Free Motion Dance Center, 2126 Pearl St., Boulder, 720-971-1972, freemotionboulder.com
Instructor: Lisa Fasullo, of Boulder. Fasullo, a personal trainer and self-taught dancer, has been teaching sensual dance for seven years. I tried one of her classes six years ago and decided to head back to see how things have evolved.
Fasullo has been involved with fitness and dance for more than 20 years. She has master's degrees in health education and social work.
She founded Free Motion Dance Center, which started offering classes in May. This is the second Stripping Away the Layers workshop.
What is the workout? Stripping Away the Layers: The Art Of Sensual Dance and Play, is a four-week sensual dance workshop that involves chair work, floor work, veil "magic" and dance moves.
My class began with a stretching and strength-building warm-up, including "bridge" glute lifts and a lot of spiraling movements to warm up the core and joints, as well as the mind.
We then learned a variety of dance "inspirations" (more like ideas than moves, because Fasullo encourages participants to move however they want). We then practiced walking across the room in different ways, and we learned a short series of simple moves that we repeated to music several times.
Class began and ended with a group discussion.
What's different? The check-in at the beginning and end of class was a huge difference. On one hand, it helped us know what to expect, helped us relax, gave us space to ask questions and helped the participants bond a bit. The group discussion also served as a transition space, to help shift your mind, and was a welcome buffer before jumping back into the "real world" without glitter and stilettos. Even though I did not talk, it made me think about how I felt.
Cost: $15 a class.
Level: All levels. No dance expereince needed; the choreography is simple. Classes are only for women and tend to attract women ages 30 to 50.
When: The current session runs noon-1p.m. and 6-7:15 p.m. Wednesdays throughout July. Drop-ins are OK, although it's recommended you sign up for the whole session. Contact Fasullo in advance, because she likes to keep the classes capped at 10 students to keep it personal.
The next series starts in September.
What to prepare: Wear comfortable dance clothes and bring a front-open top, like a cardigan or button-down, a skirt and heels. Bring your own yoga mat, if you don't want to borrow one. Fasullo also has a large dress-up chest in the back of the room that you can pull from, if you don't know what to bring.
Note: You will never remove clothes, beyond layers on top of your workout clothes. And you don't have to even do that, if you don't want to.
Muscles worked: Full body, especially your thighs and core. The pushups at the beginning also really challenged my arms and chest. If you aren't used to walking in heels, prepare to turn on your balance and calves. I also felt a difference in my joints, especially hips and shoulders, since so many of the moves are circular.
What I loved: I expected to feel self-conscious in a class like this, but it was so relaxed that I don't think anyone felt uncomfortable. I was surprised by how nonjudgmental the other women were and by how quickly I got into the right headspace. It's like Fasullo has discovered the magic button to instantly shift you out of your head and into your body. I'm not sure how she did it, but it worked.
My favorite part of this class was the discussion before and after. It was also fun to learn sexy moves that double up as ways to build strength using body weight. That sure makes working out more interesting.
Fasullo also gave us tools to incorporate into our daily lives, such as becoming more aware of the way you move during the day, stretching in a sensual way when you wake up every morning and wearing something every day that makes you feel sexy and playful.
What I didn't like: The noon class lasts only one hour, because of lunch schedules, but it felt too short, between the discussions, stretching and warm-up. We barely had time to practice our routine before it was time to go. I think this class should be a 75-minute class, or the warm-up should be shortened.
How I felt after the class: Softened. There's no other way to explain it. When I arrived, I felt linear, focused, stressed and even a little aggressive. The flowing, playful tone of the class shifted my mentality after the first 10 minutes, and I left feeling gentler, open and more connected with my body. I noticed my walk all day.
— Reported by Aimee Heckel.