Laughter helps writer dance through class

By Amanda Schuldt
Special to The Capital Times
February 18, 2002

"I'll try anything once," I told my editor.

For a moment I almost regretted uttering those words when she suggested I attend a Sunday afternoon course on the art of the striptease.

But it was too late to rethink my mantra, so off to class I went. With an open mind and a touch of a cynical smirk on my face, I met my classmates as we lowered ourselves to the floor for some pre-dance stretching.

A collective question, "What have we gotten ourselves into?" trailed through our thoughts, but "Exotic George," our instructor, quickly coaxed us to funnel our concentration on our movements. I felt more "tacky hula" than "exotic" as I tried to sway my hips with his instruction.

At first the students' movements were a bit rigid ... well, everyone but George, who seemed more than comfortable wiggling in his skin-tight velvet pants. It was almost as if George had become a child's toy and someone had yanked a string in his back, sending his hips moving wildly to the background music.

"Now throw one foot forward and keep moving," he instructed. Soon, we were attempting a semi-alluring walk and adding the movement of our arms. Sure, our goal was sexy. I felt silly.

Truth be told, though, the class was certainly improving. In George's words, we were each forming a certain individual flair. Next thing we knew, we were dropping to our knees in a dramatic flourish. Here's where I contracted a severe case of the giggles. You see, we were supposed to crawl seductively on the ground toward our imaginary partner - in this case, a vacant chair. Picture this: a group of women writhing on all fours like a bunch of mock tigers.

Then we broke into pairs to fine-tune our skills. I plopped into a chair as another student threw a foot beside my leg, wiggled for a while, then perfected George's "shark move," which sent her circling around me like a hungry hammerhead.

We switched roles and I tried my hand at quelling my instinctively spastic movements. This experience drives home George's insistence that humor exists in a good exotic dance. We couldn't help but laugh aloud.

It was amazing how empowered the women felt after their individual performances, though. Bravery was running rampant among the students, and some were geared up to run home and exhibit their new domineering attitude.

Despite the fact that I don't foresee exotic dancing in my future, I don't dispute that the women in attendance learned some new moves to make their mates swoon. But, hey, I can say I lived up to my mantra - and in doing so, I tried something I never would have had the guts to attempt before.


Published: 9:27 AM 2/18/02

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