Learn a new skill in the new year! Whether you’d like to learn how to shake your tail feathers or how to create something neat, it seems there’s a class for just about anything you can imagine. (For a wealth of classes around the state, check out maineadulted.org.) Here are few possibilities that piqued our interest.
1. Learn to throw clay
Throw some clay this year! Portland Pottery has adult classes where you can learn all about clay, wheel-throwing techniques, hand building and the process of glazing and firing. And you’ll get to take home finished pieces you can be proud of—because you made ‘em. Sessions run for eight weeks and cost $265. Cost includes a three-hour weekly class, 50 pounds of clay, studio glaze and slips, firing, open studio time and discount workshops. A four-week half session is $165 (portlandpottery.com).
2. Learn to metalsmith
Make something wonderful and wearable during the Beginner Metalsmithing Bracelet One-Day Workshop on Feb. 3 at Artascope Studios in Yarmouth (artascope.com). You’ll make your own bracelet from start to finish and learn basic metalsmithing skills, such as cutting, shaping and soldering. Cost is $79 plus a $25 materials kit. Artascope has a range of classes for the creatively minded. Or check out classes at Open Bench Project (obportland.org), a maker space in Portland. There’s a four-week Smithy Class: Make Your Own Forever Flower, in which you’ll make your own flower out of never-wilting steel. Classes begin Jan. 3. Cost is $219. (Also check out the Intro to Woodworking class on Jan. 7.)
3. Learn to ski
January is Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month (skiandsnowboardmonth.org) and many ski resorts offer discounts for beginner lessons and rentals. And once you get the hang of things, you can ski or snowboard all winter long at Maine’s mountains. Lost Valley in Auburn has a $65 two-hour intro lesson that includes a lift ticket and rentals (lostvalleyski.com). Sunday River’s three-hour lesson, $59 midweek, $89 weekend, includes rentals and a beginner lift ticket for Sundance Surface Lift and South Ridge Express (sundayriver.com).
If cross-country is more your speed (all the snowy fun, fewer chairlifts) there are lessons offered around the state. Check out the Outdoor Discovery School at L.L.Bean in Freeport, Pineland Farms in New Gloucester and Bethel Village Trails at Bethel Inn Resort.
4. Learn to dance
Sometimes it feels good to dance with wild abandon (and by all means do so every chance you get). If you’d like to learn something a little more structured—with legit steps and/or choreography—consider taking a beginner dance class. Casco Bay Movers offers adult beginner jazz, tap, hip hop and ballet classes (cascobaymovers.com). Portland Swing Project has beginner Lindy hop, 6-count swing and Charleston classes on Tuesday nights at Mechanics Hall Ballroom, and Thursday Night Stomp at Maine Ballroom (portlandswingproject.com). Or check out Bachata, belly dance and ballet basics at Bright Star World Dance, also in Portland (brightstarworlddance.com).
5. Learn improv
Hone your stand-out sense of humor and learn the power of the “yes…and” with an Improv 101 class this winter at Fresnel Theater in Portland (thefresneltheater.org). During the seven-week session, you’ll learn the five tenets of improv (think “Whose Line is it Anyway”) and how they apply to performance and real-world situations! Taught by Matthew Russell, Fresnel Theater’s creative director, there are two sessions to choose from: Saturdays 2–4 p.m. and Tuesdays 6:30–8:30 p.m. Both sessions begin the week of January 26. Cost is $200.