Burlesque at the AC

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(Photo by Nick Lachance)

On Tuesday night, the recreational dance program at the Laurier Athletic Complex held its first-ever burlesque class.

An emerging trend in dance and fitness, classes like burlesque are increasingly popular as they offer women an artistic and sensuous alternative to a traditional work-out regime.

Instructor and fourth-year communication studies student, Monica Gold, first proposed the idea of teaching a burlesque class at Laurier after attending a similar class in Toronto this past summer. Over Facebook, Monica posted a status to gage interest levels.

“I was hypothetically speaking, would people take a Burlesque class, if you know I taught it?” said Gold.

Overwhelmed by the positive response, Gold was approached by the AC’s dance coordinator who arranged to run the class on a trial basis this semester.

Along with burlesque, Gold teaches acro at the AC, is member of the competitive dance team, and will be competing with Alias at the Ontario University Competition for Hip Hop (OUCH)

Nervous about a class where the required materials were high-heels, Gold eased the class into the burlesque style of dance with a light, yet sensual warm-up. She then instructed everyone to put their heels on to strut across the floor.

At first many participants were wary because it’s not often that women get to strut their stuff without fear of being judged. However, after the first few tentative walks, everyone’s apprehensions melted away as Gold encouraged the class to channel their inner divas.

“Everyone has a little girlicious side to them, or their Sasha Fierce as Beyonce might say,” explained Gold.      “And you know it’s just a good way to let off some steam in like a really fun environment while promoting good self-esteem and confidence.”

Following the across the floor portion, Gold taught a short routine to Beyonce’s “Naughty Girl.” Many girls wore their heels for the entirety of the class, however, some, probably fearing a broken ankle, took theirs off.

Gold’s energy and enthusiasm was infectious throughout entire class. Cognizant of everyone’s varying levels of experience, the class was suitable for everyone, even those who consider themselves beginners.

Participant and fourth-year communication studies student Jennifer Nahabedian said “I took this class because I love to dance and I think that this is a great opportunity to find my alter-ego aka Sasha Fierce.”

Third-year biology student Brigitte Hudy piped in saying, “I think it’s a good way for girls to open up and feel very secure about themselves and their sexuality and self-esteem.”

The energy level was noticeably different as everyone left the class a little more confident, albeit sore, from dancing around in heels.

Held every Tuesday night from 10-11 p.m., each drop-in class is $7 with the option of registering for all eight classes for $40.

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