Wonder Woman Wednesday: Miss Amy

Every Wednesday Burlesquercise features one of our fabulous clients and her Wonder Woman Story! Check out our weekly client testimonial and feature video!

Miss Amy

1) What drew you to Burlesquercise?

Having recently relocated to Calgary, I was having a hard time finding a dance “fit”. Having danced my entire life, I was going through dance withdrawal (it was awful - lol), and a friend told me about these amazing feathered ladies dancing at the Lilac Festival. I was so intrigued and couldn’t imagine what could possibly be better than dancing in feathers. I signed up for the next available class.

2) How long have you been taking classes?

I started in October 2016.

3) What facets of the classes do you enjoy most?

The dancing. The laughing. The costuming. The performing. Our Instructors- they are fabulous, and caring, and so skilled- not only in technique, but in warmly welcoming and encouraging everyone in the class. Above all else; the women, and the feeling of belonging to a pretty fantastic group of people. I consider it a privilege to dance next to each of them. I love the performances. I love putting together costumes, and the adrenaline rush that comes with smiling into bright lights and applause and dancing in that moment.

4) What benefits have you received since starting Burlesquercise?

My Benefits of Burlesquercise are twofold. First, I have expanded my group of friends, and the world (or our city at least) has become a smaller place. And second, Burlesquercise is something I do that is truly for me. It is my “break”, my “reset”, my way of “installing an update”. As a busy mom of three, “me time” is in short supply. Even though we work hard and dance hard, I always leave class feeling recharged and inspired.

5) Do you have any experiences or comments as to why classes have changed your life for the positive?

I began my first Burlesquercise class on the heels of completing cancer treatment. My hair had barely just begun to grow back after chemo, and I was exhausted from radiation treatments. I did not feel like myself, I did not look like myself. I felt as though my femininity had been stripped away- and I sure didn’t feel sexy- by any stretch. I was quite convinced that if cancer didn’t kill me, NOT dancing would (being a life-long dance junkie). So I danced anyway- despite how I felt. And I danced until I found myself again. This June I will dance in my third Gala. I have also danced twice with Burlesquercise at the Rocky Mountain Dance Grand Prix. So if being addicted to something can be a positive thing, I am certain this is it. And I have Burlesquercise to thank for that.

6) What would you tell people who are hesitant to try Burlesquercise?

What are you waiting for? If you’ve ever been even remotely inclined to dance and perform- or you used to love to dance but life got busy- or you feel out of shape- or you’re shy, or think you have two left feet... All those cliches about life being short, and changing in an instant are cliches for a reason- their thread of truth. Take a chance on dance. It’s a great workout, learning something new is refreshing, step out of your comfort zone and you’ll begin to see the world around you in a whole new light... that’s where the magic happens... before you know it you’ll check your worries at the door, you’ll have fun, and very likely find yourself returning again and again. It will lengthen your life, boost your sense of self, and leave you wondering why you didn’t do it sooner.

7) If you are a veteran what keeps you coming back?

See 3, 4, 5, 6, and 8.

8) How do you feel about yourself since starting classes?

Excited. Happy. Enthusiastic. Proud.

 9) What is your age? 

44

Wonder Woman Wednesday: Miss Laverne

Every Wednesday Burlesquercise features one of our fabulous clients and her Wonder Woman Story! Check out our weekly client testimonial and feature video!

Miss Laverne

What drew you to Burlesquercise?

What drew me to Burlesquercise was the movie Burlesque. I wanted to dance like those women. I had skated in Ice Capades at age 19 and danced in University, and I missed performing and the costumes.  

What benefits have you experienced from being a part of Burlesquercise?

Dance is my escape. It's exercise, brain challenging, fun and above all has kept me feeling young. Each year is a gift and keeping fit and mobile is necessary! Motion is lotion and  dance keeps the brain healthy.

I love the challenge of learning a new dance each course I take and I force myself to get way out of my comfort zone. 

How long have you been doing Burlesquercise?

6 yearsI registered for a level 1 class and I was on my way! Now I am in Level 5!

What is your age?

