I found out the hard way that Pole Dancing is not my forte. The classes were too free-form. Instructions to "Practice Being Sexy" are not specific enough; the "sexy spins" cause minor nausea; and much of the art is dependent on upper arm strength. It is too hard AND too easy at the same time.
On the other hand, there is Belly Dancing. All I can say is: Finally. Yes, it is about time that I have found an activity in which an over sized posterior is an asset. With minimal wiggle, my body responds with maximum jiggle. One could say I am a natural.
First, we learned the "Omi", which is simply moving the hips in a circle. My hours of Wii Hula Hoop have made me an expert at this move, and so I was able to move on with relative ease to the "Figure 8". As the name implies, this move is accomplished by tracing a figure 8 with your hips. It is a little easier to do the figure 8 in one direction than the other. I am a "left 8", but the "right 8" is not too difficult. A more challenging move is the "Vertical Figure 8" in which the hips rotate up and down to trace the figure 8. We learned a few other moves, and then practiced doing the omi very very quickly - until it becomes a "shimi". I found this very difficult to do correctly, but this is where my jiggle became an asset. I was totally able to fake the shimi with amazingly little effort.
It will probably come as a surprise to my readers to learn that the hardest move (judging by the abilities of the whole class) was the "Snake Arms". The dominant hand has no trouble performing the move. The hand seems to float on air as the arm moves gracefully up and down. The non-dominant hand appears drunk as the hand juts out from the arm sharply and stabs at the air. I found that with a bit more concentration on my non-dominant hand, I was able to perform the snake arms with few problems. I am pretty ambidextrous in my daily life, and I have designated "chores" for each arm rather than letting just one arm have all the fun. Most of my classmates, however, tended to have one lovely snake arm, and one zombie arm.
Belly dancing is definitely closer to what I was looking for in the realm of exotic dancing fitness. The class was more structured than pole dancing, and fun. The workout was about the equivalent of a brisk walk - not a huge calorie-burner, but enough to get the metabolism going (I hope). My only regret: I got to class just as it was about to begin, and I didn't get there early enough to don a complimentary wrap of bangles. The teacher said they are available online for $9.99, but I am not quite ready to make that commitment. I just hope to get there earlier next time.