Dancing is a hot trend right now. Everywhere you turn, people in every age group are moving to music from all genres. From the rumba and waltz on Dancing with the Stars and the hip-hop on So You Think You Can Dance, to the Zumba classes offered at your local gym, busting a move is the thing to do.
Why the inclination to dance? It’s freeing, invigorating, challenging and fun. In addition, spinning around a dance floor and practicing at a ballet barre are great ways to lose weight and get in shape. Marie Osmond is just one success story; she lost 30 pounds during her stint on Dancing with the Stars.
I grew up loving my gymnastics, ballet, tap and Irish dance classes and have enjoyed teaching many classes as well. I know first-hand that the combination of small-movement toning exercises and the exuberance of cardio is a winning recipe. I looked into some possibilities in Dublin and had tons of fun taking classes while meeting many new friends.
Emily Johnson, owner of the Pure Barre studios in Dublin and Columbus, grew up dancing, doing gymnastics and cheerleading for The Ohio State University. She took her first Pure Barre class in Midland, Mich. and was hooked. Emily wanted to bring the Pure Barre experience to her friends in Ohio so they could join the fun, get involved and get into shape. She opened the Fifth Avenue location outside Grandview Heights in 2011 and the Dublin studio in 2012.
My friend Peggy Davis and I threw on our yoga pants and tank tops and met at class. We were handed a little ball, bands and light weights, and soon the music was loud and pumping.
The Pure Barre method uses small isometric movements with high repetitions. There is no jumping or bouncing, so your joints are protected, but your muscles are in for a wake-up call. Peggy and I were tucking and tightening muscles in our thighs, gluteals, abdominals and arms that we didn’t know existed.
Class moved along quickly as we transitioned from the floor exercises to the ballet barre. Emily walked around giving instructions and correcting our alignment while we tried to lengthen and tone our bodies like prima-ballerinas.
Pure Barre is definitely challenging, but there is a great vibe, plenty of encouragement and a huge sense of accomplishment upon completion. The classes attract all types, including pregnant women and new moms trying to get their figures back. There are actually special packages for moms with children under 1 year old and brides-to-be shaping up for their weddings.
“It’s incredible to see how drastically some of our clients change,” says Emily. “Their waistlines shrink, but their confidence and self-image grow.”
Just Dance Ohio
I jumped, literally, into a few classes at Just Dance Ohio and had a ball. Owner Brad Brunicardi assured me I would be fine in any of the sessions and that I didn’t need to know any particular steps. He was correct, as I had no problem catching up with a morning Zumba class. I don’t think my hips shook quite like the instructor’s, and I’m not ready to be judged on TV, but I kept time, kept moving and had fun. Child care is available, as are kids’ programs offered in unison with adult classes. Children’s ballet, tap, hip-hop, jazz and acrobatics are offered as well.
In the evening, I took Hip-Hop Cardio with Kenya Day. This was an after-work crowd and they were ready to let loose and have a party. Again, it wasn’t hard to catch on to the repetitive steps, and I was definitely a novice at “booty popping,” but as I looked around the room I noticed that everyone was doing their own version of hip-hop. Most importantly, everyone was laughing at themselves, getting a great workout and having a blast.
Brad opened Just Dance Ohio on Commerce Drive in 2012 and a new location in Avery Square in 2013. His background is in health care, and his family has a private foundation that funds particular health and wellness activities.
“I wanted to provide an affordable place for families to have fun, get fit, stay fit and enjoy a healthy lifestyle,” says Brad.
By targeting obesity in children and adults, Brad and the foundation hope to reduce the obesity problems and, eventually, the related health care costs. Just Dance Ohio’s goal is to eliminate the affordability barrier by offering unlimited monthly passes, as well as drop-in sessions for around $5 per class.
Just Dance Ohio also offers ballroom dance classes in the waltz, fox trot and cha cha, to name a few. Private lessons are an option, as are private group classes if you want to get your own crowd together for a fun night.
My bucket list for classes I still want to try at Just Dance Ohio includes Country Cardio, Zumba Toning, Fitness Barre and Salsa Bootcamp. The Salsa Bootcamp is a dance lesson on Friday nights at 8:30, followed by a Salsamante party where you practice what you learned at 9:45. No partner is needed so if my husband declines, I might have to make it a girls’ night out adventure.
Other locations in Dublin to find official Zumba classes include The Dublin Recreation Center, Lifetime Fitness and Metro Fitness.