When Cheri Finch first considered taking burlesque classes the thought seemed intimidating.

A room full of women, flaunting boas, peeling off silk gloves, all the while oozing powerful sensuality, was not exactly commonplace for the 48-year-old corporate manager.

Determined to try something different, though, Finch ignored the butterflies in her stomach, took her first class and has been hooked ever since.

“It gives you a self-confidence,” says the Calgary native. “It makes you feel good about yourself.”

Burlesque instructor Coco Framboise, who runs the Coco Framboise School of Burlesque in Toronto, says indulging in the feel-good sessions is akin to treating yourself to a sumptuous dessert, without the calories.

“It’s like the taste of a really rich piece of cake,” she says.

A seasoned performer who has strutted across stages the world over, Framboise says in addition to tease and technique, burlesque is about telling a story and immersing oneself into any character of choice.

“I think there’s something really exciting about trying on an alter ego,” she says. “It makes the day-to-day a little bit juicer, a little bit more decadent.”

Students learn how to make something as simple as taking off a glove sizzle with seduction, while a stocking tease takes sexy, and stretching, to a whole other level.

While teaching her students to strut their stuff, Framboise spices up her sessions by sharing inside tips only a showgirl can know.

“Lip gloss and feathers don’t mix,” she says seriously, when pressed for an example of the wisdom she offers.