CAREERS & ED: A selection of courses for kids-at-heart
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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 
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 
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 
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. (415) 565-0545, www.sfcb.org 
Learn to work with stretch fabrics while making these painfully cute tops for tots, all while supporting the new effort by former Stitch Lounge favorites Kelly Williams and Hannah McDevitt. Great gifts for new moms and their winter spawn!
Jan. 31, noon3 p.m. $62
Craft Haven Collective, 520 Hampshire, SF. crafthaven.org
Create simple herbal remedies for the common winter bug while learning about basic actions of plants and how they work in combination. You'll leave with a jar or each remedy, plus handouts and recipes.
Jan. 31, 10 a.m.noon. $15.
Garden for the Environment, Seventh Ave. at Lawton, SF. (415) 731-5627, www.gardenfortheenvironment.org 
You live in California! It's time to learn how to surf! In Adventure Out's two-day clinic, you'll learn basic technique, safety and etiquette, ocean awareness, and balance. All gear included!
Feb. 78, 9 a.m.noon, $170.
Linda Mar Beach, Pacifica. www.adventureout.com 
Think there's no way you could be a fire-eater? Think again. The art of putting (and putting out) fire in your mouth, running it along your skin, and executing other advanced tricks is easier than it seems. In this entry-level class, you'll make two torches to take home and practice with. And don't worry, you'll learn fire safety before any flames touch your skin.
Feb. 28Mar. 1, 3:305:30 p.m. $85.
The Crucible, 1260 Seventh St., Oakl. (510) 444-0919, www.thecrucible.org 
There's no better time for learning how to fund your art than now. Let Root Division's executive director, Michelle Mansour, guide you through researching and applying for grant funding, including understanding lingo, addressing application criteria, preparing work samples, and editing.
March 16 & 30, 79 p.m. $30
Root Division, 3175 17th St., SF. www.rootdivision.org  *