Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Anna Kaiser teaches a class at AKT In Motion. Credit: Elizabeth D. Herman for The New York Times
Anna Kaiser teaches a class at AKT In Motion. Credit: Elizabeth D. Herman for The New York Times

If your inner dancing queen wants to get out and party, she has plenty of high-energy options these days. Studios are turning their spaces into club-like scenes that inspire participants to break a sweat to the beat.

One could argue that the craze started with SoulCycle, whose party-on-a-bike atmosphere revolutionized what it means to go to a spin class. When the lights go down, the beat gets thumping, and dancing in your seat is encouraged. By the time riders leave, everyone’s riding a sweaty high.

But now, a bike is no longer necessary to give your workout the club feel. In fact, no equipment is needed at all.

“I believe dance cardio has really taken off because it is a fun, joyous way to work out,” says Simone De La Rue, the creator of Body by Simone classes and author of the new “Body by Simone” healthy living manual. It’s a full-body workout and does not require any equipment — just you and some [great] tunes.”

Celebs like Kelly Ripa, Naomi Watts and Shakira have all sculpted their bodies in dance cardio classes. Anna Kaiser, the founder of AKT in Motion, thinks its popularity comes down to the fact that classes are “just plain fun.”

“It doesn’t feel like you’re working out, yet you are working your body on all planes of motion and getting a fantastic cardio workout,” Kaiser says. “Once people try it, they realize they never want to run on a treadmill again — ever.”

And while you might not feel your hottest grunting during a squat, you might feel sexy shaking your thang like you would on the dance floor. Sadie Kurzban, the 24-year-old who founded ((305)) Fitness during her college years at Brown, is confident you will — her slogan is “Make sweat sexy.”

“Many people are intimated by dance, but to dance and celebrate music is to be human,” she says. “When I see people dance and go wild to a song they love, it’s incredibly empowering.

“Exercise should not be torture. It’s a way to express ourselves in a way we might not do in our everyday lives. You can be anyone you want to be in that moment.”


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