IF I were to say burlesque, images conjured up would probably include nipple tassels and feathers being swished gracefully over seamed stockings. Sadly, or possibly thankfully, neither were in use at our class in Leeds this week.

Thanks to the likes of Dita von Teese, burlesque has undergone a resurgence and, although far from a new thing, it has come a long way from the original acts of the vaudeville era.

Much as pole dancing has become an acceptable form of exercise, burlesque is marketed as a way for girlies to feel more feminine, glamorous and sexy.

We felt none of the above at the start of the two-hour session as we warmed up by trying to seductively roll our hips in a figure of eight, giggling helplessly every time we caught someone’s eye.

It’s a nerve-wracking thing to do and I was thankful there were only six of us in the class. The instructor made everyone feel comfortable and as relaxed as possible. Even so, credit to the 18-year-old who came on her own. I wouldn’t have had the guts at 18.

After the warm-up, it was time to release our inner Bettie Page, kicking off with the five different ways to walk. These included such titled struts as the show-pony and, everyone’s favourite, the crossover leg walk (renamed the Beyonce walk by those in the class).

Then on to the poses – over-exaggerated and brimming with confidence was the way to go with these, apparently. It turns out that’s not so easy to pull off without guffawing and collapsing in more giggles. Once we’d mastered stern, cute and shocked, it was on to the shimmying, swishing and rolling.

Shimmying – not a problem; swishing the hips – err… let’s call it a work in progress; but the body roll had us all stumped. Cries of, “so it was in with the head, push the chest out – what? Up and out, ok. Pull the shoulders back, push the hips in…eh? It only works on my right foot” filled the room. Not surprisingly this was followed by more laughter.

“And now for the floor routine,” the teacher said. Umm… the what, dear? And out came the mats as we shot panicked glances at each other. It may surprise you to know that you do not simply throw yourself and writhe around.

There is a way to work your way there gracefully and, without giving too much away, it involves a move you’d expect to see in a Pussycat Dolls video.

Similarly, getting back on your feet involves a couple of slick moves without a groaning back in sight. Actually, the floor routine was a lot of fun and slightly easier than the body roll that had flummoxed most of us.

It’s fair to say by this point we were all thoroughly enjoying ourselves and, starting stitching the final routine together, we began to believe we might just be able to pull it off. A run through, or three, of the whole thing and a slight incident involving the floor routine, a misjudgement of space and a feather fan and we were all proud of ourselves and delivered a round of applause. It was the biggest laugh I’ve had in a long time. Looking back at how we started the class and where we were after two hours, I can honestly say it’s something anyone can do.

We may not be rivalling the glamorous Miss Teese just yet, but the class gave us a huge confidence boost (in addition to the certificate confirming us as burlesque stars).

We all left smiling, laughing and even sashaying our hips a little.