60

What would you say to someone who is considering taking a class?

I tell people to take a chance on these classes. You never know until you try! Nobody judges and it's truly a Sisterhood of dancing maniacs that love what they do! The teachers are fantastic, supportive and so much fun!

Miss Rhonda

burlesquercise-calgary-reviews-rhonda.jpg

I am so grateful to Di and everyone at Burlesquercise! 

I joined in September of 2014 by myself. I had no dancing background other than 3 years of belly dancing lessons. I was at a low period in my life. My husband of 22 years left me in 2013 and my self esteem and self confidence were very low. I was intrigued by Burlesquercise and wanted to build myself back up. I wanted to learn to love myself again, feel sexy, and hopefully make new friendships. Wow!!! I got all of that and so much more!! I relearned my vowels while touching my body! I felt like I was in a herbal essence commercial! I became a part of an amazing Sisterhood, with loving, supportive, encouraging, fun and talented new friends. I knew that no matter how rough my week was emotionally that when I arrived at class I was GUARANTEED to laugh and have fun! 

I have had many firsts since I joined Burlesquercise. I stretched my comfort zone and have grown so much. 

Words truly cannot express my gratitude!

Miss Donna

Dance is quite possibly one of the few times in my life that has allowed me to live in the present moment. Even before walking through the door to a dance practice I feel the energy of the room reaching out to me. I am greeted with chatter, laughs, and excitement, all provided by babes of various ages, sizes and abilities. Finally, it is all hugs and catching up on the week. Somewhere in those first few moments of dance class my troubles are left at the door. No matter how I feel when I walk in I ALWAYS feel better when I walk out.

Dance has allowed me to 'get in touch' with my feminine side, and to tell you the truth I wasn't sure I had a feminine side!  Within the safe, supportive environment of a Burlesquercise class or workshop I am able say... HEY look at ME, that's right I made you look, I am a woman and I LIKE it !  Get used to it as I am not apologizing for being a woman.

As someone who has spent their entire youth hiding at the back of the class andmost of adulthood desperately flying under the radar, dancing in front of a crowd was an epic moment in my life. Was it scary....YES ! Did the instructors prepare me...YES ! Did I love it....YES!  Will I Do it again...YES!

Even though dance has allowed me to be in the moment it has also provided me the opportunity to explore different personas. A paradox I know, being in the moment but being someone else as well. Why not? I have learned about women through the decades, their challenges in life and on the dance floor, as well as hair, makeup, clothing, and music, not to mention the attitude that accompanies each dance. YA that is fun... attitude !

Through dance I have been a Barefoot Gypsy, a Wood Nymph, Pin Up Girl and Gatsby Girl. Just this year

I was a Hollywood Diva wrapped in a feather boa, a Steam Punk Sheriff, and a member of a flash mob. Now I am learning to dance on a cloud, A.K.A. the Fox Trot, along with an amazing group of women preparing for the "Ginger Girls" performance this fall.

My life is certainly more magical since I joined the sisterhood of Burlesquercise. I have forged strong lifelong friendships and met some interesting characters on and off the dance floor. If you are waiting for the right moment to try this, the moment is NOW.  Step into the spotlight, Burlesquercise is waiting to applaud you!

Miss Aubrey

So, I was introduced to Burlesquercise by my friend Lorinda. I went to watch her dance with her beginner Burlesquercise class at their Circus Gala in 2012. I loved it!!! Miss di was so charismatic and looked amazing (she even gave some of us a taste of Burlesquercise in a mini class), the teachers were fabulous, including in their dances (hot!), and the students blew me away with their talent, courage and poise! I was so proud of Lorinda as this was completely out of her comfort zone and she was amazing! 

