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I Tried It: Burlesque Fit


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Photo by Jenny Siegwart

You Try It!

Glitter Tribe Studios
3052 Clairemont Drive, Clairemont
Single class $15; reserve online

Glitter Tribe is the first dance studio in San Diego dedicated to the art of burlesque, where the teachers are leading ladies in the local burlesque community, with names like Ginger N. Whiskey and Lola Demure.

Founder Coco L’Amour, a former hip-hop dancer turned pinup model, explains that while classic burlesque entails a lot of posing à la Dita Von Teese, she’ll be teaching us “neo-burlesque,” which incorporates aerial arts, singing, and contemporary dance. (In my class, we neither sung nor took flight.) “People come for the fitness, but I’m pushing self-expression, confidence, and feeling beautiful,” Coco says. “You can be any age, gender, size, and [that confidence-building is] what makes people stay.”    

Burlesque Fit actually begins with fitness—jumping jacks and mountain climbers, before some suggestive (rump-out) stretching. About thirty minutes in, some of the students put on two-inch heels as we turn our focus toward the performance aspect. We begin strutting, hip grinding, and pivot turning with a bump of the hips. Coco urges us not to be self-conscious, explaining that any resulting jiggle is a good thing: Calling attention to one’s body is the beauty of burlesque.

I’ve never focused so much on my anatomy before. In ballet, you’re concerned with angles, not body parts. In fact, you’re trying to minimize yourself—but burlesque is all about maximizing.

“Show the girls,” Coco instructs, arching her back. “It’s all about the T and A.” I have no choice but to strut my stuff. And it’s all but required to whoop it up for our classmates. I can’t help smiling—even the most cynical person would have a hard time not feeling uplifted.

I appreciate the supportive atmosphere, but I won’t be adopting the name Dixie Honey anytime soon. I’m too tied to my classical ballet roots. But if you prefer fishnets and heels to pink tights and slippers, Glitter Tribe might be just the place to get in touch with your wild side.

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