Burlesque Dancing

Discover your inner Dita von Teese and tone your body to boot.
Why Aren't They Happy For Me

Generally speaking, exercise only makes you feel sexy after you've finished your workout. One major exception: Burlesque dancing. This beginner-friendly form of sensual dance not only gives you a good workout, it also makes you feel like a siren while you're doing it. No wonder it's so popular that classes are available in cities from Fort Worth, TX to Richmond, Va, and from Seattle, WA to New York City.

The original burlesque dancing dates back to the 1840s, when showgirls on stage would wear corsets, high heels and very little else, and dance provocatively for the male audience. In recent years, burlesque has made a comeback here in American and in the UK, thanks in part to New Burlesque icon Dita von Teese and the musical act Pussycat Dolls, which was originally a burlesque group.

What To Expect

“My approach is really about building inner confidence,” says Gwendoline Lamour, a trained actor who performs high-end burlesque shows around the world for celebrities like Elton John. “My classes really focus on learning how to project your sexiness, how to use your body to control how you are feeling and how you are perceived, as well as learning techniques that are used in burlesque, like taking off gloves sexily.”

Beyond getting a confidence boost and a lesson in the art of seductive moves, you'll get an all-over workout. “Over four weeks, we teach different routines, all about looking sexy, confident, flirtatious and feminine," says Katja Gardiner, who runs burlesque classes for Polestars in the United Kingdom. "At the end of a class, you will feel like you’ve worked your core muscles, glutes and legs, as balancing in heels and moving in controlled ways will make you sweaty."

Once you find a class in your area (a quick Internet search should do the trick!) check with your instructor as to what will be provided and what to bring along – most are fine with yoga clothes and pumps, although some suggest bringing your own high heels, stockings and basques. "We provide props such as crops and feather fans for those attending," says Gardiner. "Most women who come find it really good fun, and go out laughing, as they’ve pushed their boundaries."

Ready to unleash your inner showgirl?

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