When I was a child, I had the opportunity to have every possible toy, doll and gadget to experiment with. This included my Pogo Ball (which I became quite good at after growing a few extra layers of skin on my feet), my roller skates (yes skates – not blades – that I wore everywhere instead of shoes), a hooped track with a ball (name forgotten due to old age) and numerous hula hoops (among other things). I enjoyed these gadgets tremendously – and they were very good at keeping me moving, expending all the energy I had when I was a child so that my parents did not have hyper children at bedtime (well…not TOO hyper anyways).
This is why when I saw that Brass Vixens does hooping classes I got ridiculously excited. Not only would I be learning a new exercise method that I’ve been peeking at for years (yet not actually committing to), but I would be reliving some of my fun childhood memories….at least the ones where I didn’t fall headfirst onto the concrete floor while trying to do some version of gymnastics with my best friend.
So I contacted them and booked a session through their Twitter handle, @brassvixens and excitedly anticipated my hooping adventure.
What an adventure it was. After fighting with TTC construction and changes, I called to let them know that I would arrive quite late, and was feeling down because I swore I missed the class. However, because there were only two of us in the class, they WAITED for me to arrive and ran the class anyway. I’m eternally grateful, because that class was one of the most fun things I’ve done in a long, long time.
The first thing that impressed me was that their studio was all decked out in pink and black, all glam yet gritty girly – and you know how I love when people make an effort with their decor! They had a small, yet discreet change room, clean washrooms (very important!) and an awesome little shop with all things pole dancing, hooping and girly. I loved it as soon as I walked in. What I loved even more was the open, friendly manner of the staff.
You know in some gyms, you feel completely out of place because the “regulars” are the only ones who seem to be having fun? And because said regulars are mighty fit and trim and drinking expensive, trendy smoothie drinks that look like milk of magnesia on steroids? Well, Brass Vixens is not like that. It’s a fun place to get fit for ANYONE, including out of shape wanna-be-fashionistas like me – and get this, the classes are taught by NORMAL (yet spectacular) women. That to me is a big positive – mainly because I can concentrate on exercise and fun, rather than how much more fat I have on me than the girl next to me or the instructor at the front of the class.
I was amazed at the sizes of the hoops – apparently the larger ones are for the beginners and then you progress to smaller and smaller hoops as you get better. The largest hoop was HUGE!! I kept hitting the wall with it, but when I did eventually get the hoop to stay on my hips (for a little while), it was easier than the smaller ones – I’m not sure why, perhaps the heavier weight and slower spin around your body makes it more manageable?
So as soon as we chose hoops, the music started pumping and we started going. Like I said, there were only two of us in the class, so we had a very personal experience. The studio is small, however, and the intructors are extremely friendly yet professional, so I’m sure that in a larger class you’ll get a similar experience. The instructor of my class was extremely patient and laughed with you when you completely and utterly failed at keeping the hoop on your body (who…me?!). She assured me that “beginners” drop the hoop all the time and that the business downstairs was completely used to it and played loud music so didn’t hear the hoop clattering on the floor. When she said that beginners drop the hoop constantly, I failed to tell her that I’ve been trying to do this since I was probably around four years old and no, I still cannot keep a hoop on my hips. Yes, yes, I know I’m a Trini and that I am supposed to be able to move my hips – but this is a different movement – it’s wider and from the top of your hips rather than the typical “Trini wine”.
So, to this day I cannot hula hoop on my hips – but the classes did reveal to me that I can be an expert at hula hooping with my arms!!!! YES MY ARMS! I was able to hoop on my hands up in the air around my head without giving myself a concussion, able to switch hands, swing the hoop from the air down around my body and almost…just almost do a clock in place….um…almost.
I was so entranced by my arms, seeing them gracefully flinging this hoop around – it was almost seductive – and I loved that the classes were organised in different levels so that anyone, the out-of-shape-beginner like me to the paid exotic dancer would be able to find something to suit them.
And I think this is the reason that places like Brass Vixens do so well. It may take you a while to try hooping or aerial yoga or even pole dancing, but once you let go of your inhibitions and let yourself relax and have fun, and once you see yourself in the mirror doing something you never thought you’d be coordinated enough to do, you sort of fall in love with yourself and your “inner goddess” (if I can steal a term from 50 shades of Grey…and yes I have a lot to say on that book and it’s not complimentary…maybe I should write a blog?!) and you completely start to see yourself in a different, more positive light.
Unfortunately for me, Brass Vixens is FAR FAR away from where I live, but may be convenient for you – there’s one studio on Queen West and one in Leslieville – extremely convenient for the downtowner. You can check out their website to see their schedules and information on their instructors and their classes. They even offer certification to become instructors (again, information on their website). Also, if you have further questions, feel free to contact them on Facebook or Twitter.
So, I urge you, if you’re in the Toronto area to give Brass Vixens a try – and if you’re not in Toronto, look for hooping, pole dancing or aerial yoga and give it a try at least once – it is so empowering that you could get addicted. I’ve only tried the hooping thus far, since I’m usually very private with my sexuality, it was the only thing I was comfortable doing at the time. I would like to try the aerial yoga, however and maybe can work my way up to pole dancing….eventually
Just to encourage you to get your sexy back, Brass Vixens has even offered you a 20% discount if you email them when booking and mention Bewildered Bug in the email.