Didn’t think so. This year for my birthday, it was time for a throwback to those days. So I booked a private lesson for myself and nine friends at Aircraft Aerial Arts, a studio in Somerville, Massachusetts where you can climb up colorful ribbons, hang from bars and spin inside hoops (if you’re strong enough/not afraid of heights/don’t get motion sickness, of course). Even if you’re all or most of those things, that’s okay because there’s still a 99.99 percent chance you’ll have a blast.
We met up with our instructor, Jill inside a big room filled with all of the above things. I was fairly certain we’d be spending the next 90 minutes swinging from trapeze high of the ground, so this was actually a big relief.
Jill was awesome and super patient with our frequent pauses to take pictures of one another throughout the evening. She event gave me a birthday hat with my name on it. Chuck E. Cheese’s never had hats with names.
After a little warm-up, we started our quest to see who among us had a future in the circus should their day jobs not work out. I learned just how athletic, strong and graceful many of my friends were during our time at Aircraft, but I have a feeling they wouldn’t appreciate photos of them hanging upside down from trapeze bars posted on this blog, so you get to look at photos of my attempts, instead. I, for one, am keeping my day job.
We also learned how to stand on the ribbons and hang upside down from them, but my favorite was turning them into a hammock so we could relax a few feet off the ground.
After that, we were off to the bars. They were just high enough to channel my fear of heights, but low enough that I figured trying a trick or two was worth the risk. While upper body strength isn’t a thing I have a ton of, this one worked relatively well, save for one move where we were prompted to hold on to the bar with our feet wrapped around the ropes and do a vertical backbend of sorts. Nope.
Finally, it was time for the hoops. Once you get up there (a process that involves holding on with both hands and throwing a leg over the hoop), this is definitely the easiest contraption at the studio to look somewhat graceful on. Just compare the below photo with those above and you’ll understand. Once you’ve successfully settled into your round, metal seat, spinning is optional.
After an amazing lesson, we were ready to reward ourselves for a killer workout and celebrate our foray into aerial arts. So we headed to Brass Union (70 Union Square) in Somerville for huge burgers and cocktails garnished with Fig Newtons. My mom used to give me Fig Newtons as an after-school snack, so I’m going to say that our drinking was a true continuation of the grownup birthday party theme.
If you’re interested in taking a private lesson at Aerial Arts, or want to check out their classes (there was a hula hoop class going on in the next studio next door that I’m intrigued by), you can find information about the former here and a schedule of the latter here.