CatalystCon 2013

CatalystCon is in 15 days, and I will be heading to DC for lots of fun and info all about sex!

What is CatalystCon.?

I can’t really say it any better than then organizers themselves.

CatalystCon East '13

CatalystCon. is a conference created to inspire exceptional conversations about sexuality. It is about reaching out and stimulating those who attend to create those important conversations in their own communities, changing how we as a society talk about and treat sexuality. It is about stimulating the activist that is within all of us and sparking transformation in the way our friends, neighbors, children and even politicians discuss one of the most important aspects of humanity.

This is a conference meant to energize, enlighten and exhilarate. It is a conference where everyone is welcome, everyone is respected, and everyone is encouraged to share their knowledge and experiences. With the most current attacks on women’s rights such as birth control, mandatory transvaginal ultrasounds as well as sex education being pulled from our schools, it is more important than ever to come together and have these important conversations on all areas of sexuality.

The fundamental principle of CatalystCon. is that knowledge is power and sharing that knowledge is the first spark in igniting changing conversations.”

Why are you going to CatalystCon.?

Sex equals fun

With the birth of the Sexual Wellness program at Cleveland Exotic Dance, it’s time to connect with others doing similar work with sexuality. Our burlesque ladies attend things like BurlyCon, Pole has all kinds of showcases, competitions, and conventions, and belly dance has all kinds of fun events. Many of these events feature a host of workshops designed to focus on aspects to create better dancers and instructors.

The world of sexuality is no different. I have read A LOT about sexuality, from how-to books to anthropological ethnographies. I have also experienced all kinds of flavors of sexuality, from stripping to kink clubs. I can always learn more. I can always improve on how to share information with and educate others on both fun sex topics and serious ones.

I love what I do, and I want to always learn more and get better, not just for myself, but for my students. If you are interested in virtually attending the convention with me, follow me on twitter, Red-Thistle.

Here’s a list of the presentations and events I plan on attending. Each one has it’s own hashtag for twitter so you can follow everyone’s tweets. The entire event has one too, #ccon.

Friday March 15th

Opening Keynote speaker/panel #cconok

Saturday March 16th

Sex Work & Disability #cconswdisability
Making Comprehensive Sex Education into Inclusive Sex Education #cconsexed
How to be a Top Presenter #cconpresenter
Creative Recovery: Transforming Pain into Healing Power after Sexual Assault #cconrecovery
Slut Shaming in Sex-Positive Communities #cconshaming
Girl Gasms #ccomgirlgasms
Take it like a Man #cconlikeaman
Sexy Soiree #cconsoiree
Dirty Bingo #cconbingo

Sunday March 17th

When to give it away and when to charge for it #cconcharge
The Online Activist: Ready, Set, Tweet! #cconactivist
Does this Panel Make Me Look Fat? Body Image and Sexuality #cconbody
Closing Presentation & Afternoon tea #cconck

photo credit: “Caveman Chuck” Coker via photopin cc

Tease & Thank You: Feb 2013

Quick little update for everyone about what CED’s in house burly group, Tease & Thank You Burlesque, is doing?

Dahlia D'Luxe


check out Dahlia D’Luxe featured on The Rainy Day Box


did you you know we have an Amazon wishlist?
It’s hard enough for one performer to getting her costumes, props, and supplies together. Multiply that by 6 and you can only imagine. Of course the BEST is getting you out to support Tease & Thank You Burlesque at shows, and if you’d like you can help “tip” us from our Amazon wishlist. We love all our fans equally no matter what, but our Amazon wishlist supporters can get a signed photo of the whole group or of your favorite Tease. Of course we have to know you got us something and where to send a photo, so leave a gift note with the order when you check out on Amazon.


next show. Save the date for March 30th. More details soon!

Tease & Thank You on stage


if you haven’t checked Tease & Thank You Burlesque out on Facebook or Twitter, click over and connect. Those are the best places to find out about shows and stay connected.

