“These are chairs,” Arielle said, gesturing to the three objects in front of her.
They were, indeed, chairs. The six ladies in the class nodded.
“However, they are not all the same. You need to find the chair that’s right for you. This is a typical metal folding chair, which I bought at Target for about twenty dollars. This is another folding chair, white plastic with a higher back. And this wooden chair is my chair, which I use in performances. As you can see, it has a nice wide seat. It’s sturdy.”
Over the next hour, Arielle showed us a series of moves. I couldn’t believe that this was an introduction; wait a minute, I could. I mean, in the movies or on the stage, performers make dancing with chairs look so easy.
That should be: DECEPTIVELY easy.
Some of the basic moves were easy enough: step onto the chair, pull your other leg up, and sit on the back. Ok, I can do that.
Stand behind the chair, put your stomach on the back, lay your chest on the seat, then slither down to the floor without bumping your head or breaking your nose.
Um, can you repeat that one for me?
Ya, no, that’s not going to work for me. I don’t have that much confidence in my upper body strength, or in my gracefulness.
That’s fine, Arielle understood when most of the class took that stance. Ophelia tried it, and then admitted, “I’ve taken lots of classes.” That was reassuring; I don’t have to master all the moves on day one. Cool.
We learned how to pull a chair from behind us and put it down in front of us. We learned the rules of dancing with a chair:
- Stay in front of it. Don’t put it between you and the audience; then they can’t see what you’re doing. And trust me: you’ll want to see what Arielle is doing!
- Choose a nail polish that contrasts with your outfit, so that it stands out when you touch yourself. I’ve been doing it wrong for years! My fingernails have always matched my clothes, and have usually been purple. Guys must’ve been confused about where the dress stopped and the hands started!
- If the chair falls down, pretend like you did that on purpose. Dance on it, then smoothly pick it up, like, “Oh ya, I mean to knock the chair over. Look, I’m cool. Watch my ass shake. You like it don’t you?” Now you’re all like, what chair? Something fell over?
- Dragging a chair on or off stage can be sexy. Who knew?!
- You can sit with your back to the audience, but remember to look at them to stay connected. This is a repeat of what Lisa and Molly had said, but it’s so important that it bears repeating. Look into my eyes. Stay with me. Oh ya, look at this. Now this. Stare into my eyes some more…
Interesting side note, Arielle doesn’t dance with a smile. She dances with a sexy little pout. One of those, “You think you’re good enough for me? Show me,” looks. When she grins mischievously, it’s rather exciting.
At one point during the class, we moved our hips provocatively while one foot was on the chair and the other foot was on the floor. Ophelia said, “You know this one, ladies, it’s just like having sex!”
I answered without thinking. “What’s that? It’s been so long, I don’t think I remember!”
Another classmate said, “I guess I should I keep my mouth shut, but I had sex this morning!”
I high fived her. Heck, if it were me, I’d brag, too!
Speaking of bragging, Ophelia told me later, “I wouldn’t have guessed that it’s been so long for you. You’re a natural.”
I answered, “Thank you! That’s so sweet!”
Then she added, “Whatever you’re doing, it’s working for you. So maybe you hold off until after your Bust Out.” She was referring the grand finale of the Burlesque Experience classes, when I’d dance on stage in front of a crowd of 250 people. I’m still trying to get used to that idea!
She smiled slyly and said, “If you can stay away from the cute Marine.”
Another classmate, Aly-Sinn, had a similar train of thought. While we were practicing V-sits—legs up in the air at about 45 degrees, open the legs, then close, repeat—she said, “I have no problem opening my legs. I’ve ALWAYS had trouble keeping them closed!”
On that note…
Arielle teaches other classes, too. Contact me if you’re interested in learning more. BTW, Molly Macabre provides private coaching for reasonable rates; I’m seriously considering hiring her to polish my performance.
For some idea of what Chair Dancing entails: