It’s Like a Bird Aviary, but for People

aviary

(I wrote this piece for the Ann Arbor blog Damn Arbor. Read the whole post here.)

The Ann Arbor Aviary is the perfect example of what’s great about Ann Arbor. You wouldn’t expect to find a gym specializing in the “aerial arts”— which include aerial silks, trapeze and lyra—in a city of this size, but there it is, next door to a storage facility out past the airport. For the record, they also offer other classes like belly dancing, and burlesque performance, and at one time, something called a “Twerkshop” for anyone needing professional instruction in that area.

Once a month they offer an aerial sampler class for beginners where you get to try the silks, trapeze and the lyra. It’s a fun way to spend a Friday evening for anyone who isn’t put off by having to sign a death and injury waiver.

My favorite portion of the class was the silks, mostly because you’re only a couple feet off the ground, plus we started out on them, so my biceps had not yet become fatigued to the point of failure. It’s also the portion of the class where it is easiest to fake elegance.

The trapeze is technically “static” trapeze, so they don’t let you swing on it like a giant swing set, much to my disappointment. Instead, you learn to contort your body into a variety of positions while dangling from the trapeze. To excel at static trapeze requires many of the same skills you needed to rock the monkey bars as a kid. It looks deceptively easy, but I don’t care how good you were on the jungle gym at recess, if you are over the age of ten, you no longer possess those skills or that BMI. I regret not having done some upper body workouts ahead of time… Read the rest on Damn Arbor

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