FOUNDER SCHÖNHEITSTANZ BERLIN
FOUNDER SCHÖNHEITSTANZ BERLIN
Back off, Zumba: These dance moves are so much hotter than you. Meet: Germany’s pioneer in ladies-only erotic fitness
Berlin’s erotic open-mindedness is an open secret. Rest assured – we aren’t taking you clubbing yet. Meet with us Berlin's and Germany’s pioneer in ladies-only erotic fitness.
While sportiness is not much of a trend in Berlin, the city’s sports and dance studios offer a stunning variety of fitness programs ranging from medical back pain prevention to all kinds of yoga, from muscle building to fun gym, from salsa to guided sightseeing jogging. One studio stands out from the crowd: Schönheitstanz in Berlin-Mitte, near the iconic Friedrichstadtpalast show palace. We spoke to Agata Lattka, the founder of Germany’s first erotic dance studio for women.
Agata, Schönheitstanz is Germany’s first sensual movement studio to offer erotic pole dance, burlesque and lap dance courses. How did it feel to be a pioneer? Was burlesque a trend when you founded the studio? Or have there been some misconceptions?
Well, I started Schönheitstanz (German for “beauty dance”, editor’s note) in 2008. Few only knew back then about burlesque; pole dance was pretty unknown; and lap dance was a strip club thing. But it’s been the same summer as Dita von Teese appeared on the Playboy pages and pole dance had its first appearance in US TV-shows. We’ve of course experienced some difficulties, but interested and open-minded people would’ve found us as well.
Why the decision to found such a special studio?
On one hand, the idea originated from the time when I was working in the strip club field myself, noticing the positive side effects of the seductive dance. Later a travel trip to Canada made me discover local pole dance, sensual movement, and burlesque studios, established in the 1990ies. I loved the idea of women of all age discovering the erotic move as leisure. So - after my state examination as a secondary school teacher - I developed the studio concept and brought it to life. In this sense I adhered to the plan of becoming a teacher.
Right from the beginning I wanted to offer a variety of three sensual dances. Each of them has its own focus and still somehow they belong together. Right from the start and with a lot of luck I happened to meet Lady Lou, the burlesque performer, – and she’s been our main burlesque dance teacher ever since. What is important to me is that our members feel looked after, well advised and comfortable – so our teachers have to meet very high standards.
Are Schönheitstanz members pros or amateurs?
Our members are very, very different. We have ages ranging from 18 to 60, students and businesswomen, singles and married ladies, divorcees and girls newly in love. And most of them are beginners. What all women have in common is the fun in sensual moving and the training benefits it offers. Of course we offer intermediate and advanced courses for those who have trained before, maybe in another countries.
An example: our teacher Yvonne Haug’s (pole dance runners-up) courses attract teachers from other cities. Lady Lou and myself often happen to work with professional dancers and actresses who need our advice and some dance training for a show or a job.
So anyone can join? Despite the hurting back they got from their 9 to 5 job?
Of course. I think that modern women love to (re)discover their sensuality. So here it’s not about perfection but about the fun of feeling seductive while effectively working out. No prior knowledge, no specific talent, no sportiness are required. Tired office workers are very welcome.
Let’s talk about the dance variety you offer. Pole dance is maybe the most trendy: there are rumours that it will be selected as a show act for the 2016 Olympics in Rio. But it also looks quite demanding. Can anybody pole dance?
“Dance” is the key word here. No matter what, it’s a sensual dance that helps you keep fit, a dance celebrating the beauty of the female body. And this is also my approach to pole dance. Of course you can make pole dance mere fitness. Even though I like the attention this sport is receiving, acrobatics is not our main focal point at Schönheitstanz. We are a ladies-only studio. Women can learn to feel their body and have fun working out; they get a better posture, and a real boost for their self-esteem.
The choreographic program of every course is adapted to the entry level, to establish the feeling of success from the beginning. The choreography is put together from different pole dance elements: pirouettes, climbing, seductive dance moves, floor work. Beginners’ courses require no prior knowledge and no specific physique.
What about burlesque? It’s very US-inspired – Gipsy Lee Rose, Lili St. Cyr, Dita. Does Berlin have a distinct burlesque style?
It would be hard to identify a distinct Berlin style. Like the city itself it’s a great and wonderful variety of styles and techniques. The burlesque scene in Berlin is very colourful and has many facets.
Lap dance seems almost the easiest of the three regarding the studio schedule?
It’s rather a special; private lessons are also offered in addition to the three workshops so, yes, the variety of the other two dance genres is bigger. Lap dance is an act of seduction through the medium of dance. It’s not necessarily happening on the lap only, as some might think – it’s a game of showing and hiding. We offer many “tease” ideas and we work on the role of the seductress: no nudity is involved. Still, “easy” is maybe not the right word – many ladies might not be at ease with the seduction. But we’ve been so far able to handle any teething troubles with a bit of humour and a glass of sparkling wine!
COMING NEXT AT SCHÖNHEITSTANZ:
December 16, 3 to 7 pm:
Open house presentation, Christmas shopping and performances.
January 7, 4 to 6pm:
Beginner Course with Lady Lou in English
All events ladies only.
—by Nath Fedorova
Photos: Cover Image by Michael Schermons; Pole dance image by Pamela Burbank