Tuesday, 13 April 2010

The First Class: Shimmys and Grinds!

After being kindly dropped off by a friend at the funky bar where the class was being held, I made my way downstairs to their 'secret bar' which would be our studio for the next 8 weeks. As me and two other nervous looking ladies heaved the metal doors open, we were engulfed by plumes from the smoke machine in the tiny low-lit room and deafened by hot swing tunes coming from the DJ booth. It was the perfect atmosphere. There were ten of us in the group and we all gathered around a nearby table as our charismatic, funny and perfectly curvy instructor (decked out in a super cute pastel pink 50's halter dress) introduced herself. For the purposes of this blog, I'll refer to her as B. Before we knew it, we were on our feet (in flats) and in the smoke warming up, shaking out our legs and arms and doing a relaxation exercise. This soothed any nerves I had and also made me realise quite how confident you can feel when you are shrouded in semi-darkness and the music is loud. Next, came actual moves, for which we needed heels. This lesson was all about learning our first set of traditional burlesque moves- B stood out in front demonstrating perfectly and being encouraging while we got to copy to the music. After mastering the figure 8 hip swings I already felt like Bettie Page and couldn't have been more excited when we were to be shown officially how to shimmy! From this, to mini grinds and hip bumps, when we weren't all laughing we felt like we were getting it. After mastering the set of moves individually, we put them all together to some vintage swing music. Before I knew it, the hour was up and were sat around the table again, with B congratulating us on our first burlesque routine and setting us our homework: to put on our favourite music and practice the moves. I emerged from the smoke of the studio into the sunlight outside on a high, still wearing my heels and grinning madly. I haven't stopped grinning since I got home and I fully intend on doing my homework at every given opportunity...

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