As CNN Medical Correspondent Judy Fortin discovered during her visit to Atlanta, PoleLaTeaz's flirty-fitness classes encourage self-confidence as much as toned muscles. Led by studio owner Angela Edwards and her staff of experienced instructors, sultry sessions range from introductory pole dancing to suspended yoga. Each class retains an all-female roster to further promote a comfortable environment. Before participants learn routines consisting of swings, swivels, and uncanny imitations of flagpoles, they also work to gain agility by practicing Pilates stretches.
As may be apparent by her name, studio director Ursula Undress is a student of both classical burlesque and its neoburlesque modern revival. At her studio, she puts together a curriculum that pays tribute to the history of sultry dance while also integrating its modern trends. Among the goals of the classes is for all women to learn to confidently swing their hips and master the subtle art of the tease—while striking up a renewed relationship with their inner temptress. Ursula and her fellow instructors also add variety to classes by integrating sexy hoop dancing, graceful ballet moves, or Latin-inspired dance forms, including salsa, cha-cha, and mambo. Students looking for a more intense workout can tone up through the studio’s go-go fitness classes that are aided by an upbeat pace and hefty gold-plated feather boas.
"The Tease." It's more than a series of scintillating maneuvers. It's a release. It's eye-popping, orchestrated doffing as an art form, and it's just a taste of the empowering and vociferous avenues chartered at The Atlanta School of Burlesque. Operated by a team of burlesque professionals who've mastered the craft of unleashing steam, the combination dance, fitness, and rehearsal studio acts as a magnet for women of all shapes, sizes, and demeanor hoping to unveil their inner starlet. Students not only explore their sexy side, they also gain physical fitness in the process, and encounter an entire community of encouraging, like-minded performers. Along the way, students learn the history of the burlesque art form and the bells and whistles of its theatrics, master the art of seduction while learning how to bump n' grind, and become experts in boa safety and proper fan-dance velocity.
The sounds of jazz, hip hop, and other contemporary genres fill the four large studios at Gotta Dance Atlanta's 9,000-square-foot facility. Instructors describe the dance and fitness center as a "home away from home" for dancers of all abilities, and it's not hard to see why. Beginners can learn how to cut a rug or mow a hardwood floor in "Explore" classes that require no prior knowledge of dance terminology. Even dancers who have already worked up to the professional level can find a class to match their style, be it salsa or ballet. Students of all abilities benefit from classes such as Awesome Abs and Cardio Hip-Hop, which use dance as a jumping-off point for fitness workouts that tone and shape the body.
Ten career women step into their hot shorts, high heels, and alter egos when teaching at Vertical Joe's. They go by monikers such as The Headliner and Sexy Locs, teaching pole dancing, twerking, Pilates, and cardio kick classes all while encouraging students to jettison their inhibitions. To create a comfortable atmosphere, the studio hosts groups of bachelorette partiers or girls-night-outers for private sessions that teach the techniques behind pole dancing, lap dancing, and sexy tax prep. Vertical Joe's brand of flirty fun has even made guest appearances on The Real Housewives of Atlanta and Braxton Family Values.