Want to take your career in a new direction? Increase the skills you already have? Use your unemployment check for something fun and educational? We've chosen just a handful of interesting classes to occupy your time and, perhaps, to serve as a more cost-effective (and beneficial) alternative to the massively expensive dinner-and-bar outing.
This multilevel class teaches a modern version of the ancient harvest dance from the state of Punjab in northwestern India. Incorporating hip-hop, dancehall, and drum 'n' bass influences of modern DJs, this accessible dance form reflects the diversity of the Indian diaspora.
Mondays, 6:308 p.m. $12 drop-in.
Dance Mission Theater, 3316 24th St., SF. (415) 826-4441, www.dancemission.com
More "alt" than strictly "goth," the whole point of this class is to teach basic partner dancing moves to fun, unconventional music. Don't expect to learn traditional swing, but do expect a rockin' good time with a room full of people looking for the same. (And you'll leave at least looking like you know how to swing.)
Tuesdays, 78 p.m. $5 drop-in.
Fat City, 314 11th St., SF. www.swinggoth.com
BEGINNER ROCK CLIMBING COURSE
You'll learn everything you need to know to climb glaciers (or gym walls) in this in-depth, four-week introductory course, including belay and basic safety techniques, bouldering, climbing technology, and more. It's not cheap, but the fee includes harness and shoe rentals for class nights, gym access for one month, and should you decide to join the gym a discount on membership.
Wednesdays, 7 p.m. $129 for four weeks.
Planet Granite, 924 Old Mason, SF. (415) 692-3434, www.planetgranite.com
Explore this exciting, nuanced genre with instructor and published writer Josh Mohr. You'll learn to use all the elements of narrative construction while creating powerful stories containing only a few hundred words. Mohr promises lots of freedom, experimentation, and play.
Jan. 24, 10 a.m.4 p.m., $110
Writing Salon, 720 York, SF. (415) 609-2468, www.writingsalons.com
Are you intimidated by the bicycle boys' club? Want a supportive place to learn more about your ride? Bike Kitchen's monthly clinic devoted to women, transfolks, genderqueers, and femmes is one of our favorite offerings from the all-volunteer collective. Also check out Basic Tune-up classes in February, and BK's new locale in March!
Jan. 26, 6:309:30 p.m. Free.
Bike Kitchen, 1256 Mission, SF. www.bikekitchen.org
SIMPLE AND HEALTHY EVERYDAY COOKING
Spend an informative, enjoyable evening with Chef Joe Wittenbrook in his charming Duboce Triangle studio as you learn approachable menus that work well for those on a budget. Or, even better, schedule a private class for you and four friends.
Jan. 27 (and every Tuesday through April), 69 p.m. $95.
Chef Joe's Culinary Salon, 16a/b Sanchez, SF. www.theculinarysalon.com
SCULPTURAL SQUARE BOOK
Elaine Chu shows students how to make an impressive hardcover, origami-style book with folded pages that can be filled with images and text. In class, you'll paint your own covers using vibrantly colored inks, as well as learn to attach ribbon ties.
Jan. 27, 6:30-9:30 p.m. $55 plus $10 materials.
SF Center for the Book, 300 De Haro, SF.