Shimmy Mob 2013

Belly Dancers of all levels, even if you haven’t danced in years, and those who want to try belly dance, are encouraged to join Shimmy Mob this year.

The primary objective of Shimmy Mob is to raise donations and awareness. Funds raised via Shimmy Mob will be donated to Abused Women and Children shelters throughout the world.

The secondary objective is to produce a flash mob type event formed by dancers and non dancers with the objective of performing a choreographed medley of bellydance styles.

The Shimmy Mob performances will occur throughout World Bellydance Day (May 11th) and will serve to promote the dance, participating dance teachers and schools offering free related events happening in the local participating areas.

Cleveland Shimmy Mob 2012

Cleveland Shimmy Mob Team 2012

Cleveland’s Shimmy Mob team is now 30+ dancers and growing. We have decided to dance for the Domestic Violence and Child Advocacy Center and we’re still choosing the dance location and getting all the details together. Visit to join our Cleveland team or to join one in your area if you’re not from Cleveland. We’ll still all be dancing together on May 11th!

When you sign up, you’ll get access to the choreography to start learning at home. There will also be free local rehearsals, and bigger full group “dress rehearsals” the closer we get to May 11th. You’ll also get the official Shimmy Mob t-shirt which everyone around the world will be wearing on the same day when we all dance. It’s a lot of fun, you’ll meet lots of wonderful women, and support a good cause.

Hope to see you on the participant list and in rehearsal!

Pole Choreography

Pole Choreography is for all students level II and up. You’ve got some spins, tricks, floor work, body rolls, etc. How do you put them all together? How do you choose a song? How do you fit your moves to the flow of the song you choose? What about stage presence? What about costuming?

We will cover all of the above and more. By the end of the course you will be either finished or well on your way to finishing a full song choreography suitable for performance on stage or in private.

The Pole Choreography course is a full 6 week course and you must be able to come to the 1st class. If you do have to miss 1 or 2 classes, you can still sign up. Just contact us directly so we know which days you will miss and to adjust the cost of the course.

Woman in mirror. Dance practice

In order to fully work with each student we are only accepting 5 students each time we run the course. These 5 students will work together for the entire 6 weeks. This promotes camaraderie and and a very positive environment where each student should feel free to explore. The instructor is there to teach, but she is more there to facilitate you finding your own style in your dance.

Pole Choreography starts: Wednesday, March 6th at 7pm.

Remember, it is highly recommended you sign up for the entire 6 weeks of Pole Choreography. If you do need to miss a class or two, don’t let that stop you though. Contact CED for an adjusted price and to let us know which day(s) you won’t be able to make it.
The last day of the 6 classes is April 10th.
$100 for the full course.

See our Class Calendar, go to the date you want to attend, and click on the class to register.

dance mirror photo credit: quinn.anya via photopin cc
Celeste wrist sit photo credit: Tim Johnson : Quixote Creations

Pole Dance Saved My Life

You may not have heard the phrase “Pole Dance Saved My Life” before, but I have, over and over.

Aside from the day to day at CED, I work as a volunteer for a local sexual abuse and violence center. I recently attended a training session there and mentioned our upcoming Cleveland Pole Showcase, how we did it last year and donated the proceeds to the center, and that we were going to do the same thing again this year.

I was asked, not in a negative way, but with genuine curiosity.
“Don’t you think that’s a conflict of interest?”

“Not at all.”

I went into how many women over the years have come to my studio to get in touch with a side of themselves they might not have ever been in touch with or a side they lost after abuse or sexual violence. I provide a safe space where people can connect and reconnect with their unique sensual selves. They will not be judged here, they can chose to be a sensual as they want or not at all if they just want to focus on the fitness and strength, and they can get support from other people on similar paths. It’s a kind of therapy for many, with out the therapist, and all about self-discovery.

I told her, “I can’t tell you how many women have told me ‘Pole dance saved my life.'”

