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Class Action: Salsalates at CLAY Health Club + Spa

Salsalates salsa and Pilates workout
Salsalates at CLAY Health Club + Spa


CLAY Health Club + Spa’s newest class melds two seemingly distinct fitness methods—Salsa dancing and Pilates—into one workout that’s meant to strengthen the cores of dance cardio lovers.

It’s not a bad conceit. “I saw so many non-professional dancers getting inured left and right,” says Gabriel Villanueva, the creator and instructor of Salsalates, of his Zumba days. “They didn’t know how to properly hold their core up nice and tall for their cardio dance.”

The class includes 20 minutes of power mat Pilates followed by 40 minutes of high-intense dance.

Villanueva moves you quickly through the mat work, and it packs a punch. After back-to-back-to-back-to-back exercises for abs then isometric muscle-twitching leg moves, my muscles felt more taxed than in many hour-long Pilates classes.

When he turns up the the music and gets to dancing, Villanueva moves just as quickly. (You can see the Pix 11 video of it here.) And, like many Zumba teachers (and Tracy Anderson), he doesn’t offer cues. So you’ll have to follow his fancy footwork on your own. Getting the basics down can take a few classes, but he’ll offer you some simpler ways to stay on the beat until you do.

The takeaway: The intense toning mixed with dance cardio and Villanueva’s enthusiasm made it a fun, solid workout that works together surprisingly well. –Amy Eley

Who’s it for: Dance cardio lovers who want more core strength, anyone who wants toning and cardio in an hour

Salsalates, CLAY Health Club + Spa, 25 W. 14 St., Saturday 4 p.m., members only,