I signed up for the "Intro to Burlesque" class in early 2013, joined by my friends, Shannon and Dawna, and it was so much fun! Miss Leslie is a fantastic teacher and as awkward as it was at first, it got easier to step out of our comfort zones. Unfortunately, we (Shannon, Dawna & I) missed what would have been our first performance, but it was for a good reason: Justin & I got married! :-) After the 2013 "year of three floods" (in total for me and Justin), I took my next class with Miss Annick (another amazing teacher), and my first performance was Level 2/3 "Daisy Duke" ("These boots were made for walking"...Jessica Simpson version) at the Zoo's Stampede breakfast in 2014. Since then, I've done cha-cha, east & west coast swing, the can can, jive (all with another incredible teacher, Miss Kim!), hip-hop, and a flash mob!, all with the amazingly talented, beautiful and sexy classmates and teachers that I've had the pleasure of getting to know and continue to grow with (zoning all the way...ha ha ha ;-)). I love to dance, and I love to get dressed up and play different characters. Burlesquercise gives me the best of both worlds. Miss di has created an incredible place where we can be ourselves, and in some cases, the self within us that just needs an excuse to get out and have fun (Thank you so much, Miss di!!!). Through the challenging choreography, laughing with my "burly" sisters, and dancing until our we're (I'm) sore all over, I can honestly say this is one of the best things I've ever done in my life. I love every minute of it and I'm hooked! (It also helps that I have the best husband who is so supportive, and says that there is no downside to his wife doing Burlesquercise...except all the feathers that get everywhere.) :-)

I hope you never discount the things you love by taking them for granted. You may forget how talented you are and how much you have to give (including and especially to yourself), so make some time to remind yourself and give in to your passions. As I go through the past 2+ years of my Burlesquercise journey, I'm so thankful to have had these opportunities to push myself to grow more as a dancer, performer and person. There's so much to be said when you surround yourself with people who love you, support you, and bring joy into your life. Thank you to my husband, Justin, for all your love, support, energy, laughter, and so much more; to Lorinda for introducing me to Burlesquercise; and to Miss di for bringing the magic of dance and a sisterhood like no other, to so many of the incredible people I'm blessed to know and look forward to continuing this journey!

Miss Natalie

I was taking a group class at a dance studio around 7 years ago and I saw this lady walk across the room with a top hat and a cane. I wondered what kind of dance she was doing that she needed such interesting props. It was then that I learned about Burlesquercise. A few years later I finally decided that it was time to sign up. I signed up because I loved dancing, I needed to be dancing and most of the time dancing was the only place I knew who I was. 

When I first started I was weary of all the "we love each other" stuff, it just seemed unusual and I wasn't sure if I could trust it. I left for a year, but when I came back, I decided that it was up to me to make it fun and it was up to me to make myself part of the group and not be afraid to let people in. I am so glad I decided to come back. 

I consider myself a pretty normal girl, there is nothing special about me, I don't have an amazing story, I am just a regular human. This crazy group of women make me feel like a super human and like I am capable of doing so much. I feel like I have found the perfect place to be myself because Burlesquercise has helped me realize that I am allowed to be me. I am a free human and I can't be anything but me and Burlesquercise encourages everyone and accepts everyone.

Through Burlesquercise my life has truly changed. I have found many people I consider my best and closest friends. A group of women I can say anything to and they will never judge me. I have had so many wonderful performance opportunities over the years which I am so grateful for and I will forever be trying to return the favour. I have started Latin dancing, which I love. I basically get to play Dancing With The Stars every week (a show I am obsessed with). My teacher Anthony is the best teacher I could have possibly asked for. 

I appreciate my teachers so much. Di, Kim, Annick and Leslie bring so much to each lesson. Not only do they teach us how to dance and perform but how to be women too. This helps me be the right kind of person I want to be. These people are my home and I want every woman to feel this accepted and free. 

Natalie

Testimonial: Miss Jeannie

I started my journey 6 years ago when I found an ad for Burlesquercise on Facebook.  I was at that point in my life I decided that I needed something just for me.  My desire to do this was met with some negativity but I'm of the mind when someone tells me I can't do something, I become determined to do it.  My first class was with Di at the Vecova.  I went by myself, not really afraid to try new things but when we started to learn how to zone I was thankful she turned off the lights and we faced outside of the circle.  I was self conscious beyond words.  I didn't really like my body and the thought of exploring it was just a crazy idea.