BW photo of woman

Cleveland Exotic Dance welcomes everyone who genuinely wants to explore how pole and other forms of sensual dance can change, and even save their lives.
Everyone from…..
former and current adult entertainers
college students
post-menopausal women
abuse and rape survivors
people with disabilities
cancer survivors
even…. men

Any kind of dance will take you on a journey, but I think pole dance is unique in that there are so many facets to it. You can fuse other forms of dance with pole. One day you can explore raw sexual feelings, the next day you can play and swing around like a child again.

Dance with a pole like….
a stripper
a ballerina
a b-boy or b-girl
a belly dancer
a gymnast
a booty shaker
a tango dancer
a yogi
a circus artist
a (fill in the blank)

I have seen all of these done, and I have done some myself. We may know pole in America as coming from the strip club, but it can take you anywhere if you let it.

Roxi layback

When you can fly, you can be free.


B/W photo credit: Diamond Farah via photopin cc

Welcome Special Guest Instructor, Peggy de Lune

Peggy de Lune as Veronica Lake

1st: I’m beside myself to welcome Peggy de Lune to CED

, and maybe even start making a good connection to the burlesque scene overseas. Hell, I lived in Scotland for a year and the UK has become a 2nd home in my heart, but I had a really hard time with burlesque and pole over there. Time was a huge part of it (I was a grad student) but being an outsider had a lot to do with it too. We’re so thrilled to welcome Peggy with open arms and twirling tassels.

2nd: Have you seen what this dame has been doing?

No, well, go browse around her website,, and go like her on Facebook while you’re at it. Make sure to come back here when you’re done to sign up for her workshop.

3rd: The topic of this Peggy de Lune special workshop is all about confidence!

It’s the PERFECT compliment to any of our classes at CED, not just burlesque. Helping our students build confidence is a core mission of this studio. It’s not just for the stage, but for your entire life. Here’s more info on the Workshop.

Being Fabulous and Working it Like a Star – Whether you’re Onstage or Not!

Peggy de Lune will be teaching a basic revue of moves and working on strutting, with a focus on personality and confidence (great for beginners and non-dancers alike), as well as creating character for different types of performance and life’s situations (all the world’s a stage right?) – from classic to neo burlesque, Dita to Clowning burlesque. Learn a routine from one of Peggy’s shows and we’ll work with that as a basis to experiment with personal expression. By the end of the workshop, you’re own individuality will shine through whether you’re at work, at school, running errands, or on stage.
A little add-on benefit for performers and those interested in performing, you’ll get a little UK flavor to add to your repertoire.

Upcoming Dates: March 2, 2013 at 1pm (1.5-2 hour class. May vary depending on class size)
Cost: $30

AND! Don’t forget to see Peggy de Lune in the Roxy Remembered show at the Beachland Ballroom on February 23, 2013.

See our Class Calendar, go to the date you want to attend, and click on the class to register.

Remember Current CED Students get $5 off, so contact us to register and get the discount.

Is your vagina normal?

(While this is about healthy discourse about the vagina, this content might be NSFW due to language used in the video below and images if you click over to the linked website.)

Short answer: Yes

Barring any medical conditions, your vagina is fine in its shape, size, color, texture, everything. In order to cultivate positive body image, we must not shy away from celebration of the entire body.

Woman viewing medical illustration of a vagina and uterus between her legs.

If only it were that easy to look down and get to know yourself better. It might require some mirrors and creativity, but it is worth it.

A good project to check out and possibly support.

Check out this video for more info about the 101 Vagina project.

photo credit: zio Hack via photopin cc

Exotic Dance Fundamentals course

Exotic Dance Fundamentals makes this unique class sound like it’s for beginners only. Not the case. This class is for everyone, coming from any form of dance, or those who have never danced.

Yes, we will cover basics dance basics such as posture, hip movements, body waves, dance walks, etc. Beginners can stick with just feeling stable in the basics but students from other classes and seasoned dancers will be challenged with drills, layers, and developing their stage presence. Even if you never touch a stage, stage presence is still important because that is the projection of your dance. Stage presence is when there’s a connection which comes from your heart and soul and floods the room through your dance.

