, he will appreciate your effort to try something that doesn’t involve a take-out menu.
New Vocabulary Word: Lactobacilli: bacteria found virtually everywhere that can be harnessed to create nutritious fermented foods
Not for You If: The concept of bacteria gives you the heebie-jeebies.
Course: Art Uncork’d: Collaging with Natural Materials
Date: March 19
Price: $20, Columbia Art League members; $25, non-members
Location: Columbia Art League
Hours: 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Class size: 15
Description: Teacher Dinise Mustain will show artists her distinctive style. It sure would impress Mr. Whatever-his-name-was. Take that for giving you a C.
New Vocabulary Word: Collage: a work of art created with found materials
Not for You If: You are a traditionalist when it comes to art. If you only appreciate the classics, maybe you should try oil painting instead.