Burlesque is winning fans in Linlithgow and Bo’ness

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Keeping fit doesn’t have to be a chore, especially not if you sign up for new dance classes.

And Saltire Burlesque Academy members are discovering it can help their self-esteem too!

Indeed, its members are now brimming with so much confidence that they even took part in the Marches Day parade on Tuesday.

The academy was set up less than a month ago by two West Lothian instructors, Dawn Melrose (45) from Livingston and Karyn Hamilton (44) from Broxburn.

Both have busy lives – Dawn runs a successful transport company and Karyn is a full-time mum to six children.

But burlesque classes brought them together and they decided to strike out on their own with the dream of helping ladies across West Lothian build confidence and self-esteem.

It’s proving to be a very succesful recipe, with weekly classes in Linlithgow and Bo’ness already a big hit.

Dawn said: “Karyn and I wanted to reach out to women across West Lothian and show the power of dance. We wanted to nurture a new team – a family.

“We have already built a strong support network for all our ladies.

“Our aim is to work as a cohesive unit, not only supporting each other but also supporting local charities nominated by our lovely lady dancers.

“We don’t just run dance classes; it’s a way of life.”

Karyn is equally as enthusiastic about what they have already achieved.

She said: “To see ladies with low self-esteem grow into the strong, beautiful people they always were is just priceless.

“Dawn and I encourage them to live their dreams, be the beautiful, sexy women they are and to be proud of that.

“But we also encourage them to take that positivity out into the community by organising charity events close to their hearts.

“Everyone also participates in our family; tasks are shared to ensure everyone is included.”

The academy now has converts across West Lothian, with classes in communities from Livingston to Linlithgow and Bathgate to Bo’ness.

Few members are as dedicated as press officer Alana Miller though.

The 38-year-old attends every single class!

Explaining why, she said: “The classes are fun, friendly and the instructors are just normal women, like us.

“The confidence the classes give you is incredible.

“I was feeling pretty low when I first started. I have four children and had some health issues so I had very little self-esteem.

“Now, I like who I am and feel more confident and attractive as a result.

“I don’t care about my shape now – this is me; take me as I am!

“The confidence I now have from when I first started is unbelievable.

“A lot of the women who attend have similar stories.”

Saltire Burlesque Academy holds classes in Linlithgow every Monday in the Masonic Lodge, from 5.15pm to 6.15pm and 6.15pm to 7.15pm. Members can attend one or both classes.

Likewise for the Bo’ness class which meets in Fisons every Wednesday from 7pm to 8pm and 8pm to 9pm.

Each dance is taught over the course of four weeks, which means newcomers can pop in any time.

And anyone aged 18 or over can join in the fun.

Alana explained: “The classes are for all abilities and all shapes and sizes.

“If you can’t do a chair routine, the instructors will work on a different technique for you.

“And because each routine is split over four weeks, people can join at any point. I started mid-way through one routine but was able to pick it up easily, as it’s broken down for you.

“The emphasis is on us all having fun and everyone is very friendly – it’s like a massive family and we’re all there for each other, even outside the classes.”

Around 100 ladies are already a part of the Salitre family and, even though the classes in Linlithgow and Bo’ness are popular, it’s a case of the more the merrier!

Alana added: “I live in Fauldhouse and go to all the classes because I enjoy it so much and am getting so much out of it.

“We’re delighted that the classes are proving so popular but we want more women to join our family.”

The ladies’ first show will be staged at Howden Park on November 2 but there’s no pressure for members to take centre stage.

Alana added: “It’s up to the members whether they want to take part or not.”

Each class costs £5 or £8 for a double, with loyalty cards for a block of 10. To find out more, visit www.facebook.com/Saltireburlesqueacademy.