At the beginning of October, I mentioned in my blog post “A Taper Too Far?” that a friend (Lexi) and I had been working over the summer to get our new website “Lexi and Jones” off the ground and that I had attended a Burlexercise class in Fulham. What follows is my report of that fun experience which was written for the November edition of “Lexi and Jones”. Anyone interested in reading my two other articles – on exercising outdoors in the winter, and soup – the links can be found at the end of this blog post.
At the beginning of October I ventured up to London and across town to Fulham in search of my inner showgirl!
I’m not quite sure how this happened because I’m not exactly an extrovert. It is perhaps because of this character trait that in the past when Lexi has asked me if I wanted to go to a burlesque dance lesson, I’ve always been very reluctant. In fact, I’ve said no! It’s not just my shy retiring nature that has stopped me from saying yes. It’s also because of my complete lack of musicality, dance skills and co-ordination.
It was actually me who found the Burlexercise class on line and I’m not quite sure why the “exercise” part of the name made a difference and made me delve more deeply. But I discovered the most convenient class for us to try would be in Fulham on a Thursday evening.
Unfortunately, because of childcare problems, I found myself attending on my own and never one to be late, I arrived at the dance studio on Lillie Road with plenty of time to spare. This meant sitting in reception whilst young lithe ballet dancers sauntered passed me discussing entrechats, glissades and arabesques. (Note, you may also find this terminology in Lexi’s account of our Ballet Jam class. How was I to know that so soon I would also be attempting such steps!) Anyway, back to shy retiring nervous me feeling very much out of her comfort zone, miles from home, wondering whether anyone would notice if she crept away quietly and made her way back across London and home to the depths of Kent.
No, that would be complete failure and how would I explain that away to Lexi!? I am so very glad I did stick it out though. Oh my goodness, what fun I had and it wasn’t long before I realised why the website recommends bringing water and a towel. I don’t think I’ve ever sweated that much irrespective of how far I’ve run and in what heat!
Burlexercise was founded by Katie Hardwicke and Sarah-Lou Buckle, two fifths of the burlesque troupe “The Folly Mixtures”. It was Sarah-Lou who took our class that evening and there were six of us “students” in total. I think I was the only newbie that night, and it appeared that the class had been following the same routine for a few weeks so I was going to be on the back foot to start with (pardon the pun). The remainder of the class would know what was coming whilst I would be completely clueless. But that didn’t actually matter.
I do, however, like the idea that you spend a number of weeks going through the same routine. It gives you a chance to perfect your moves so you can actually see progression in your skills. Whether or not I would have got any better is another question but it’s nice to think there was that possibility. The following week’s class would see them try a completely different routine. Perhaps I should have gone back then so we would all have been on an equal footing!
(photos courtesy of Burlexercise)
The class started with a dance based warm up and cardio section. This is where I performed at my worst. There were times when I thought I’d managed to get the moves right but when I started to think about it, I lost the train again! Trying to follow the girl in front and/or Sarah-Lou and work out which was my right and which was my left quite often went awry but as Sarah-Lou said before the class started, if you have to, “just shimmy”! We were about 20 minutes in when I started to think “when are we going to start the resistance work?” Fortunately, about a minute later!
The resistance work is performed using 2kg dumbbells attached to synthetic boas. Feather boas would have been a bit unhygienic and impractical! Now if you think 2kg dumbbells are a bit of a cop-out – wrong! By the time we’d squatted, lunged, extended our triceps overhead and reverse flyed our lats, I was glad they were only 2kgs. All upper and lower body muscles were worked and then we got to lie down!
Yeah, abs time! So we planked, side planked, crunched and leg lowered to our little heart’s content and this section segued neatly into some very welcome stretching. The last few minutes of the class were spent being taught a little burlesque style routine and then sadly, it was all over!
The whole class was accompanied by some great music. The only piece I recognised was Madonna’s Hanky Panky but the selection was so motivating. It was suggested to me recently that some of it might have been from the Great Gatsby soundtrack and as I write this, I’m listening to it on You-Tube. They were right 🙂
Burlexercise are hoping to roll out their dance classes elsewhere and so are looking for keen dance/fitness instructors to get involved. If that’s you or even someone you know, then please get in touch with them. But if you’re in the vicinity of any of their classes, I would thoroughly recommend you give it a go. No dance skills required!
If you need further encouragement, just take a look at the promotional video here.
In the meantime I need to come across a lot of money so I can buy a little pied-à-terre in Fulham and then I can go to the class every week!
Links to my November Lexi and Jones articles
Hibernate or Hibernot?
Soup – A Little Bowl of Heaven