If your idea of dancing is swaying side to side in place, or you can’t imagine letting go enough on the dance floor that it would result in a good workout (before midnight and a few cocktails), then taking your first dance cardio class can be really, really scary. Sadie Kurzban, the founder of 305 Fitness, one of New York City’s hottest dance cardio studios really feels you.
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“I am not at all a trained or professional dancer,” Kurzban admits. So there was a getting-comfy-on-the-dance-floor journey for her, too. “Once you get over the embarrassment or the fear of having other people seeing you dance, you realize how fun [this kind of] exercising can be, and how challenging dance cardio is in a non-difficult-to-follow way.”
It’s the reason Kurzban recently introduced a 305 Basics class that brings the tempo down a notch and focuses on fundamentals, to get you ready for the real thing. And the reason she’s sharing these five tips, so you can master your first dance cardio class (even if you’ve got no rhythm):
1. Dress the part. “I like to wear sneakers and a sports bra that can take high impact,” says Kurzban, who also prefers sleeveless tops. “It’s important to wear what you’re comfortable in,” she adds. But note you’ll likely be facing a mirror, and if seeing a cute outfit motivates you, take that route.
2. Listen to music on your way to class. “Some people have a hard time hearing rhythm,” she says. “Before class, listen to upbeat, fun music and walk to that pace.” The idea is that you’ll get warmed up and be able to follow the beat in class more easily.
3. Look up the class format first. “At 305, we have cardio, then HIIT drills, and toning in that order,” Kurzban explains. “I like my clients to know what to expect, so they can pace themselves.” She recommends reading the dance cardio class description online beforehand and asking the instructor about the structure of the class, too.
4. Choose a spot near the mirror. “Find a spot where you can see yourself in the mirror instead of heading straight to the back,” Kurzban says. “The mirror is a great tool for feedback. You’ll be able to see if you’re off beat.” And don’t worry, no one is paying nearly as much attention to you as you think (they’re worried about their own grapevines, we promise).
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5. Follow the footwork, then add arms. “Dancing obviously has lots of coordination of body parts,” Kurzban says, “but it’s mostly about the lower half. You can be a fantastic dancer using only your lower body.” Try following the foot patterns, and then add in arms when you’re comfortable, for style points.
And of course, like anything, the more you go, the easier it will get, she says. “Go back to class before the week is over, so it’s fresh in your brain.” Practice makes perfect. —Jamie McKillop
For more information, visit www.305fitness.com
(Photo: 305 Fitness)