1. What drew you to Burlesquercise ?
This is a multi-faceted response as there were numerous circumstances . . . I had struggled for years with chronic neck pain (primarily due to my poor posture) and had tried a crazy variety of treatments. Every time, I would go to an assessment to try a new treatment, I would have to fill in a questionnaire about my activity and exercise. Hmmmm. . . I would respond "I run around my house doing chores and chase my kids". The reality was that I wasn't doing anything. For a year, my employer offered a one a week Zumba class but we were in an oversized office with low volume music so as to not disturb the people working over lunch. However, I really liked Zumba as I really just LOVE to dance. In November 2010, my husband and I took a bold step and went to the Taboo Sex Show :) I felt just a LITTLE out of my comfort zone but the show had a real "tongue in cheek" fun mood and it was there that watched a lady do a routine with a boa. When we got to the Burlesquercise booth, my husband said, why don't you just put your name on the e-mail list. So I did. And after I got my first e-mail, I decided to just take a deep breath, and sign up for an Intro class. I needed to start doing something to get me out of my "inactiveness".
2. How long have you been doing Burlesquercise?
I had no idea what to expect but I started in January 2011 with the Intro class. Classes were 45 minutes of warm up and floor exercises (which I eventually came to realize that we were doing Pilates), and 45 minutes of learning a simple routine. Di was my instructor. I remember e-mailing her as I didn't know what to wear (especially on my feet).
3. What do you enjoy the most about Burlesquercise?
Two things come to mind. First . . . I am always so intrigued and just amazed at how our instructors translate a song into choreography. In addition to just the beauty of a routine, each time there is something new that, for me, is unique and makes you feel sexy when you do it! Secondly, the culture is very non-judgemental and everyone respects each others limits. I often encounter a move that is easy for others but just isn't easy for me (especially given decades of neck issues, and more recently, my lower back will act up, too). It's like I'm a wooden board and just can't move like others can! If I'm struggling with something, no one makes me feel bad. I also love the range of age in the group.
4. What are some benefits you have received?
I have experienced numerous benefits but I'll try to lump them together. First and foremost has been the improvement in my posture which has reduced my chronic pain. I have learned how to better "hold" my upper body through Di's ballet basics class. Because we record our rehearsals, I can identify where I tend to lose my posture and start to protrude my chin. The classes have helped me be learn what proper posture feels like so that I can get myself "in check" during work, or at home watching TV, etc.
Secondly, Burlesquercise class was a gateway to getting me active. I started to improve my well being through the stretching and strengthening which gave me the confidence to try other exercise options. My clothes started to fit differently, and just felt stronger. I decided to try High Intensity Interval Training and even though it was challenging, I could tell that I had a good foundation of strength to build from thanks to dance.
Thirdly, I sometimes feel like my brain is going to mush. I AM THAT person who goes to a different room to grab something, and 20 seconds later, I'm standing in the room and I have NO IDEA what I came in to get. I cannot walk into a grocery store without a list. That being said, I'll forget the list at home. The mental exercise of learning a routine is a challenge for me but I believe that it's good for my brain. When I started taking classes, I don't recall even remotely thinking about performing in front of an audience! When I decided to do my first performance which was a Level 2 (note that a Miss Kim Level 2 is actually a Level 3 :)), I was literally FREAKING OUT. I'd get in my car after class, and I had already forgotten what we learned. Phone recording the routine and posting it on Facebook wasn't happening back in 2012 like it is now. I do still get stressed before a performance but that's because I want to "nail it" to the best of my ability. That being said, it's MY choice to set a high expectation for myself, and out of respect for my instructor and fellow performers.
Last but "far from least", is the benefit of the Sisterhood. We all have lives outside of class which is full of ups (to celebrate) and downs (to show each other support). Although we don't have time to socialize during class, we can connect for a coffee or a pre-class meal, or attend an outside event together. Our private group gives us a place to share life's events or sexy anecdotes!
5. What are some positive impacts that have affected your life?
Overall, becoming a part of the Burlesquercise Tribe has improved my well-being from a physical, mental and emotional perspective. As my kids get older, I find that I have more time to focus on "ME", and a big part of focussing on myself is nurturing friendships from a variety of sources.
6. What would you say to someone that is hesitant to try Burlesquercise?
I know what it's like to be hesitant to try something new. It tends to stem from thoughts like "I won't know anyone there and others will all know each other already or they have signed up with a friend", "I won't be able to keep up and I'll look foolish", "I'm so out of shape that I'll won't be able to do what is expected". My suggestion for the first one is to connect with Di, and ask her if she can find a Babe to meet you before class on the day of class or few days before (for coffee). I could be any of the ladies who take classes, or it could be someone registered in your class. I would also be willing to pass on my contact info even just to answer questions on what to expect. I would do anything to help someone get the confidence to try a class
because I know that taking a step to try something new can be hard but it is so worth it.
7. Why so you keep coming back?
For me, I keep coming back because I feel like there would be a hole in my life if I stopped coming. If I didn't have a dance routine to go through in my head before I fall asleep, what would I do??
8. How do you feel about yourself since you started?
I am proud of myself for stepping into something that I had no experience in or natural ability. I can see how I have progressed as I remember certain things that I couldn't do at all a few years ago but I can now kind of do :)! I also feel grateful that I am a part of a group where all are welcome, and the culture is fun and friendly, and all is done with high level of professionalism. Physically, I feel stronger and more poised than I used to before I started taking classes.
9. What is your age?
This year is my Double Nickel Year - I'm 55.