So, what did you do last Monday? Probably hopped on the train, got home, opened that bottle of red (and drank the whole thing by yourself), ordered from Seamless, and passed out at 10? No judgment here. Jury says: solid Monday. I, however, found myself twerking to Usher and posing, Flashdance-style, with a New York burlesque dancer.
I didn’t really know what to expect when I saw the New York School of Burlesque offered a Burlesque Booty workshop on Monday nights, but I was certain that I did not have such a booty and…I felt like that might be something I needed. Fortunately, for those of us whose assets lie elsewhere, every Monday night the New York School of Burlesque opens its doors to the poor, unfortunate souls who haven’t quite mastered the art of the reveal.
The more serious burlesque enthusiast can sign up for a series of classes and learn everything from the elementary booty drop to the more artistic pasty stylings. But for those of us who aren’t quite sure we want to commit to the full show, the school offers a series of one-night-only classes on a weekly basis. If you’re nervous about having to actually strip (as I was only slightly fearing…), Burlesque Booty is pretty tame. The class focuses mainly on the lower body, and is an intense workout incorporating burlesque, exotic dance, jazz, and Pilates. Typically the classes are hosted by Peekaboo Pointe or Gal Friday, two burlesque veterans with top training in Pilates, choreography, pole dancing, and, of course, burlesque. However, through the month of December guest instructor Nina La Voix is on hand to lend her ass-tastic skills.
Feeling relieved that no clothes actually needed to come off (I’ll have sex in public, but stripping actually terrifies me…go figure), I was able to relax and enjoy it more as a sexy dance class. Who couldn’t stand to be a little more sexy? Ms. La Voix is a booty master. Her various accolades include NYC’s Titan of Twerk and the BGirl of Burlesque. That’s like a PhD in booty, for us laymen. With a background in ballet, fitness, breakdancing, and burlesque, she’s also incredibly talented as a dancer, and the streaks of bright orange through her hair and the tattoo on her back set her up to be bad ass.
Sensing my hesitation to shake my groove thing (which I think is actually more akin to a groove thinglet), her first instruction was to really become comfortable with my own butt. This involved grabbing it, jumping up and down in front of the mirror, figuring out if I was more of a jiggler or a slow, circular grinder. Once I established my butt’s personality it was much easier to feel comfortable getting into the routine. You can’t force your butt to be something it’s not.
For the next hour Nina took me through some basic burlesque moves — running your hands slowly up your own leg, moving your butt in a circle, a subtle twerk, finding your way to the floor to pose like the female silhouettes on the back of truck mud flaps, and then the big finale: rolling onto your back, legs in the air and jiggling dat ass for all to see!
(This is supposed to be the moment that drives the “crowd” wild, but personally I felt more like a crab turned upside down than an object of desire. Nina, however, was kind enough to say I was doing an awesome job.)
If you want to really explore your inner burlesque dancer, the school also offers a Flirting with Burlesque class on Thursdays that focuses on bumps, grinds, shimmies, and chair dancing. And if you are really serious about honing your skills, you can go big or go home at The Essential Burlesque Series, a four-week series covering everything from flirting with a boa, peeling a glove, twirling tassels, and more. This class is taught by the School’s Headmistress, Jo Weldon.
I’m not quite sure I’m ready for that, but I’ll certainly take a break every now and then from my typical Monday night of passing out on the couch with the remote still in my hand, Chinese food container dangerously poised on my lap — this certainly felt a whole lot sexier than that.