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Published October 02, 2010, 12:00 AM

Trade Talk: Exercise options turn up the heat

Staying in shape in Fargo has never been so sultry.

Staying in shape in Fargo has never been so sultry.

Earlier this week, I wrote about Fargo’s newest fitness option – pole dancing – with the help of Pam Thorson, the area’s newest instructor. As far as I could tell, Thorson’s Total Woman was the first business to offer pole fitness lessons in Fargo-Moorhead (and in fact, in all of North Dakota).

Boy, was I wrong.

As it turns out, the spiced-up fitness industry in the area is downright booming, with offerings ranging from perfectly nice to just a bit naughty.

At least one other instructor – Shannon Renfrow of Fargo – offers pole instruction in town. Renfrow, who operates For Your Eyez Only entertainment, has been teaching since 1998. Like Thorson, she teaches lessons that run the gamut from individual dance sessions to bachelorette parties.

Unlike Thorson, who focuses exclusively on fitness, Renfrow does have ties to The Northern Gentlemen’s Club. She does some instructional work for the club’s dancers (she also entertains there part time).

Not all of her lessons are geared toward exotic dancers. She also teaches aerobics-oriented classes and lessons for women who just want to learn the moves for fitness.

Renfrow told me she’s faced many of the same challenges as Thorson in getting the word out on her lessons without giving people the wrong impression. She doesn’t advertise in the newspaper “because of all the trash that’s in there in the (adult) entertainment section” and doesn’t want to foster the impression that her students do more than dance.

“What we’re doing is training gals to be in a safe environment,” she says.

If the pole isn’t your thing, another dance fitness outlet in town – Fit and Flirty Fitness Entertainment – offers burlesque floor and chair dance routines.

The company is an offshoot of Total Balance Fitness in Fargo. Barb Kloeckner, one of the owners of Total Balance, told me she got the idea three years ago when the fitness club held a “Sexy Jam.” That session featured a few burlesque routines.

Clients kept telling her how much they liked it, and she decided this summer to offer the classes year-round. (She also offers other themed dance classes but says burlesque is by far the most popular.)

“It’s just a nontraditional way to have activity and get fitness in,” she says.

She says the classes can be held at Total Balance Fitness or on location.

Looking to learn more about one of these exotic fitness options?

Pam Thorson of Total Woman can be reached at (701) 200-1024.

Shannon Renfrow of For Your Eyez Only can be reached at (218) 790-3169 and also through The Northern.

Barb Kloeckner can be reached at (701) 306-2863 and also through totalbalancefargo.com.

You can also connect with Trade Talk online at www.tradetalk.areavoices.com.

Readers can reach Forum business reporter Marino Eccher at (701) 241-5502