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Sexy Ed. 101
Self-confidence through The Art of Exotic Dancing

Molly, 41 and a mother of four, demonstrates being sexy, while we compulsively want to Windex that mirror.  


Details: The Art of Exotic Dancing for Everyday Women classes will be held Friday from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at MoveStudio, 17062 Preston Road, Suite 108, in Preston Campbell Center, and Saturday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Rhythm & Moves Studio, 2008 E. Highway 114, Southlake. Class sizes are limited and are for women only. Pre-registration is required. The cost is $79. Call 1-866-HIP-ROLL.

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The most insightful thing we've heard in a while is, in fact, something we really already knew. But when someone says something out loud, it's funny how the statement takes on more importance and relevance. Chatting with Clarissa Pierro, lead dance instructor for The Art of Exotic Dancing for Everyday Women, we had some revelations. First, almost all women criticize their own appearance. Seems obvious. We know we do, but for a talented dance instructor to concur is, like, golden. Second--and when she said it, it made so much sense--men don't hurt our self-esteem. The problem is woman-to-woman. We look, compare, contrast, praise and self-deprecate, saying we want to be attractive to others when so much of it is really about being more attractive than other women. It's catty. It's bitchy. It's totally true.

Once a computer geek at Dell, Pierro is now teaching seductive walking, various hip rolls and other moves to women "sometimes ranging in age from 28 to 68." She took her first class almost a year and a half ago. At 31, she was the youngest in her class. On the competitive and self-abusing nature of many women, she says, "You know that movie Mean Girls? Well, they never go away." And even though aging can change the habit of judging others, doing it to one's self is the hardest to stop. The class helped Pierro rebuild something in herself. Athletic as a child in San Antonio, she later dealt with weight gain and loss and acknowledges that, once overweight, feeling like you're fat is the hardest thing to lose even when the pounds are gone. Her exotic dance class changed that, as well as her path in life.

Dance instruction is her passion these days. And the benefits of the class continue to affect her. "It's so worth it," she says. "Women come and just blossom. They're businesswomen, mothers, doctors, and all the teachers are just normal women, too." Her background helps her gain the trust of her pupils. Weight, relationships and depression may all come up during the class "circle"--a time for sharing that Pierro says dissolves any cliques before the dancing starts--and sharing her own experiences helps the students relate and feel at ease. "It's not that whole thing that someone else is worse off," she says. "It just teaches me to appreciate myself."

Without a base studio, classes aren't limited by geography. Pierro rents time at studios in different areas. "Women owners love to expand their class reach," she says. "Bigger gyms with male managers don't really work out that well. You have to explain what we mean by 'exotic dancing.'" Based on the name, some assume that the class is for "professional exotic dancing" instead of personal expression and image enhancement.

Watching the DVD available from http://www.artofexoticdancing.com/, we seriously considered Pierro's invitation to check out the world of private dance at her classes this weekend. The women on it are all shapes and sizes. One is recovering from breast cancer, and one is undergoing chemotherapy. We think we could be successful, even comfortable in one of these classes. Most important, we think an actual class would have an even bigger effect than the DVD in an area that surprised us. When we turned off the player and reviewed our new steps, instruction and experience, we realized that we hadn't judged one woman on the screen. We didn't even compare ourselves physically. It obviously wasn't about that. And it felt good.

dallasobserver.com | originally published: June 24, 2004

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