Classes We Love: Aerial Basics at AirCraft Aerial Arts

This introductory class lets you run away and join the circus—no experience required.


Students on the trapezes. Photos by Jamie Ducharme

What it is:

Somerville’s AirCraft Aerial Arts offers “Taster” classes every few weeks to give aerial newbies (like myself) the chance to try out three of its main apparatuses: hanging silks, trapezes, and rings. After a dynamic warmup somewhat reminiscent of high school sports practice, students have the chance to try out tricks like inversions on the silks and splits dangling from the trapeze. But, as fun as this class is, make no mistake: It’s hard. 

After just one quick glance at the instructor’s ripped biceps, I could tell how much strength the class would require, and that was a bit daunting. Physically, I didn’t have the upper body strength to do some of the exercises, such as climbing the silks. The next morning, my arms were so sore I could barely hand-write. Seriously.

Know before you go:

Despite the fact that, as my aching shoulders can attest, this class is a major upper body workout, it truly is accessible to everyone. Many people in the class had experience in dance or gymnastics, but nobody had really done aerials before. Nonetheless, everyone was able to do the vast majority of the class, albeit at varying levels of grace and skill.

The moves are difficult but not insane, and nobody is expected to be an aerial expert. However, if you’re deathly afraid of heights, this class probably isn’t for you. None of the elements are dangerously high, but if the idea of hanging upside down from a trapeze six feet in the air gives you cold sweats, you may want to take a pass.

The vibe:

The entire experience was very low pressure. The instructor was laid-back, friendly, and just a little theatrical. And since the class was small—only nine students—the group bonded over the course of the 90-minute session, frequently applauding and praising each other as they attempted new skills. Then again, it’s easy to bond when you’re all commiserating over how ridiculous you look.

The cost:

AirCraft’s “Taster” classes cost $25. After that, an eight-week set of classes is $190 and drop-in classes are $30.

What to bring:

The studio recommends wearing a shirt that can be tucked in and pants that go down to your ankles to avoid “burning” exposed skin on the apparatuses. A water bottle is also a must.

The bottom line:

Your upper body and core are in for a treat, but you won’t get much of a cardio workout. That said, whether you’ve harbored secret dreams of joining the circus or not, the class is a great way to shake up your workout routine, or just try something new with friends. If you have a background in dance or gymnastics, you’ll probably love this class. But, as someone whose prior experience was limited to just one aerial yoga class, I can safely say anyone can enjoy the adrenaline rush—and your newfound shoulder muscles.

AirCraft Aerial Arts, 14 Tyler Street, Somerville;


Hanging from the rings.


Inversions on the silks.