If you're looking to flex your literal muscles or rev your figurative creative engines this summer, then you might as well do something that's completely out of the ordinary. Luckily, Phoenix is home to places that offer captivating classes on topics and activities that you might never expect. Here are five classes and workshops that will leave you with a unique set of skills and/or newfound knowledge (as we like to call 'em, bragging rights).
Learn to blow glass Phoenix's Circle 6 Studios is a small glass-blowing studio that offers a space for glass artists of all levels to work on their art. Though many different classes are offered, "Intro to Glassblowing" is certainly ideal for beginners looking to learn about the craft and determine if it is something they'd like to pursue. The class is two hours long and costs $70. Bonus: You get to walk away with a piece of blown glass you created. As of this writing, the class is booked through June, but there are still openings available in July. See more information at www.circle6studios.com.
Learn about 3D printing Even for the most tech-savvy of people, there's always something new to master in the technological world. Gangplank Avondale, a working and gathering place for inventive folks, will offer a free workshop and demonstration of three-dimensional printing on Thursday, June 6, at 7 p.m. 3D printing is more or less exactly what it sounds like. A printer produces tangible items from digital origins. Intriguing, right? It's safe to say that there's a lot to learn here. More information at www.gangplankavondale.info.
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Learn to perform stand-up Being involved in a comedy scene isn't just for Chicago and New York. If you've ever wanted to solidify your identity as "the funny friend", sign up to have a Valley professional show you the ropes. The Comedy Spot in Scottsdale offers classes in stand-up comedy, where everything from developing material to handling yourself in front of an audience is covered. The classes meet weekly for three hours, and there's a fee of $100 per month. More information is available at www.thecomedyspot.net.
Learn synchronized swimming If you're bored with yoga or can't stand its sweaty aftermath during the summer, "water dancing" is an activity that will still make you feel graceful. It seems like a hell of a workout, too. The Arizona Desert Dolphins Synchronized Swim Team offers a "masters program" for those 18-and-over who are interested in learning the basics of the sport. The class meets from 7:30 to 9 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Skyline Aquatics Center in Mesa. Participation costs $20 per month. You'll find more information at www.azdolphins.com.
Learn about medicinal plants Local desert plants present a unique opportunity to learn about the practice of tincture. The Valley Permaculture Alliance will offer such a workshop called "Medicinal Plants of the Southwest" on Thursday, June 13, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Attendees will learn a variety of remedies drawn from desert plants and leave with a sample for their own use. The workshop will be held at the VPA Offices and cost $15, plus an additional $12 to cover materials. More information at www.phoenixpermaculture.org/events.