A spotlight shines on a man standing on stage ... alone and nude. He scans the crowd, realizing it's full of women ogling him with goofy grins.

It sounds like a bad dream, but for one Madison man, it's a dream job. Web page designer by day, exotic dancer by night, "Exotic George" raises women's heart rates nearly 200 times a year as he performs at bachelorette parties, "deer hunter widow" male dance revues and everything in between.

During his free time, George (a running back for the UW-Madison football team from 1988 to 1990) shares his sultry skill with local women of all ages - they've ranged from 20 to 70 - at his "Art of Erotic Dance" workshop at A Woman's Touch, 600 Williamson St. In three hours, George attempts to turn a roomful of run-of-the-mill women into belles of the bedroom.

Women attending his class don't remove an article of clothing, although George usually displays a skin-revealing routine for the group. He selects a student in a chair and shimmies toward, around and even over her as he peels away layers of his clothing, until his unseasonably bronzed bottom is clad in just a teeny thong. That's when George displays his signature move: the lap handstand, which positions his barely shielded genitalia directly in the woman's face.

Moves like these can't be taught to beginners in an afternoon, though. So George keeps his lessons basic, focusing on body awareness and self-confidence.

"I see the transition of confidence. I see it build" as the class progresses, he says.

The initial hesitation is undeniable among the students. But as George charms and encourages them, the women begin to flaunt their newly acquired talents.

For some women, this class is their first encounter with exotic dance. Other saunter-savvy students enroll to fine-tune their method.

One woman brought her 6-inch black patent leather spike heels to wear as she practiced. A pair of co-workers, who were less familiar with stripping, told their partners they were attending a class on line dancing. They planned to surprise their mates in a couple weeks, once they're comfortable lunging and writhing to music.

Clad in a pair of tight crushed velvet pants and a tiny white tank top, George led the group in a simple circular hip sway.

"Every type of dance comes from the hips," he says. "If you've got the hip movement down, you're almost there."

Much of the class's material was met with awkward laughter. George says it doesn't have to be uncomfortable. In fact, he incorporates humor into his routines to lighten up the audience.

"If there could be a stripping comedian, I'd do it," he says. And he encourages his students to approach the subject similarly. "When your partner laughs, laugh with them. It's fun - don't take this too seriously."

George, however, is serious about his art. He's set to release an exotic dance video that covers the basic moves taught in his classes.

After 10 years of experience as an exotic dancer and three years teaching his craft, he's captured the moves on "Just Between Us," being released this month. The video costs $19.95; go to www.exoticgeorge.com or call (608)235-6196 to order the video or to book George as a dancer.

"A lot of stuff out there is kind of pornographic," he says. "This won't be. It's tasteful and fun."

George makes it look easy, but there's a lot of hard work behind his gyrations. He has even hired a choreographer to help him master more advanced dance moves. That's led to experimentation with salsa steps and attempts at resembling Fred Astaire as he swivels to Sinatra.

"I think I'm unique in that (choreographer) aspect," he says. "Customer service is still important in my industry."

In fact, consideration of music type also led the class to discuss costumes for the big presentation. George suggested "dirty maid" get-ups, nurse uniforms or even a man's oversized collared shirt and tie.

"A costume really ties in the theme of the dance," he says.

The cost for the "Art of Erotic Dance" course is $35. Three spring sessions have been scheduled: The choices are 1 to 4 p.m. March 24, April 7 and April 21.

To register, contact A Woman's Touch at 250-1928.

Published: 9:27 AM 2/18/02

Laughter helps writer dance through class  

Stripping Classes