“I encountered a group of ladies dancing away in heels, all with big smiles and a twinkle in their eye. Apparently this is an epidemic, once you have been to the class a few times your confidence spirals out of control and you cannot stop the euphoria that overtakes you”
I am one of those people who love to dance yet are terrible at anything that involves the sequence of movements in a synchronised group, simply because half way through I lose all confidence and suddenly become a shrinking violet. The mind can be one’s own worst enemy, or my GABA receptors are simply putting on the brakes. Either way, if you are determined enough you can learn to do anything in a conducive environment.
So last Wednesday I decided I would get some courage and join in the Hereford Burlesque dance class taught by Sophie Kay Armstrong on the top floor of the beautiful Dutch Inspired De Koffie Pot. Before I begin my comical but enlightening tale, I have to mention that Sophie is a hard working female entrepreneur in our little shiny city. She also runs the Strictly Hereford social dance nights that often include exotic dance styles such as Salsa and Tango. On top of that she also runs Sin Palace, Pink Elephant Circus and the Wye Circus! I am exhausted just from mentioning them…what an admirable lass indeed.
If you click on the links you can learn all about these wonderful classes and events. Join her communities so you don’t miss out on any of the latest news. She is working hard to bring a new variety of entertainment and culture to Hereford and it is all very exciting for a change.
On the day I joined the Burlesque class, I was at the end of a day which consisted of running from one meeting to the next in unpredictable weather and was at my wits end. I was anxious and slightly intimidated by what lay ahead for me. As soon as I reached the last step of the top floor in De Koffie Pot where the courses were being held, a sensation of calm hit me like a brick wall.
“Really one can take it as far as they desire but it is all about the build up, a seduction of the mind. When a female is in control and uses her feminine assets with elements of psychology to tease a male she is in control and empowered which men find sexy”
When I entered the sunlit room, which was converted into a dance studio for the occasion, I encountered a group of ladies dancing away in heels, all with big smiles and a twinkle in their eye. Apparently this is an epidemic, once you have been to the class a few times your confidence spirals out of control and you cannot stop the euphoria that overtakes you. Probably a combination of endorphins and confidence building as a result of picking up some pretty sexy dance moves. I shuffled over in my flat ankle boots, which by now I had forgotten about due to receiving a very gracious and enthusiastic welcome from Sophie and her students, and got to work.
Once I managed to unglue my gaze from the Wye River calmly flowing under the Old Bridge bathed in the evening sunlight – possibly the best view I have experienced in Hereford – I got to tapping these feet of mine to the soulful jazzy tunes. “One…Two…Three …step”! I was getting the hang of it right away, so I thought. Things would later change. Luckily there was a new student next to me and we were giggling like school girls while trying to keep in time with the other girls, and trying not disturb Sophie’s excellent instruction.
I have to say, and I don’t get paid for this, she is an excellent teacher. You feel comfortable because she knows how to communicate with her students on a one on one level. This of course is important because new students arrive regularly, perhaps feeling they will never catch up, but that is not the way it works. The girls are so engrossed in their progress and the music, they are happy to allow Sophie some one on one time with the new kids on the block, or in the converted stables in this case.
After various easily manoeuvrable dance moves on our feet, it was time to take out the props. The hats came out, followed by thigh high stockings and chairs, all ready for the chair dance routines. The moves were feminine and seductive, I was almost too embarrassed to perform them to begin with, but following in the lead of my very patient fellow Burlesque students who were so confident they were actually instructing me, I continued without any fear…until I kicked the girl ahead of me in the shoulder. Oh the horror! She paid no notice, and kept going…she spoke to me afterwards even. Close call!
My point is, these classes are friendly, open-minded and attended by real women who are there to support each other and obviously get a lot out of it. You can certainly make a great group of friends even if you are a wallflower. Almost impossible not do so, these ladies are really lovely! Then there is Sophie who is a patient instructor, and whose passion for the craft is contagious. There is no atmosphere for insecurity to cultivate. By the end of it you get a great work out and a new found confidence. Some girls have really lost a lot of weight doing the burlesque dance class without noticing because they were so busy enjoying themselves. What a bonus!
Burlesque is often associated with taboo culture and greatly misunderstood due to its use of striptease in variety shows. Really one can take it as far as they desire but it is all about the build up, a seduction of the mind. When a female is in control and uses her feminine assets with elements of psychology to tease a male she is in control and empowered which men find sexy. There is no doubt in my mind that if these ladies have partners, they too are benefiting from Sophie’s burlesque classes.
To enroll in the Hereford Burlesque dance classes