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A woman paints a glowing, neon artwork
Photograph: Paint For Fun

Best arty classes in Melbourne this month

Try something new and build your art chops at the same time with the best art, craft, music and dance classes on offer this month.

Written by Bianca O'Neill
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Want to fill your diary with something other than gym sessions, or simply keen for a fun night out with a twist? Well, look no longer: we've pulled together all our favourite arty classes on offer in Melbourne this month that can entertain as well as inspire. From free beginners salsa classes to mastering glow-in-the-dark painting and some slick new Bollywood moves, you'll be tickling your creative bone in no time.

Check out the best of the bunch below. Bring a friend or ride solo, but remember – if you don't share your masterpiece on socials, it didn't really happen...

RECOMMENDED: Try our list of the best pottery classes in Melbourne

Best arty classes to try in Melbourne this month

Always wanted to channel a prima ballerina? Now you can, with the Australian Ballet's new adult casual ballet classes, run by former and current dancers at the company and set to a live piano soundtrack.

Simply choose your poison: Beginner, intermediate or advanced? Full series ($160) or casual classes ($33)? Either way, you'll be perfecting your pirouette in no time.

Bianca O'Neill Arts & Culture Editor

Ever wanted to star in your own Bollywood film? Head to Studio J, where you can learn the basics of Bollywood dance styles like Bolly-Natyam and Bharatanatyam almost every night of the week. Choose a casual class to kick off your Bollywood dream, or sign up for a ten week course to project yourself into Shane Warne-style stardom. We can't promise anything, though.

Bianca O'Neill Arts & Culture Editor
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  • Things to do
  • Classes and workshops
  • Brunswick

This Brunswick artist-run studio specialises in ceramics and visual arts. At their pottery short courses, students are not only encouraged to work the wheel, they can also learn to create sculptural objects using hand-building techniques. The studio’s instructors are amazing artists whose work are often found in the city’s best craft shops, so you’ll be learning from the best.

  • Things to do
  • Melbourne

Can’t tell one left foot from the other? Try a free salsa class and soon you’ll be twirling like a Latin American natural. At The Salsa Foundation, the beginners classes are free, until you progress to the next level of either salsa or bachata. Paid private lessons are available, too.

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The world may be getting more online and digital, but old-school circus skills will never stop thrilling audiences. If you’ve ever hankered to learn how to juggle, walk the tightwire or swing from a trapeze, your chance has arrived with a session at the National Institute of Circus Arts’ Come & Try Circus Day – or just dive right into their five week Intro To Circus course.

Bianca O'Neill Arts & Culture Editor
  • Things to do
  • Classes and workshops
  • Melbourne

Learning a new instrument as an adult is a hard task. For one, instruments are hella expensive, meaning you often have to shell out a small fortune for something you’re not even sure you’ll be that good at. Enter: the Music Gym.

The Music Gym is an initiative created by music teacher Catherine Prifti. Having been immersed in music for over two decades, Prifti has honed her skills as a pianist, conductor and teacher. She came up with the idea of letting adults learn new skills in a convenient location where you can squeeze in a class during your lunch break, before or after work.

Keen participants can sign up for voice, piano and guitar lessons at the Music Gym. Here you'll be able to learn basic skills (or brush up on old skills) with state-of-the-art instruments and expert teachers at your side. Classes can be purchased at a casual one-off rate, or be put into 10-pack, three-month, six-month and 12-month subscription rates.

You’ll find the Music Gym at Melbourne’s Galleria, at the intersection of Bourke, Elizabeth and Little Collins streets.

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  • Things to do
  • Collingwood

Slow Clay Center offers classes and workshops for beginners to pottery experts in a beautiful Collingwood warehouse. The studio specialises in ergonomically sound Japanese techniques, which encourages students to work efficiently and with correct posture as they learn to work with clay. The practice can be so relaxing that students at Slow Clay sometimes call it clay yoga, so how’s that for mindfulness. Classes are run in eight week terms, so you’ll need to register ahead to ensure you have a spot.

  • Things to do
  • Classes and workshops
  • Collingwood

If you've always wanted to have a crack at painting, but you’ve never had the courage to sign up for a class, now is the time to take the plunge with Cork & Chroma. This Collingwood studio runs beginners’ painting sessions, fuelled by a healthy serve of wine.

The three-hour classes cater to novice painters looking to create surrealist dreamscapes or work on life-like strokes with acrylics on canvas. An in-house artist will take you through a step-by-step tutorial to help you paint a masterpiece to take home. And if you’re into grown-up grape juice, bring a bottle of your favourite vino to stoke those creative fires and help you laugh through any colourful mishaps.

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The Windsor Workshop
  • Art
  • Windsor

The Windsor Workshop is a creative space not only offering workshops, but also functioning as a gallery to show off local artists' work. They also run workshops offsite – from ikebana to ceramics, punch needling and more. In their own words, it's "a warm and fuzzy space where people collaborate, share ideas, work hard, slack off, be productive, get crafty, share a wine or two and anything else they can think of."

