There is one prerequisite for taking an “In the Hot Seat’’ exotic chair dance class: You must have a sense of humor.
And it won’t hurt to leave your inhibitions at the door before entering VaVaVoom Fitness and Dance in Framingham.
But once the music starts, instructor Ann Saldi will make sure you’re feeling comfortable, enjoying yourself, and getting stronger.
“You’ll never look at your kitchen chairs the same way again,” she says with a smile.
They laugh a lot at VaVaVoom, where the slogan is “dancing naughty is good for the body,” and the philosophy is to have fun getting fit.
“I wanted this to be a place where women could feel comfortable; there’s no intimidation here,” said the 49-year-old Saldi. “You don’t have to be a picture-perfect dancer to do this.”
Janet Leombruno of Framingham is a regular at the Bodacious Barre and In the Hot Seat classes.
“We laugh at ourselves and we laugh at each other,” she said.
“And it makes you feel empowered,” Angela Caruso, also of Framingham, added.
Both of the classes, which are taught by Saldi, are definitely strenuous, and use elements of pilates, ballet, and yoga designed to tighten muscles without building bulk.
“It’s hard, but fun at the same time. You don’t realize how hard it is because you’re laughing so much,” said Wellesley resident Sally Jacobson, who has been taking classes for a year. “You have no idea what it does for your body, it tones you right up.”
Saldi uses the chair as a prop in her In the Hot Seat class, leading the group in leg lifts over and around the chairs. She also has the class lift their legs and tap the chairs, shimmy down them and use them to push off for core strengthening exercises to songs from the soundtrack to “Burlesque,” Beyonce’s “Fever,” and “Hey Sexy Lady” by Shaggy, among a variety of others.
In the Bodacious Barre class, which Saldi says “kicks their butts,” she also uses chairs but adds in more dance moves and 2- to 3-pound weights and fitness balls.
Saldi teaches In the Hot Seat as a “specialty” class in a rotation with eight other occasional offerings, including Butt What About Burlesque, Hip Hop Strip, and VaVaVoom Goin’ Country. Bodacious Burlesque is always on the calendar with more traditional spinning and boot-camp classes, along with a variety of Zumba dance sessions.
Saldi, who said she has been involved in fitness for more than 20 years, opened VaVaVoom four years ago. She said women often come in trying to jump-start a diet with strenuous routines to lose weight, and her advice is simple.
“Clean up what you eat, and find a class you have fun in and want to do,” she said.
“We all have a lot of stuff on our plates, we’re all busy and dealing with things that can be difficult,” she said. “It helps to give yourself a break, give yourself that one hour.”