Natalie Smith needed some excitement in her life, which at that point merely consisted of performing as a professional ballet and hip-hop dancer, posing as a model, and balancing atop speeding motorcycles as a stuntwoman. After stumbling across a segment about pole dancing on the Oprah Winfrey show, she decided to spice things up a bit and dive headfirst into the fun yet demanding exercise form. She lost 25 pounds in two months, inspiring her to open her own studio—where she draws upon her experience in dancing and cheerleading to lead classes that span the sultry workout spectrum from pole routines to booty boot camp. The studio boasts 30 poles and 5,000 square feet of floor space, evoking the feeling of walking into a chrome forest—which is an experience similar to walking into the Redwoods after governor Schwarzenegger's controversial act to silver plate every tree. In the studio, Natalie and her team of certified instructors—twirling under a hot pink tin ceiling.—lead spins, climbs, and drops during lessons and private parties. They welcome ladies of all ages and builds to the women-only locale, which offers bed tanning to supplement its body-toning programs.
At the new Pole Worx location, classes are held in one of three new classrooms that house over 33 different poles. The new location also has two changing room and two tanning beds.
Jazzercise is 60 minutes of cardio, strength training, and stretching that incorporates moves from hip-hop, yoga, Pilates, jazz dance, kickboxing, and resistance training with handheld weights. Dancing with the Stars multiple-champion Cheryl Burke is a big fan of Jazzercise's improvisational workouts, though luckily you won't need her dance moves to get the most out of your class. If you're prone to first-class jitters, though, you can review the basic moves online before you go. Expect to burn off up to 500 calories with each go-round.
Bodies turn and twirl in the air, suspended from the rafters with colorful silks. Whether during a performance or class, the staff and students of Voler–Thieves of Flight Aerial Academy inspire awe with aerial dance and acrobatics. The academy’s professional ensemble includes ballet and modern dancers, along with circus artists, all of whom add their skills to lofty choreography on swings, silks, and hoops. The Voler ensemble has also performed at more than 30 notable locations including the Kansas city and Chicago fringe festivals and the Kansas City Renaissance Festival.
The academy’s primary purpose is teaching, of course, and three levels of classes instruct participants on the finer points of contorting on silks and practicing spirals, suspension, and falls.
Moon Belly Dance Studio provides a positive and encouraging environment for women to learn to dance, love their bodies, and get fit during a variety of female-centric classes. With belly-dance, yoga, and ballet classes Tuesday–Saturday, ladies can learn undulating techniques, practice postures, and tone tummies during a 55-minute Beginning Belly Dance class, or focus on flexy hips and sexy sun salutes during 55 minutes of the Deep Stretch Yoga class. With class sizes of up to 25 ladies per session, belly benders will have the chance to get individual attention from the instructor to tweak techniques. Check the calendar to schedule sensual routines around preplanned robberies of sweat-pants stores.
Work It, Girl! Dance Fitness’s owner, Sandy, wasn’t initially convinced that pole dancing could translate to an effective exercise routine. She first encountered the sensual workout while watching a morning health show, and she immediately recognized some of the spins and moves from her days as a gymnast. So, with intrigue and reservations equally in tow, she journeyed to the nearest pole-fitness studio—one located 100 miles away—to see what all the fuss was about. After her first class, she was fully on board. She found everything about pole dancing to be infectious, from the sense of empowerment she experienced while twirling around the pole to the intense strength and cardio exercises that left her breathless after each workout.
Today, Sandy’s own pole-fitness studio introduces women of all ages and abilities to the liberating workout that got her hooked on fitness. Sandy’s team of certified instructors helps students spin and twirl through classes that incorporate sexy pole and chair techniques that are sure to spice up boring bus commutes. They also groove to Latin-inspired tunes during Zumba Toning classes and build cardio endurance during interval-based Turbo Kick kickboxing classes.