This fall, the Spokane parks department has the “route to a smoking hot body.”
“Exotic Strip Tease and Fitness Conditioning,” a 12-session class for teens and women, is one of the offerings in Spokane Parks and Recreation’s fall activity guide.
“It’s a class that helps women of all ages, shapes and sizes to appreciate their bodies for what they are,” said Christine Braaten, who will teach the class. She added that the class is “fun, upbeat” and a good workout.
Clothes – or at least a layer of them – stay on.
“There’s no nudity in the class. I mean, come on, it’s a fitness class,” Braaten said. Workouts include elements that would be recognized as striptease, but, she said, “there’s also a jazz feeling.”
Braaten, who co-founded East West Fitness World, a dance and martial arts studio on North Monroe Street, said the September class will be the second time she has taught the fitness sessions for the city. The first time 18 students enrolled for what was called “Exotic Moves Fitness Conditioning.”
Kay Nickerson, a stay-at-home mom who lives in Spokane’s Logan neighborhood, took the class earlier this year. She said the artistic element made the course more fun than other fitness courses she’s taken, and there also was a greater sense of camaraderie.
“I would love to do it again,” Nickerson said, adding there was little in the way of clothing removal in the course.
The fact that the class is open to girls as young as 16 might raise some eyebrows – especially because those who sign up for the parks department’s “Italian for the Traveler” class must be two years older. But Nickerson said she wouldn’t have a problem with older teens taking the class.
“I don’t see a problem with it at all,” she said. “I think it would be beautiful.”
Mimicking dance popularized in cabarets and strip clubs for fitness isn’t a new phenomenon. Pole dancing sans nudity also has become a popular activity for exercise and its artistic flair.
Park Director Barry Russell said it’s not unusual for recreation programs in other cities to schedule fitness classes such as striptease or belly dancing. He added that he’s heard no complaints about the offering in Spokane.
The class’s description in the parks catalog stresses the exotic nature of the activity: “Dangerous curves ahead! Want results you can see and feel? The route to a smoking hot body starts here. This class begins with an exotic warm up routine that includes strip tease choreography, followed by a high-intensity training routine, and finishes with a sensual stretch sequence.”
Braaten said her goal with the description was to “get people to understand it’s going to be fun and exciting without saying, ‘This is going to be fun and exciting.’ ”