The day after Lena Pereira taught her Cardio Strip-Hop class, one of her students came up to her and said, "Thank you so much! Because of your class, I had the best sex of my life last night."
That's one reason to enroll. But there are other incentives to try this bewildering mix of cowgirl steps, stripper moves, and hip-hop dances. You want to work out in your rhinestone-studded jeans? That's totally cool -- and Pereira even has a cowgirl hat for you to borrow. You like crawling on the ground and shimmying your hips? Good. That strengthens abdominal muscles, while dancing annihilates calories. And honestly... where else can you spank the floor, fondle yourself, use a body bar as a stripper's pole, and yee-haw -- all to a soundtrack of Bubba Sparxx and Nelly?
"The theme of my class is 'sexy,'" says the happy, hard-bodied Pereira -- who looks kind of like Britney Spears, except a hundred times prettier and infinitely classier. Although sexiness abounds in South Beach (Pereira's stomping grounds), she says she "wanted to go to Fort Lauderdale, to get that energy up." She still teaches the plain ol' Hip-hop Cowgirl class at Crunch gym, plus 15 to 20 other classes per week at various locales. But when she started her own company and began choreographing routines, she threw in some dancehall-, salsa-, and zumba-inspired steps. One minute, she giggles, "Let's put on a cowboy hat and get down country-style!"; then she schools you in the "most popular hip-hop moves that you can use at a club"; next, she hooks you up with "moves you can go home and re-create for your man."
"The first time you slap the floor, you're gonna laugh," she says, "but then, the animal comes out!" And the animal is sex-ayyyy! -- Deirdra Funcheon