Back to the exotic dance class. This time I wanted to talk with the class instructor, Althea Lawton-Thompson, owner of Aerobics, Yoga & More Fitness & Dance Studios in Stone Mountain, Georgia.
After decades of glum, repetitive, force-myself-to-go workouts, I deserved this shot of exuberance that restored my faith in the power of a good workout class. Here was one that combined the beauty of dance with a playful naughtiness to chase my cares, woes and cellulite into someone else’s backyard. And unlike my actual childhood, I’m not relegated to the bench, but in the game with a delightful gang of playmates dancing and bumping to the big bass thumping.
So how did Althea become the captain of my favorite team on the playground?
“We decided to put Exotic Dance on AYM’s schedule because we wanted to do something fun, liberating and effective for strength and agility” says Althea. “We wanted AYM to be different than all of the other gyms and studios around us. Our Exotic Dance class is classy, tasteful, and incorporates all styles of sexy movement - Latin, Caribbean, Belly Dance, and Hip Hop/Video.”
Well, you said it sister – fun, liberating, and effective. The high heels do make some of the moves easier, but are they helping? And how does it affect, you know, my bottom line?
“This workout incorporates all of the core muscles in the abdomen and back as well as the large muscles of the thighs and legs” explains the leader we follow gladly and devotedly. “The Belly Dancing and some of the Video Dance routines also include major arm movements to tone the shoulders and upper arms. By wearing high heels, the calves, thighs and gluteal muscles are toned through squatting, bending and slow walking.”
Maybe now you’re interested, curious, and willing, but have yet to put your pumps, workout gear and chutzpah in the car and head for the party, or workout (call it what you will,) because you need that extra tug. Allow me to fling my feather boa around your waist and pull you in so you can get your backfield in motion with the rest of us. Or better yet, I’ll ask Althea to describe what you’re missing.
“What's so amazing is that every kind of woman you can imagine participates,” Althea assures me. “Our classes typically have women as young as 22 and as mature as 73. All ethnicities and races and religions are prancing around a chair in 2-4 inch heels together as one... and having a great time doing it! Tall, short, thick, thin, rhythmic and uncoordinated - we're all there together gettin' our groove on.”
Thank you, Althea. I’ll see you soon. Oh, are the rest of you still here? You better get going and get a good spot. I’ll be in front working out my booty deluxe – ‘the whole club is lookin’ at her!’ Yeah!