Dancer Health

For National Fitness Day, Here Are 4 Workouts Inspired by Dance

The Vixen Workout creator, Janet Jones via @vixenworkout on Instagram

It's National Fitness Day on May 4! Now, we know that each of you know everything there is to know about fitness, but did you know there are quite a few fitness regimens rooted in dance?

Check out these four (extremely popular) exercise programs that wouldn't exist today without dance and its groovy goodness.

1. The Bar Method

This workout was created by Burr Leonard, an avid lover of ballet and jazz who was inspired by the Lotte Berk Method, a curriculum created by German dancer and dance teacher Lieselotte "Lotte" Berk. After discovering Berk's barre classes in New York City in 1981, Leonard decided she wanted to create her own version of the workout, but one that would work for all ages and physical abilities. After working with a team of physical therapists to hone her version of the technique, Leonard opened her flagship studio in San Fransisco in 2001. Seventeen years later people around the country are able to use this dance-inspired workout to stay healthy and happy.

If you're curious about what the workout looks like, here's a video from The Bar Method's YouTube channel.

The Bar Method Class- Bar Restore

2. Zumba

Created by Colombian choreographers and dancer Alberto "Beto" Perez in the 1990s, Zumba is an exercise program that incorporates hip hop, soca, samba, salsa, merengue and mambo dace styles.

Check out what a Zumba class looks like here.

Sacude - Julio Cesár Meza | Zumba Choreography

3. Jazzercize

When dance teacher Judi Sheppard Missett was teaching at a dance studio in Chicago in 1969, she noticed her classes had high dropout rates. She realized most students wanted to attend class for physical fitness, not to become technically proficient dancers. So, Sheppard Missett decided to hold classes that were just for fun. Over time these classes developed into what we all know as Jazzercise. The company now has more than 8,300 franchises in 32 countries.

If you're like me, you grew up watching your mom do Jazzercise with legwarmers and leotards, but according to the Jazzercise website, this is no longer your mother's '80s workout. Just rebranding? Maybe. But we don't mind, we think any dance-inspired workout is positively fabulous!

Ben and Kellie Get Their Jazzercise On! - Pickler & Ben

4. The Vixen Workout

Created by former Miami Heat dancer Janet Jones, this all-female workout class uses commercial choreography and stage lighting to allow women to, as their website says, "pretend you're opening for the VMAs, and perform the moves you see by your favorite artists." It's all kinds of fierce. It's a dance class that everyone can get in on!

Check out their army of instructors kill it here.


The Conversation
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James Payne, director of The School of Pennsylvania Ballet, starts class each day by asking students how they feel. "If they're collectively hurting, and I know that the day before they were working hard on something new, I might lessen the intensity of the class," he says. "I won't slow it down, though. Sometimes it's better to move through the aches and get to the other side."

A productive class depends, in part, on how well it is paced. If you move too slow, you risk losing students' interest and creating unwanted heaviness. Move too fast and dancers might not fully benefit from combinations or get sufficiently warm, increasing their risk of injury. But even these guidelines may differ depending on the students' age and level. Good pacing is a delicate balance that can facilitate mental and physical growth, but it requires good planning, close observation and the ability to adapt mid-class.

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