“I know you didn’t bring heels! But it’s okay, you can still take the class anyway,” my friend said as we walked into Gotta Dance. The parking lot was packed with cars, an indication of the electric activity inside of the building. It was a Tuesday night, and this popular dance school in the heart of Atlanta housed several dance classes at every level.
Vijeta and I were in the midst of the ATL’s dance culture to take Heel Talk: a sexy dance class taught by accomplished professional dancer and choreographer Latasha Bryant involving sensual dance moves in stilettos. My friend is a petite mother of two and an accomplished dancer herself. But knowing I’d been out of regular dance classes for 10 years, she ensured me we’d be taking Tasha’s beginner’s class.
Walking into the studio lined with mirrors took me back to high school days, when dancing was my favorite form of expression. Nostalgia began to sweep over me as we were instructed to begin stretching to warm up, before beginning across-the-floor exercises. It felt good to reach slowly down my legs (covered in thigh-high tube socks) to touch my toes in a half-body stretch. But as I paused for a few seconds loosening my hamstrings, I couldn’t help but feel the mass of my body—a few dozen pounds heavier than my teenage years.
I was in this dance class not only as a form of bonding between besties, but as a way to awaken my feminine energy after two years of battling with PCOS. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is a disease with no cure and affects millions of women who go undiagnosed yearly. And after battling hair loss, weight gain, mood swings and dozens of other symptoms, I was finally back in a space where I was beginning to feel healthy again.
At the advice of my nutritionist, I was attending this class to use movement as a form of healing. And so it began.
Tasha started us out with sexy walks across the floor, used to help us become comfortable with movement in heels. As a professional backup dancer for Usher, Tamar Braxton and August Alsina, she’s experienced in keeping her sexy while committing to fluid movements.
Standing on the balls of my feet and watching my friend in front of me, I took a deep breath and began my strut across the floor. My hips swayed to the left and right to the bass of Beyoncé belting her feminism-fused lyrics, and as I moved to the other side of the room, my body felt electrified. As the class went on, my socks came off, and Tasha began to speed through eight counts like the professional she is.
At that point, I realized: this wasn’t a beginner’s class. After an hour and a half of head whips, hip dips and high kicks, class was over and I was covered in sweat that not only made me feel like I had an intense workout, but it also made me feel sexy. My nutritionist was right: dance was a great way to reawaken my feminine energy.
At the end of Tasha’s class, I felt accomplished in pushing myself to a level of creativity that I haven’t reached in a while. And that made me feel sexy. I encourage every woman to take some form of movement class to give rejuvenate her sexy. You can find these classes in your city or another near you by using Google to search “dance classes.” To find out more about Tasha’s “Heel Talk” sessions and dance appearances, connect with her on social media via Instagram @tashab1 and visit her website, www.officialtashab.com.
After cleaning up and changing back into my street clothes, I had the chance to pull Latasha aside to talk about her experience as a professional dancer and her opinions on how dance can help any woman enhance her awareness of her own sexuality.
EBONY: Tell me, how did you get started in dance and what was your inspiration to do so?
Latasha Bryant: I started my dance journey at a very young age, when I would be the last one dancing at every family function. (Laughs) First it was me volunteering, then it just became known that I was the dancer and that I would have to entertain family and friends. That was one thing that inspired me to get into movement.
My siblings and I always watched music videos as well, and we would try to learn all the choreography and also make up our own routines in the living room as soon as my mom left the house for work, music blasting and all! (laughs) I loved watching Michael Jackson, Destiny’s Child, Janet Jackson, Beyoncé, Usher, Britney Spears and J.Lo, just to name a few amazing artists who inspired me to dance. Another thing I used to do was lock myself in the bathroom for hours, singing and dancing in the mirror to every song on my playlist. Music definitely inspired me to get into movement.
EBONY: Heel talk definitely brings out your sex appeal. I’m curious about your inspiration behind teaching this class.
LB: My inspiration for Heel Talk first came from how good I felt dancing in a pair of sexy heels. Just to see the silhouette of my body or the arch in my back or the length of my legs was always euphoric to me. My ace Princess Mbanuzue, also a phenomenal dancer, was teaching a seduction class in Atlanta, at Rhythma Studios, where she needed a sub on several occasions and asked me to fill in.
