Burlesque – a sizzling dance where sexuality and feminism is celebrated – is turning into a new fitness craze thanks to one Lancaster woman.
At just 21-years-old Louise Woodall is challenging the taboo entertainment, which transformed the sexual revolution, in her class at the Storey.
The class ‘Burlex Fitness’ is far from burlesque strip teases and nipple tassels waving – it combines both dance and fitness creating the ultimate “sassy” workout.
For Louise it’s her first business venture in a fitness industry which is often dominated by new crazes at this time of year.
Not only does she run the class two times a week but also juggles a job at Lancashire Boys and Girls Club whilst studying at Lancaster & Morecambe College and preparing for university next year.
She is the first in the area to create a burlesque fitness class and is keen to stand out.
What woman doesn’t want to feel sexy?Louise Woodall
Louise said: “I have done a personal training course and I realised when I was doing it, to be different in the fitness world, you have got to stand out. I feel like my dance background is what makes me different.
“There’s no point me doing a Zumba class because everywhere has a Zumba class, so this is me, this is my time.”
Although fitness-related, the class does feature burlesque props including feather boas, chairs and dance floor sequences, making it more fun for members.
Louise understands some people’s apprehension to try out the class due to the negative connotations of women celebrating their bodies.
She said: “People automatically think nipple tassels and all that but my class is completely different, you can wear what you want. No one has to worry about watching anyone else.
“I do feel some people have negative thoughts against burlesque but I think it is what women want, what woman doesn’t want to feel sexy?
“I know some people who have come in really shy and within weeks they are strutting their stuff, it empowers women.”
Louise has been dancing since she was a little girl, starting off at Galgate Dance School, Laura Sandham School of Dance and then going away to do training, performing on stages and at summer camps across the North West.
She said: “I have always loved performing, love dance, I did all sorts of dance, tap, modern ballet, it was just something that really got me.
“My idea at first was to go away to do dance but it is a very competitive environment, it is really intense, so I thought I would go into teaching what I know.”
Up until September when the classes started they mainly attracted women but Louise says men can come along too and she has already been in contact with one gentleman who wishes to join.
“Up until now it has just been women but I have never said no to men. Obviously they are coming to join in the fitness class and not just sitting there watching.
“It is just getting out of your comfort zone, if you don’t come and try it you’ll never know.”
Louise’s parents, Joanna Smith and Andrew Woodall, are very proud of her daughter who they say has come so far at such a young age.
Louise is hoping to expand her classes to Morecambe and Heysham in the future but for now she runs Burlex Fitness at the Storey in Lancaster every Wednesday at 7.30pm-8.30pm.
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