  • Things to do
  • Classes and workshops
  • Brunswick East

Northcote Pottery Supplies is the go-to spot for pottery pros to buy materials like clay, glazes, and tools, but they also offer short courses and workshops (ranging from four to eight weeks) to bulk up your pottery skills from wheel throwing to glazing. After a few pieces for the house? Northcote Pottery Supplies’ retail space Smallpieces sells ceramics and artwork from local artists and the studio’s alumni or studio residents.

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  • Things to do
  • Collingwood

When Chester Garcia and Matt Branagan set up Sydney’s Work-Shop in June 2013, their mission was simple: to help people unleash their creativity, and to offer short creative courses that didn’t cost a week’s pay.

And that’s what happened. In collaboration with artists and experts, Work-Shop has fostered whole new clans of Sydney unicyclists, Ottoman-makers, street artists, tattoo illustrators, rappers and coffee-shop networkers.

Here in Melbourne since late 2014, Work-Shop has become a firm favourite. Do you think you’ve got what it takes to learn the harmonica, create a next-level selfie on a 3D printer, or master sleight of hand at the How to be a Houdini workshop? Of course you do – everyone does. That’s the Work-Shop philosophy.

Want to learn more? Try these cooking classes

  • Things to do
  • Food and drink
  • Thornbury

Add some spice to your weekly cooking repertoire at Free to Feed, a social enterprise founded by community worker Loretta Bolotin and her husband Daniel Bolotin, where classes are run by refugees and asylum seekers. The instructors, for whom Free to Feed may be their very first job in Australia, come from diverse backgrounds from Syria to Sri Lanka, and they are all passionate about teaching Melburnians authentic dishes that they might cook at home themselves, such as Tamil curries and Iranian desserts. The teachers share stories of their experiences as refugees as they sit down to dinner with fellow cooks. Head to the Free to Feed website to check out your options.

Cost per class: from $99

La Cucina di Sandra
  • Things to do
  • Food and drink
  • Richmond

Teach us your ways oh Sandra, queen of Italian home cooking! Sandra del Greco is the master behind La Cucina di Sandra, intimate cooking classes set in Sandra’s own Richmond home. Her classes are set like dinner parties where you also watch the gracious host potter around the kitchen, dropping shopping and cooking tips – like what cuts to buy at the butchers or what sauces go with which pasta shapes. Sessions take four hours, finishing with participants sitting over a three-course meal from the day’s cooking. Classes include a session on Nonna-approved comfort food, Sicilian classics, and a seafood feast drawing from the North and South of Italy. Got mates who love cooking? We recommend gathering a group together for a private group class. Book your classes through the La Cucina di Sandra website

Cost per class: from $105

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The Essential Ingredient Cooking School
  • Things to do
  • South Yarra

Prahran Market’s famous cooking school is conveniently located in a treasure trove of great pantry ingredients and kitchen tools. The Essential Ingredient may be better known as the place to get fancy cooking supplies, but they’ve also been running their cooking school for close to 20 years. While in-person cooking classes are temporarily on hold, there are heaps of videos available on the site to walk you through some recipes that are sure to impress your friends.  

Cost: Free (online videos), in-person classes to resume shortly

CAE
  • Things to do
  • Melbourne

They say the best way to learn is by doing. Thankfully Centre for Adult Education’s (CAE) cooking classes is all about hands-on learning. Take part in comprehensive classes to learn a new cuisine (they teach anything from French to Indian) or perfect your favourite recipes. You can even brush up on essential kitchen skills from basic knife skills to more advanced techniques like curing, sous vide and confit. Head to the CAE website to browse your options. 

Cost: from $169.

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Relish Mama Cooking
  • Restaurants
  • Highett

When Nellie Kerrison started the Relish Mama cooking school in 2009, all she wanted was to share her kitchen prowess with more people. Now, her labour of love includes annual culinary trips to Italy, and a wide range of classes from guest instructors teaching vegetarian and vegan cooking classes to baking and dessert-making. Kerrison’s stress-free approach to cooking means that you won’t have to channel your inner MasterChef at home, she’s more than happy to dish out advice based on what kitchen set-up you already have at home. Head to the Relish Mama website to book in for a class. 

Cost: from $180.

Enoteca Sileno Cooking School
  • Things to do
  • Carlton North

Learn how to make wonderful Italian uncomplicated, home cooking at Enoteca Sileno. Master the basics of Italian cuisine from simple sauces to pasta and gnocchi making, and make a simple risotto confidently. Once you have the basics down pat, you can experiment at home with traditional Italian flavours. You can also try your hand at Italian dolce (dessert). There are so many different classes to choose from depending on your skills and budget, so head to the Enoteca website to browse your options. 

Cost: from $125.

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