Recently, my pal Danielle convinced me to take a class called Cardio Tease and Tone at Tease Studio (1111 South Pearl Street), which offers pole classes and Pussycat Dolls-style burlesque workshops. "It's for toning all the parts you tease with," Danielle explained. As a burlesque dancer, this appealed to me, but I'm also a burlesque historian, and I've got some animosity toward modern stripping and the pole, since its invention in the 1960s helped kill the old-fashioned tease of burlesque. Reluctantly, I made a date with her to check it out.
I arrived to discover, to my horror, that I had mistakenly signed up for Tease, Tone and Pole. Even worse, Danielle had to work late. I was on my own, in a pole class. Swallowing my panic, I paid the $15 drop-in fee. I started to get into the workout and relaxed. Then I looked toward the mirror. Watching my feet swing past my ass, I recalled the few uncomfortable visits I'd made to strip clubs and remembered this move, which showcases a stripper's naughtiest bits. Suddenly, it wasn't just the cardio making me sweat.
The instructor, Raine, walked me through some pole basics. It reminded me of being a kid, swinging around poles on the playground. Other motions were much more adult, including the move most likely responsible for the term "pole humping." I felt my face go into full blush.
Why can I mimic the bump-and-grind movements of the '50s and spin tassels on my nipples, yet still be embarrassed while performing more modern erotic moves? I relate more to the teasing, play-acting sensuality of burlesque. Modern strip motions are too blatantly sexual for me.
After several unsuccessful attempts to launch myself around the pole, I stopped to watch a classmate who had some pole experience. Though far from a pro, she was having a ball in her six-inch stripper heels, throwing her legs into the air and soaking up Raine's heartfelt encouragement. Suddenly I understood how the class could make someone feel as sexy and powerful as burlesque makes me feel.
That doesn't mean I'll be swinging on a pole again anytime soon, but I get why someone might dig it. Check out the full Tease schedule at www.tease-studio.com or by calling 303-898-0535.
Starts: Aug. 1. Daily, 2007