Learning how to strut your stuff around a pole isn't just reserved for Hollywood actresses who need a career boost. This ultra-feminine, full-body workout will leave you with more toned, defined muscles and confidence to spare. Towering heels (and skimpy ensembles) are optional.
Embrace Fitness offers a series of five pole dancing classes (the program is cheekily dubbed “sexy beast” pole fitness) that include classes at the introductory, beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels. There's also an open-pole session for experienced students, as well as a strength and conditioning class. The routines aim to help you, ahem, embrace your feminine side while you sculpt your muscles, too.
Embrace Fitness, 20604 Gordon Park Square, #150, Ashburn; 703-975-4582.
DivaFit’s Chantilly, Herndon, and Falls Church outposts teach an intro class in addition to classes for levels one through seven. Each lesson includes about 50 minutes of dancing and spinning around the pole, with an additional 20 minutes focused on striptease, core strength, and flexibility in a women-only environment. The fitness chain also offers private lessons if you'd prefer to take your first class solo.
DivaFit, 4080 Lafayette Center Drive, Suite 210 C, Chantilly, 703-378-8858; 157 B Hillwood Avenue, Falls Church, 703-864-1109; 317 Sunset Park Drive, Herndon, 703-707-0556.
Balance Gym's Thomas Circle location takes a very fitness-oriented approach to the method. The facility offers a special "pole dancing for athletes" class, in addition to regular pole dancing and a cardio-plus-pole workout. Participants should expect to climb to the ceiling, hang upside down, and learn a variety of spins and tricks that will give Demi Moore’s character in Striptease a run for her money. Each drop-in class is $20; no gym membership required.
Balance Gym Thomas Circle, 1339 Green Court NW; 202-216-9000.
First of all, burlesque is not stripping. Although it invokes elements of a striptease, burlesque has deep roots in vaudeville and cabaret. To really experience the old-school glamour and entertainment, try one of the array of classes offered around town and channel your inner Dita Von Teese.
Awaken your inner pop star at Vienna’s Born 2 Dance Studio’s Urban Burlesque class. You’ll learn sassy combinations that blend the grace of classic burlesque with modern dance movements to prepare you for performance. It’s recommended that students have at least three months of dance experience prior to taking this class.
Born 2 Dance Studio, 305 Maple Avenue West, Vienna; 703-242-6090.
At Burlesque University (where, according to the website, you can earn your Ph.D., or “Pretty Hot Degree" — wink, wink), students can take Burlesque 101. The six-week class, held at Chic Physique’s Bethesda outpost, is devoted to teaching the history of the art and allowing you to develop the skills and moves needed to craft a professional routine.
Chic Physique, 4931 Saint Elmo Avenue, Bethesda; 301-718-2452.
Believe this: At the Bier Baron Tavern, you can get a burlesque lesson and your choice of a beer or cocktail for $10 on Thursdays. That’s a killer combination if we ever heard one. D.C.’s own burlesque star GiGi Holliday leads students, who don’t need experience to partake.
The Bier Baron Tavern, 1523 22nd Street NW; 202-293-1887.
You’ll be doing your thing in mid-air during these aerial silks classes, where you perform acrobatic moves as you’re suspended from a special type of fabric. (Think P!nk’s gravity-defying “Glitter in the Air” performance at the 2010 Grammys.) What makes this so sensual? You’re striking poses as you show off your strength by holding yourself up. It may sound intimidating, but our class picks are designed with everyone from beginners to more experienced students in mind.
In addition to its titular offerings, The Trapeze School of New York at the Navy Yard also teaches a silks class. Practitioners learn at their own pace, with beginners focusing on proper positioning in addition to basic poses and balances. More experienced “silk'ers” spend their time mastering advanced skills, choreography, and artistry.
The Trapeze School of New York, 4th Street SE at Tingey Street SE; 410-459-6839.
Lift off the ground and learn to dance in the air with the aerial silks at Forever Dancing’s Falls Church studio. This hour-long all-levels class teaches students basic positions, techniques, poses, and tricks. During class, you’ll be boosting your strength and stamina while increasing body control, balance, and flexibility, too. How’s that for getting the most of out of one workout?
Forever Dancing, 5818 Seminary Road, Falls Church; 703-824-3555.
Rockville's Dynamite Gymnastics Center combines an aerial apparatus and yoga into a circuit-style workout that aims to build strength and body awareness. Translation? A heart-pumping, no-downtime session for you. This all-levels class is ideal for students newer to aerial silks, as it doesn’t require as much upper-body strength as a traditional class.
Dynamite Gymnastics Center, 4956 Boiling Brook Parkway; Rockville; 301-770-2700.
After taking one of these classes, you’ll be dancing like Britney Spears circa the early 2000s, and you'll probably never look at a chair the same way again. Discover how to use a chair as a prop — a pretty sexy one, at that — during these classes.
At Pretty Lady Pole Fit in Alexandria, the Hot Seat workout blends jazz, hip hop, and traditional ballet choreography with — you guessed it — a chair. As an added bonus, you’ll also tighten your glutes, abdominals, and hamstrings while you do it.
Pretty Lady Pole Fit, 7702E Richmond Highway, Alexandria; 703- 360-7653.
Don your stilettos (or leave them at home — up to you) and head to Pole Pressure’s downtown D.C. locale for the total-body Chair Play workout. Students utilize a chair and the floor in an exotic dance class that incorporates modern dance moves and yoga in a safe and sexy environment. What more could you ask for?
Pole Pressure, 1322 14th St NW, Second Floor; 202-667-7653.
In addition to a variety of pole dancing classes, Jordin's Paradise also provides an all-levels, full-body-toning chair class called Flirtyfied. For a hint of what to expect, check out the studio’s YouTube channel.
Jordin’s Paradise, 1215 Connecticut Avenue NW; 202-997-8211.
This ancient performing art has deep historical roots and a reputation for giving your torso an intense workout. If you’d like to learn how to move like Shakira, prepare to shimmy your hips, rattle a coin skirt (some studios provide ‘em), and, of course, move your belly at these studios.
At D.C.’s Sahara Dance, new and experienced students alike will learn basic belly dance technique, including posture, shimmies, isolations, undulations (when you move your abs in the dance’s signature “wave” move), and traveling steps. Get ready to dive into the history, context, and philosophy of belly dance and learn about Middle Eastern music, too.
Sahara Dance, 4433 Wisconsin Avenue NW; 202-362-4400.
Clarendon’s Saffron Dance hosts a “From Start to Shimmy” class every month. For $10 in advance or $15 on the day of class, newcomers will discover the history and background of the dance before they launch into introductory movements. Attendees should anticipate a focus on correct posture alignment, flexibility, arm positions, basic shimmies, hip accents, introductory undulations, traveling steps, and combinations.
Saffron Dance, 3260 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington; 703-276-2355.
Take a trip around the world without ever leaving D.C. at Joy of Motion. The company's Friendship Heights and Atlas locations showcase numerous styles of Middle Eastern dance — including Turkish, Lebanese, Egyptian, Persian, Central Asian, tribal, and cabaret — through its belly dancing classes. Beginners will feel at home with Intro to Belly Dance; more advanced students can pick from an array of specialty classes, like Basic Egyptian Technique.
Joy of Motion Dance Center, 5207 Wisconsin Avenue NW, 202-362-3042; 1333 H Street NE, 202-399-6763.