I loved every minute of it, and while I knew I always wanted to teach, that moment just finalized it for me and confirmed my niche. A new dance studio opened up by the name of Metropolitan Dance Studio, and I auditioned to become a heels instructor and made the cut. I was too excited, and my friends helped me narrow down my name choices to Heel Talk. My class is constantly changing, because I want everyone to be challenged to step outside of their comfort zone once in awhile.
One day it may be high energy, then super slow, or mid-tempo, then sharp hitting moves, to grooving, to twerking. I mean, all of that! (Laughter) I do include walks across the floor, stretching, mini workouts, and also freestyle. I currently teach at Gotta Dance Atlanta, so please check them out.
EBONY: I was inspired to take your class by a recommendation of my nutritionist, who suggested dance as a natural way for me to balance my hormones. What are your opinions about using dance to awaken feminine energy?
LB: Dance is such a great outlet for women, but also everyone! You learn so much about your body, it’s crazy. For women, when taking a heels class or any sexy, exotic, seduction class, you have to feel on yourself and love who you are. You have to look at yourself in the mirror at that moment, while rolling your hips, licking your lips, touching your legs and watching your curves. It helps you remember that there is nothing wrong with being a strong, sexy woman… and in a fierce pair of pumps to top it off! (Laughter)
Dancing really helps women to be in tune with their feminine side, so I recommend it. When dancing, you have to just let go, and let you hands roam, let your hair loose, watch your arch, rub your legs, touch your entire body. And nothing reads better than the word sex when you’re looking at yourself in the mirror while doing it in a pair of sexy heels, wearing what makes you feel sexy, and maybe with the lights low. Even when the choreography is fast and you’re like, “I’m a diva, I’m a diva,” it still helps bring out the sexual side of a woman in some way, in their own way. And that’s all that matters.
EBONY: So many women complain about having limited mobility and flexibility in their lower bodies during sex. How can a woman use dance to remedy that issue?
LB: Definitely taking ballet classes will help women to gain some flexibility in their hips and everything else. Second position is no joke! Hip rolls, squats, lunges, and pliés definitely help, and I’ve done all of this in my choreography. Many instructors I know add these elements to their choreography as well. But other than that, stretching, of course, always does the job!
EBONY: I see more women becoming interested in taking dance classes in the future. For the woman who is interested in taking dance classes or movement, how can she go about finding the right class for her?
LB: I think women should try to engage in as much physical activity as possible, and also social functions which can open doors to more activities. There are social websites, one called Meet Up, and they basically have all sorts of activities/social events/parties/clubs/ etc. going on. You can view them and attend. I also know some clubs offer free dance lessons. A club called TongueNgroove here in Atlanta offers an one hour free Salsa dance lesson every Wednesday night from 9-10pm, and then after that the club is jumping with salsa dancers beginner to intermediate level, and bachata dancing goes down as well.
So I say if you want to incorporate more moment in your daily activities, get out and meet new people, they do it all. Yoga classes, Zumba classes, dance classes, special nights at clubs or bars, etc. Also, freestyling in the mirror. You can do that any day and all day. I do it! Sometimes I even dress up, and I think every woman should try it.
EBONY: That’s funny because I actually do that all the time. My twin sister and I have random dance parties in the house where we dress up and dance to Pandora for hours. So what are your plans for the future and for your class series?
LB: I have plenty of plans for what I hope for in the future, and I know that I can do whatever I set my mind to. But I also know that I can’t do anything without God, and I know He will direct me in the right path even when I don’t understand it at first. I would like to tour with artists such as Janet, Britney Spears, Rihanna, Usher, Chris Brown, Ciara etc. But one thing is for sure my ultimate dream job is to dance with the one and only Beyoncé. That would make my day, month, year… all of that! It doesn’t matter how tired I am, I can dance to her music all day and night. So I pray one day I will be doing just that. I want to take Heel Talk up a notch and turn it into a woman’s empowerment series eventually, and transform the series as a brand.
Glamazon Tyomi is a freelance writer, model and sex educator with a deeply rooted passion for spreading the message of sex positivity and encouraging the masses to embrace their sexuality. Her website, www.glamerotica101.com, reaches internationally as a source for advice and information for the sexually active/curious. Follow her on Twitter at @glamazontyomi.