When Emily sent me the class description, my immediate thought was, “We must do this. Either it’s going to be so wonderfully awful that we’ll laugh about it or it will be so dreadfully fun that we’ll laugh about it. Either way, laughter is guaranteed to ensue.”
The line snaked down the sidewalk, all women, of all varieties. Shy, quiet, girl-next-door fresh faced brunettes. Tragically hip women sporting velour sweats and kohl rimmed eyes. Older women with smart short hair cuts and sensible shoes. Tattooed women with multiple piercings and visually shocking hair. Hippy girlfriends with long unruly locks curling down their peasant bloused backs. And us.
The doors opened a few moments before 11 and we climbed the stairs to the dance studio on the 2nd floor. Once in, Miss Indigo Blue, in red bandana covering her pigtails, obscene rhinestones gracing her earlobes, instructed us to get bare foot and spread out. Her sweet voice and spunky demeanor put us all at ease. She began by teaching us bumps and hip rolls. “Bigger! Bigger!” she encouraged, “Make your butt fill the room!”
Next came the art of the shimmy. “Society’s constantly holding us in. A bra to keep your boobs in place. Being told to tighten your butt. Not here. In burlesque if you’ve got it, shake it.” And she instructed us, step by step, how to make our breasts reverberate, no matter what the size.
Next came tutelage in the sexy walk, both with high heels and without. “Step, pause. I want to see big hips. Huge. Knock over a glass of water on the table with those hips. Bigger! Bigger!” she admonished us. We walked across the room in 3 lines, bumping, twisting, undulating, and surprisingly, comfortable. There was no tension in the air, no uncomfortable, these women from all different walks of life smiling and laughing as we sashayed past each other, embracing our inner burlesque diva.