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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Learning to shimmy, shake

    Cooper Temple

    A burlesque class, led by Fanny Galore, practices in front of the mirror at Animas dance studio on Feb. 10. Galore has been performing burlesque since 2008 and teaching since 2009. The studio describes burlesque as an opportunity to “get in shape and have fun while expressing your inner thoughts and feelings.”

    Get ready to put on those fishnets and heels and strut to the Animas Center in the River Center Plaza to take a confidence-boosting burlesque dance class. On Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m., people of various ages can take the class focused on gaining self-esteem and being comfortable in their own bodies. 

    “This is a class that you really just do for your heart, for your soul,” said Becca Franks, owner of the Animas Center. “It’s just about having fun and getting more confidence.”

    Fanny Galore, the burlesque instructor at the Animas Center, defined burlesque as “the art of the tease.” She emphasized the interpretative aspect of burlesque and encourages her students to stylize the movements as they please.

    “Generally, for a burlesque dance class like this, it will be a lot of bumps, grinds, shimmies and shakes,” Galore said. “In terms of stage performance, it will be the art of the tease. There will be some sort of clothing removal. There are no rules of how much, what kind [or] if you have to actually show skin.”

    Seeing a lack of formal instruction in the burlesque style, Galore, who has been a dance teacher in different styles for 17 years, decided to make the art form more accessible to people who wanted to learn. Galore received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance performance from Arizona State University and has taught this dance style for the last year.

    Galore said that while some who take the class are shy and initially feel out of their comfort zone, they end up having fun and really loving the style.

    “There are always the uncomfortable giggles,” Galore said. “Some people are just very shy. For the most part, people seem to really like it. We don’t take ourselves too seriously.”

    One of Galore’s favorite techniques to help people feel more relaxed is to make them laugh.

    “It definitely can be uncomfortable,” Galore said. “So, if I get them laughing first, then they loosen up a little bit.”

    She also doesn’t want her students to get caught up in the technicality of the steps or the choreography.

    “For the most part, burlesque is a solo art form,” Galore said. “So, if your steps don’t look exactly like my steps, it’s OK. [It’s] really important for my students to understand that whatever they are doing is valid and good.”

    Galore’s burlesque class is one of the many classes offered at the Animas Center. Beside burlesque, Animas provides postural and barre fitness classes, stretching and dance classes, yoga, pilates and many others — all of which are designed to help open up the body and relieve pain. Since its inception in April 2011, the Animas Center has provided clients with classes that are designed to make one’s body feel its best.

    From warming up the hips and shoulders with shakes and shimmies to seductive choreography at the end, Galore’s burlesque class pushes many to break out of their shells and adopt new, more empowered personas.

    “I feel that the class was a fun, unique and liberating experience that I would recommend to women of every age,” said Brianna Bartos, a sophomore studying English and creative writing. “I enjoyed the variation of the steps, the encouraging teacher and the smooth music.”

    After being a dancer and suffering some injuries in the art, Franks, owner of the Animas Center, turned to pilates for healing. Since then, she has developed an appreciation for pilates, and said that it felt natural for her to open up a studio that combined both of her passions.

    “[Burlesque] is such a positive class,” Franks said. “‘Animas’ itself means … your soul or spirit — what you’re passionate about. I wouldn’t say that I’m passionate about stripping, but I do think that it is a great thing to feel good about yourself.”


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