In 2013, I’ve tried to do something new to me every month. Sometimes it’s as inane as a new cookie recipe (I know, things get crazy around my house!) other times it’s been things like trying a new sport like snowshoeing out, or traveling to a new city. For November, my “new thing” was something I’ve been curious about for a while: pole dancing class!
Stripper 101 runs daily at Planet Hollywood’s V Theatre in the Miracle Mile shops. It’s touted as a great activity for those looking for an activity to try for a bachelorette, and “is not your typical pole dancing class.” Unlike many other pole dancing classes around the country, it’s not a workout class, either. It’s more of an in between introduction to pole dancing and just an opportunity to let loose for an hour or so.
Incredibly nervous to do this alone, I tagged photographer Gaby Jeter to come along. I wasn’t sure what to expect, and to be honest – was a little skeptical that I would learn anything of substance. As Gaby and I entered to the Showgirl Bar, underneath and in between the spread go go boot wearing legs of a supersized exotic dancer, I wondered what was in store for us that afternoon.
Gaby and I shared some adult beverages at the bar to calm the nerves and chatted with other attendees. The seven women attending the class were of a range of ages from all over the world – some from the American south, others from Canada and yet others from as far as Europe. Most said they were just there to try something new. One woman said she was testing out to see if she wanted to attend pole dancing fitness classes full time in her home city, and one another woman was celebrating her 40th birthday!
The time came and we were ushered into the studio, cocktails in hand, down the cavernous back halls of V Theatre. All of us were wearing comfy workout clothing, as instructed. There was an opportunity to change if you had come directly from elsewhere and didn’t want to be wearing your gym clothes. While all of us had running shoes, some of us had brought high heels (including myself) just to see what it was like.
The moves taught differ from instructor to instructor, but on this day our instructor was Heather, a former dancer who now taught classes at Stripper 101 and in the homes of Las Vegas locals. She was friendly, open and very knowledgeable and encouraging.
With just seven of us, there was a lot of room to spread out, and we each got our own pole and leopard print chair in the mirrored dance studio. Apparently classes can get busy during weekends and holidays, so much so you might have to share a pole. If you have a large party of over eight friends, I would recommend asking for a private class.
Heather started us off with some body positive talk, telling us that stripteases and lap dances were more about feeling comfortable and having confidence, as opposed to what you knew/didn’t know. In other words, it’s not what you have – it’s how you use it!
We began with lap dances, practicing on empty chairs and learning an arsenal of moves to draw from for our “routines” and all sorts of tips in between, like that layers of clothing and eye contact are good. The moves ranged from tame to fairly risque, but there was nothing I felt uncomfortable doing.
We perfected our struts and stagewalks to great music, learned how to hold our posture correctly and how to pop it and drop it – there was even a mini lesson on the move of the moment, twerking! As we all relaxed and warmed up, the jokes and claps of encouragement for the other women in the class grew as the minutes flew by. It’s a great environment – you really have nothing to worry about if you are shy, or are attending the class alone.
The latter part of the class was dedicated to pole work. It’s amazingly fun to practice the (or at least the precursor to) moves done by pros on stages around the world. You’ll also probably get a bit of an upper body workout – a nice bonus!
Although you won’t come out of the class knowing how to do complicated moves like the Allegra Box Splits or the Bendy Diva Dive, many of us got minicalluses from trying out simpler moves like basic spins and the flying showgirl. Proof of our hard work!
At the end of the class, we all came out with our souvenir “Stripper 101 licenses” and a mini routine to practice. One that I later test drove with my husband. His official report? “I endorse Stripper 101 completely. Very pleased with what you learned there.” A pretty strong vote of confidence considering I normally cannot sustain attention for longer than 30 seconds without cracking up, let alone a 5 minute sexy dance routine.
I think that Stripper 101 was more a lesson in how to feel great about yourself, with the bonus of learning a thing or two to use with your partner in private. It would make a great group class for some ladies looking for a mid afternoon activity or way to start a bachelorette night out in Vegas, especially if those ladies are adventurous and open to trying something new.
What else did I learn? That I should probably work on my flexibility. And that I need to start adding to my playlist of striptease songs. But “Angel” by Massive Attack is a great place to start if you are searching for a song to practice to. ;)
Teamed up with Viator, Little Vegas Wedding can offer a special price of $34.99 for Stripper 101 (regular price starts at $39.99) at Planet Hollywood’s Miracle Mile shops. Classes run daily, and private group classes are available. It’s recommended you wear comfortable workout style clothing and running shoes, but bring heels if you are looking for an extra challenge or to add a bit of attitude to your moves. The class runs just over an hour, and Viator provides hotel pick up and drop off.
My tickets were comped by David Saxe Productions and Stripper 101, but the opinions and words in this article are my own. Special thanks to Gaby for attending and to Heather, our instructor, for being so patient!
Photos courtesy Stripper 101