Oklahoma fitness facilities are getting in touch with their sexier side with an alternative form of exercise: pole dancing. Don't worry. You can leave your hat on for this one.
"I really think the name of the game is, it's all about fun. You know, people may feel good working out at the gym, but they probably won't consider it fun," said Lynn Simon, also known as Lethal Lynn, owner of upcoming Teaze Dance & Fitness. "We're trying to do classes where you're creative about the costumes, the music, and you're having a good time and making it into a party."
Once associated with little more than stripping, pole dancing is becoming considered a form of performing art that combines both dance and gymnastics "? even having its first-ever U.S. Pole Dance Championship this past March.
"When you look at aerobics, anything where you're moving your body to music can also be considered dance, so most of our classes, I look at them as both things," Simon said.
Nothing but Class in Edmond considers its pole class to be strictly exercise.
"We are the only one (facility) that offers pole aerobics. I know there are a few pole dancing classes in the metro, but that's not what we do," said Laura Rahhal, owner of Nothing but Class. "Our class is a fun, exciting way to work out. I tell people we don't dance with the pole. We work out with it,"
Ready to try a sensual class, but only with your closest of friends? Both Teaze Dance & Fitness and Nothing but Class offer private pole lessons for large groups.
"We do pole parties," Rahhal said. "It is totally different from the class. Pole aerobics is a fitness class, whereas the parties are just for fun, not a workout. They can bring food and drinks, and we turn off the lights, light the candles and have a lot of silly, sexy fun. We even teach them a chair dance."
Teaze Dance & Fitness opened its 1,800-square-foot facility June 25 with 10 poles. Many classes have never been offered in an Oklahoma dance studio or fitness facility, Simon said, including burlesque, prop tease, go-go, showgirl, can-can and even roller skate dancing, along with the more familiar fitness classes like Pilates, yoga and Zumba.
"Our pole class is going to be the most popular. I can tell that just by the people that have expressed interest in the studio, and so we're going to do more of those than anything else," Simon said.
But there will be more offered at Teaze Pole & Fitness: a boutique selling showgirl and burlesque costumes, corsets, feather fans, Halloween costumes and fitness gear. And after you've worked that body and bought your costumes, some might want to show it off with a photo shoot with resident photographer Annamarie of Photogen-X.
Simon believes this classy and sexy dance and fitness studio is going to rile up Oklahomans.
"I just started doing research on it (pole dancing) online and just started noticing how widely popular it was throughout the country and around the world, and I was really shocked to find out that there were so many people doing so many different things," she said. "I started realizing there's no Hula-hoop classes in Oklahoma. There's no burlesque classes in Oklahoma, and I thought, 'Well, gosh, this would really get some interest, because they love it.'"
Simon's past with local burlesque dance groups, professional roller dance skating and a long history of dance lessons has brought her back to the same building where her first dance instructor taught, at 1112 N. Broadway in the historic Automobile Alley.
"There's been so much attention on the Midtown area "¦ from other events happening there, other groups getting together, performances and the erotic art shows and just all the different activities that go along there, that I noticed that it really was a busy, happening place and that it was getting a lot of attention from the public," she said.
Classes at Teaze Dance & Fitness are for adults only, and the sultry classes are currently only available to women.
"There have been fitness gyms that have had pole dancing, not very many, but we're the first to ever take a dance studio concept in Oklahoma and make this for adults," Simon said.