ahhhh.... a school for strippers and topless dancers


Pole-dancing classes help take off pounds

Betty Beard The Arizona Republic Jan. 26, 2006 12:00 AM

Pole dancing isn't just for strip-teasing these days.

The practice of making suggestive moves around a pole is one of the latest forms of aerobic exercise, and a new Ahwatukee Foothills fitness center plans to offer pole-dancing classes for women looking for a break from treadmills and circuit training.

Shawn Andersen, owner of the women-only Sands Fitness Center, at 4302 E. Ray Road, Suite 107, admits he first thought it was "ridiculous" when customers first asked for pole-dancing classes but finally agreed because so many women wanted it.

"It wasn't my idea. It was the members' idea," he said. "I think it's going to be a hoot."

Susan Parker, his vice president of business development, said pole dancing offers quite a workout.

"It really takes a lot of upper body strength to really work that pole, and that's what tones the muscles," she said.

Offering it in a women's-only gym makes women more willing to try it, she said.

"The women-only club allows them to be very comfortable and relaxed when they are exercising," she said.

Andersen bought the former Slim and Tone 30 Minute Workout for Women business last year and plans to keep some of the circuit-training equipment and to add other features, including an infrared sauna for sweating off a lot of calories quickly.

"We like to say, 'Are you tired of the same old circuit? Well so are we,' " he said.

The center was still interviewing pole-dance teachers last week and plans to offer the hourlong class starting in the first week of February. At least 10 women have expressed interest, and classes will be limited to eight women. More classes will be added if there is demand, Parker said.

Reza Karamooz, owner of the Reza Resort fitness center at the Scottsdale Airpark in Scottsdale, claims to have introduced pole dancing to Phoenix area fitness centers last year and said several others have picked it up. It has been big in Los Angeles.

His center offers other dance, including salsa and belly dance and can accommodate 20 pole-dancing students at a time.

"It (pole dancing) is a lot of fun for women who might be bored with doing weights or going to a gym," Karamooz said.

"They can use it to break up the boredom."

Andersen has purchased several stainless steel poles on 4- by 4-foot platforms for the classes at Sands.

He also plans to sell poles for women who want to dance in their homes.

"This gets even funnier," he said. "I could have bought poles with neon lights and smoke and all the gadgets.

"But I don't plan on renting our members out for parties.

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