There’s no clowning around at Esh Aerial Arts located at 33 Richdale Ave. near Cambridge’s Porter Square. However, there’s definitely a chance to go high wire. At the studio, students can get circus instruction and performance lessons to help them become more in sync with the way their body contorts and twists.
A trio—husband and wife, Roger and Ellen May, and pro aerialist Rachel Stewart–founded the circus-training studio. Though Esh stands for “fire” in Hebrew, there aren’t any fire breathing classes. So, don’t get it twisted. Juggling isn’t in the ring of classes either, but with hoops and high bars hanging sturdily from the ceilings, the Esh team teaches it all ranging from silk-fabric aerial and hoop acrobatics to wire walking and hand balancing.
Ellen May, who also holds aerial yoga classes, says people are often surprised by what they’re able to do. Excuses like, “I don’t have any upper body strength (or any strength anywhere)” or “I’m not really that flexible” don’t fly with Esh’s instructors. “We really pride ourselves in being able to break things down … we try to meet people on the level of where they are,” Stewart says.
Don’t fret, acrophobics. In mid-February, Esh expanded their teachings to include floor work and other acrobatic tricks that don’t involve heights. The weekly classes and staff instantly doubled. By the end of just one session with the trio, visitors could possibly learn the skills needed for Pink’s high-flying “Glitter in the Air” routine from her 2010 Grammy performance Then, you’d be the envy of all your friends.
The caveat: Roger May says circus work is addictive. “It’s one thing after another, after another,” he says. “The thing people gain here is confidence—confidence in themselves, and we’re happy to give that here.” – Angeline Vo