Say hello to dance-fitness, classes where you’re less likely to haul out weights and more likely to concentrate on eight-counts. What was once reserved for professional ballerinas and MTV backup dancers is now not only doable, but enjoyable for almost anyone. And these classes are among the hottest fitness trends happening right now.
“It’s so popular because people were born to dance. People are happy when they’re dancing,” says Deborah Hirsch, owner of Philly Dance Fitness. Dance-fitness classes infuse an element of fun that you may not find in a regular ol’ Spin class. It’s also a unique social experience to be bopping around to great music in a room full of people. “It makes you forget you’re working out,” Hirsch says.
What’s more, fitness professionals are realizing that dance can actually be used as a type of cross-training. “Dance training is beneficial to female athletes of all sorts—runners, yogis,” says Jillian Dreusike, owner and founder of bodyLOGIC. Besides, the classes provide a good mental break from the fitness monotony that comes with, say, training for a marathon.
If you’re ready to hit the dance floor, keep reading. We rounded up eight of the hottest dance trends and offered suggestions for where to try ‘em out in Philly.
What it is: Zumba is a Latin-inspired dance workout that combines salsa, merengue, hip-hop, soca, samba, mambo, martial arts and even some Bollywood and belly dancing moves with squats and lunges. In other words, just try not getting a good workout. Because it’s easy to follow, Zumba is a good class for newbies to the dance scene.
Where to try it: Living Arts Dance Studio, 81 Fairmount Avenue, Philadelphia.
What it is: Hip-hop classes take super-fun (and complicated) street-dance moves and break them down into short combinations that are easier to follow.
Where to try it: Koresh School of Dance, 2020 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia.
What it is: Bokwa is a high-energy workout with influences of South African war dance, kickboxing and Capoeira, a Brazilian martial art that combines music and dance. In this class, instructors use hand signals and verbal cues to guide participants to trace letters and numbers on the floor.
Where to try it: Awakenings Pole Dance Fitness, 4151 Main Street, Manayunk.
What it is: Yes, it’s boxing moves uniquely infused with Pilates techniques, but there are also some dance moves thrown in there and it’s all done to upbeat music, making this intense cardio workout part of the dance trend.
Where to try it: Thrive Pilates, 2016 Walnut Street, Philadelphia.
What it is: It’s the class you donned leather slippers and a pastel-pink leotard for when you were seven, but studios like bodyLOGIC are taking a new approach, making it less stop-and-go in order to perfect technique and more of an intense cardio/conditioning workout.
Where to try it: bodyLOGIC, 219 Cuthbert Street, 3rd floor, Philadelphia, and 1831 Brandywine Street, Philadelphia.
What it is: Fact: Burlesque originated in the 1840s as a sensual form of entertainment used by working-class performers to mock the upper class. Today, it’s more about empowering women and encouraging them to embrace their sexuality. Modern burlesque classes are often centered more around the fitness aspect of dancing, making them a great way to have fun, feel sexy and get seriously fit.
Where to try it: Studio 1831, 1831 Brandywine Street, Philadelphia.
What it is: Remember back in elementary school when you would play with a hula-hoop at recess? And remember how much fun that was? Good news: hoops are back and they’re not just for kids anymore. Hoopdance is a form of dance fitness that involves using one or multiple hula-hoops, on and off the body, in various moves and tricks for a total-body workout.
Where to try it: Ploome, 1040 North American Street, suite 1001, Northern Liberties.
What it is: Philly Dance Fitness calls it “impact” jazz because it impacts your entire body. Translation? You’re going to sweat in this class. Instead of focusing on perfect form, this class works on strength, flexibility and coordination while putting together jazz combinations in a non-stop cardio workout.
Where to try it: Philly Dance Fitness, multiple locations.
>> What other dance classes in Philly are you digging? Share in the comments!