“Do you have any dance experience?” Courtnay Mariani, director of training from DanceBody, asked as I arrived for a DanceBody Signature Class. As I listed my background of jazz, hip-hop, and other basic training (from back in the day when MTV was still Music Television), I light-heartedly concluded with, “I sweat it out with Zumba several times a week,” which was met with a “Get ready to push your limits” look.
I was placed in the center of the room with 3/4 lb silicone Dance Bands around my wrists. “You look like you can handle these,” Mariani said. Holding a bachelor of fine arts degree in dance performance from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, she became involved with DanceBody five years ago and has been motivating students ever since.
Tracks by JLo, Pit Bull, Mariani’s go-tos Drake and Beyoncé, and others moved through the playlist as the class moved to the beat. Hip-hop, contemporary, Latin and ballet-style movements guided the high-to-low-impact dance cardio, including an impressive grand jeté.
Squats, jumping jacks, kicks, and punches were all mixed in amid applicable dance moves to get the heart pumping, legs moving and arms toned, thanks to the help of the bands! Routines are changed up every two months catering to class regulars by allowing enough time to learn the steps but not too much to get bored. Though I was clearly a newbie, the 50/50 combo of intensified cardio and dance-lass style built my confidence with each bead of sweat.
After garnering a decent sweat standing up — and by decent I mean soaked clothing — I made my way down to the Hex Mat, a ¾-inch cushioned hexagon mat with numbering on the corners from one through six for easy-to-follow instruction. Side kicks and upward pulsating to target the glute muscles, crunches and bridges for the abs, side planks for the arms, every corner a different form of motion.
With five studios in New York City and one in Miami, founder and CEO of DanceBody Katia Pryce introduced the workout to the Hamptons back in 2013. Classes are offered regularly in Bridgehampton and East Hampton through Labor Day weekend, but anyone can book private and semi-private sessions, including events, year-round.
This article first appeared in The Independent Newspaper. Read more about #EverythingEastEnd here
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