To make a long story short, I stuck with it and now I perform on stage, front and centre, loving the spot light and always hopeful there will be zoning included in the choreography. 

Burlesquercise, not just the exercise and dance component, has changed my outlook on life because of the Sisterhood it has become.  I love my fellow dancers, they inspire me everyday, they have taught me to be bold and to be unafraid of whatever life throws at me.
I've come a long way baby and have developed a love for my body and all the things it can do.  I've really changed my life, going back to University, earning a degree and working full time in a profession I love and I owe my success in part to Burlesquercise, Miss Di, Miss Kim, Miss Leslie and Miss Annick AND my fellow Burlesquercise babes for pushing me to try different things, giving me the opportunity to grow and learn and for trusting my ability even on the days I couldn't pull it together.  On a final note…even though my husband may have not wanted me to join at first, he now reaps the rewards of my success and has become an amazing Burlesquercise husband, always there encouraging me, carrying my props and costumes or helping figure out my costumes and our marriage is stronger now than it has ever been.

Thank you again Miss Di for always believing xo
 

Testimonial: Miss Triston

It has been three years since I fortuitously stumbled upon Burlesquercise, and the impact this company has had on me ever since has been remarkable.  

One wintery evening I had approached a woman in my local grocery store who was carrying a yoga mat, and hoping to discover an unknown yoga studio nearby, I inquired where she was coming from.  No yoga - but what she told me turned out to be so much better!  She raved about these ‘Burlesque-inspired’ dance classes - which was something I had never considered, nor had even known was out there!   Dance class was something I had loved as a child, but it had been well over 25 years since I had been to any type of class.    I was beyond excited to try something new, immediately registered for an intro course, bought my first ever boa and soon became hooked.  

The Burlesque element was completely new to me, and admittedly, completely out of my comfort zone.  However, being in such a safe and open environment, it actually became something I grew to enjoy.   The exercise portion of class was some of the most challenging (and fun!) workouts I had done in a while, and the dance component brought back the love of dancing I had long forgotten about since childhood.  In hindsight, I realize that at the time I was definitely going through a low period in my life, and these classes gave me back the spark I didn’t even know I was missing.   I was re-introduced to movement, and how good it felt to express myself physically in so many new ways, little by little improving, and becoming more connected to my body and how it can move.  Burlesquercise has also helped me improve nagging back pain from previous injury, and become more strong and fit overall.

My confidence continues to grow,  motivating me to keep trying as much as possible, so I am always thrilled with the many different offerings Miss Di and her fabulous team magically create for us.  Every few weeks, different dance styles to learn, props to use, and opportunities to perform, all while having so much fun moving, learning and giggling with the other many amazing women, that have become friends.  Burlesquercise offers constant variety, and something for everyone, no matter experience, age, skill or taste.  The level of talent, vision, dedication and creativity of Miss Di and her team, Miss Kim, Miss Leslie and Miss Annick are incredible.   They are fantastically gifted teachers & choreographers, and are an exceptionally hilarious bunch. Their combined experience and knowledge of so many styles of dance is astounding and I have had the privilege to be introduced to more techniques than I ever thought possible. 

The opportunity to perform is certainly exciting, as well as the great variety of workshops and other events to keep things fresh.  What grown woman doesn’t like to play dress-up with her girlfriends!!??  Thanks to Burlesquercise, my closet is now bursting with feathers, sparkly costumes, fishnets, bustiers and all other things glam, that were well beyond my previous imagination!  Such a fun and welcome escape from the ordinary!   All fantasy aside, it is truly the class time that I enjoy more than anything, because of the camaraderie and many laughs shared with teachers and students each week.

Burlesquercise is not only a great work-out that has improved my life physically, but has also brought me much more confidence, energy, and passion that has affected many areas of my life, including a connection to a tribe of fun women that I continue to learn from and grow with.  Every course that I register for feels like a gift I am giving to myself.

I am definitely a Burly-Girl for life, and am so blessed to be part of this wonderful community of women, to which I credit living in this life with a whole lot more joy, and hopefully, a little more grace.

Much love and gratitude,
Triston xo