I Tried a Philly-Area Beyoncé Dance Class, and You’d Better Believe It Was Insanely Fun

The Alexis Rose Xperience is unlike anything you've tried.


Photograph by Caroline Cunningham.

We were all drenched in sweat, sticky strands of hair clinging to our foreheads, and happy in that way only dancing can make you happy. Our dance class had just come to a close, and one woman approached the instructor.

She told her she used to dance in high school and college, but several years and some kids later, and she didn’t think she could dance like that anymore. One hour with Alexis Rose Artis had changed her mind, and she was grateful.

The Alexis Rose Xperience (ARX) — which is such a fitting name because it is an experience — is an hour-long dance class that currently takes place twice a week in Plymouth Meeting and Fort Washington. It’s fast-paced, high-energy — and insanely, insanely fun.

Artis used to be a SoulCycle instructor, which you can tell from the way she talks to the class — it’s part fitness instructor, part motivational guru. Combine that with some sweat-induced endorphins, and you’ll be riding a girl-power high the whole night long.

So what exactly do you do in an ARX dance class (not to be confused with ARX Bootcamp, which Artis teaches on Saturdays in Fort Washington)? To start, the class takes place in a mostly-dark studio, lit only by a rotating multi-colored light, for some serious club vibes.

On the night I attended, the theme was Beyoncé, so as Artis got our bodies moving and warming up, Queen Bey pumped through the sound system. The class begins with some simple, dance-inspired cardio. We’re clapping, we’re marching, we’re moving, and it feels so, so good.

After the warm up, we move into a quick abs and arms segment, involving planks, push ups, and crunches on the beat of the music. After mopping our sweat off the floor with towels (seriously — Artis will work you hard), we move into the final portion of the class: the choreography.

That’s right: At ARX, you learn actual dance choreography. And the way you learn it is the way I imagine choreography is taught to actual dancers — a lot of watching and repeating, not a lot of talking. For example, when Artis wanted us to start on our right leg, she’d simply pat her right thigh, rather than calling out instructions.

After practicing each dance segment — fast, then slowed down, then up to tempo again — we added onto the routine, piece by piece, until we had about 30 seconds of choreography learned. And I know, that may not sound like a lot. But believe me, it was all my brain and fumbling, uncoordinated arms and legs could handle in an hour.

We ended the class performing what we’d learned for one another. Ponytails had long been abandoned, everyone was slick with sweat, and the moves, which had once been stiff, were starting to look smooth and purposeful. In just one hour, Artis had gifted us with good moods, crazy-high confidence, and something like the ability to dance.

Here’s the best part: You don’t have to have to be a good dancer to have a good time and get in a good workout in an ARX class. Speaking from, um, personal experience, you can be the stiffest, most awkward, slow-to-pick-up-choreographer dancer in the world — but between Beyoncé and Artis getting you to move in ways you didn’t know you could, you’re going have an amazing time in this class. Promise.

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