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City tones down striptease class description

Fri., Sept. 11, 2009, 7:23 p.m.

The road to a “smoking hot body” may still be with a class offered by the city of Spokane, but it won’t be described in such titillating terms.

The city Parks Department is rewriting its description of “Exotic Strip Tease and Fitness Conditioning,” which is included in its printed and online fall activity guide.

After receiving several complaints about the class – which includes elements of strip tease but without nudity – park officials said they will raise the age limit from 16 to 18.

“We understand the concern,” said Craig Butz, Spokane Park’s recreation and entertainment manager.

The catalog description of the class is: “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.”

The proposed new description, which Butz expects to be substituted in the online recreation guide: “A class that helps woman of all ages, shapes and sizes to appreciate their body for what they are: Beautiful. Learn a healthy, creative, pleasurable and soulful form of self expression through the artful flare of exotic and inspiring dance steps. Follow up with a progressive high intensity body conditioning sequence and finish with a sequence of stretches to calm and center both mind and body.”

Although the class has generated controversy, it’s also been popular. The catalog offered two 12-week sessions. The first already is filled with 15 women, with four on a waiting list. There was enough interest that officials created a third session. Ages of the women who have signed up range from 23 to 61.

Butz said the class, which will be taught at East West Fitness World, a dance and martial arts studio on North Monroe Street, is not subsidized by taxpayers, and costs attendees $54.

Christine Braaten, the instructor, said the class stresses fitness and has nothing more risqué than moves seen on TV’s “So You Think You Can Dance.”

“The whole goal of the class is optimal results with optimal fun,” she said.

The name of the sessions will shift to what they were called when first offered in the spring: “Exotic Moves Fitness Conditioning,” Butz said.

“That’s exotic, not erotic,” Butz stressed.

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