Star Dance Painting

We will work on reaching deep to pull you out through your dance.

Each week is a different topic or set of exercises. Students can easily take each individual class as a single drop-in for $10. Or you can run through all 6 weeks with me for $50.

Here are some topics I have cooking for Exotic Dance Fundamentals.

  • Using shapes to connect with your body in different ways and using those shapes to convey emotion.
  • Body part Isolations
  • Facial expression and exercise
  • Freestyle development
  • Balance
  • Dynamics as movement and as sound
  • Descriptive dance and moods
  • Stage PresenceExotic Dance with fan

For those counting, yes, there are more than 6 topics listed, and in my brain I have more than 8 ideas for classes. The initial 6 week course is a tester to see if this becomes a regular offering at CED. Exactly how I teach each topic will depend on who is attending. If I have a room full of students brand new to exotic dance, I’ll step back to movement basics. If I have some pole students and some belly dance students I will work with them appropriately. Each class will be different, but it will be fun, and it will get you thinking about your dance.

So, are you ready to come on my adventure?

Exotic Dance Fundamentals starts: Sunday, February 24th at 2:30pm.

Remember you can come to single classes or the whole 6 weeks.
We will not have class on March 17th.
The last day of the 6 classes is April 7th.

See our Class Calendar, go to the date you want to attend, and click on the class to register.
fan dance photo credit: Chris Blakeley via photopin cc

photo credit: rafeejewell via photopin cc

Really Sports Illustrated?

I’ve looked at the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition in the past. I enjoy looking at women. We are beautiful creatures. I’m not the only one. Women look at other women all day long, but too often it’s in comparison and not in admiration. Or if there is admiration it’s often tinged with some kind of envy.

Most of the women’s/style/fashion magazines out there do nothing but enforce this behavior. They sell you all kinds of quick (unhealthy) ways to get model thin, remove all the hair on your body, and how you should be having sex. Look at these cover models that’s what they do, they’re perfect, and you should be just like them too. Now the Sport’s Illustrated Swimsuit edition, out a shiny on shelves today, has a “a six-page “style guide” featuring model interviews and makeup tips for helping “everyday beautiful women” look more like the exceptionally beautiful women who fill the issue’s pages.” (quote from


I really don't care to look like Kate Upton. If I did look like her, I would choose a bikini top that actually fits.

I really don’t care to look like Kate Upton. If I did look like her, I would choose a bikini top that actually fits.

It’s unattainable for most women to have what our US/Western culture deems as supermodel beauty. Genetics aside (and, no, their genetics aren’t better than yours), supermodels and other celebrities live a very very different lifestyle. We can’t work out 4 or more hours a day nor function in our daily lives by eating the way they do. I think most adult women realize that, so instead we compete with each other.

Stop it. You are you. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to get super perfect curls at the ends of your hair and picking up a guide to help you achieve that, but does your hair hold curl in the first place? If you’re like me, forget it. The only time my hair has was for my wedding when done by an awesome stylist and a whole can of spray. I just won’t have hair like that. But I can achieve other styles with my hair…… well, not really. But I’m fine with it.

I don’t really want to look like them. I want to look like me. I want to care for my body, eat, and exercise in a healthy manner which will promote the best me I can be. The best me I can be is not going to look like any supermodel. She won’t look like any of my friends. Me won’t event look like me 5 years ago nor 50 years from now.

Be you. Be healthy. Find what works for you hair, your skin, your body type, your lifestyle…. Go ahead and read articles about how to do something with your body. There’s nothing wrong with beauty or improving yourself in anyway. Just do it for the right reasons, make sure you choose healthy sources for your information (physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually) (The article in S.I. is likely not one of them), have patience with yourself, and realistic expectations.

Love you!

Kate Upton photo credit: discutivovia photopincc

photo credit: h.koppdelaney via photopin cc