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Workout dance-off: Broadway Bodies vs. Downtown Dance Factory

Fame dancing in New York CityFeel like adding a little rhythm to your workout routine? We tested two of the city’s popular dance workouts—Broadway Bodies’ “Broadway Cardio 101” and Downtown Dance Factory‘s Top 40 “Dance Workout.” Two very different dance styles with the same fitness objective—having fun, on the beat. We line them up.

Broadway Bodies: Just like on Broadway, everything is a tad cheesy in “Broadway Cardio” class. If you’re too cool to admit that Bonnie Tyler’s “I Need A Hero” is kind of awesome (I’m not), or that “525,600 minutes” from Rent inspires you, this is not the place for you.
Downtown Dance Factory: Instead of show tunes, expect pop-star routines. In my “Dance Workout” class, we rocked out during the warm-up, and then brought sexy back to Justin Timberlake.

Downtown Dance Factory
Hanne Larsen leads a Dance Workout class at Downtown Dance Factory

Broadway Bodies: Diversity rules here. My fellow dancers were young and old, male and female, skinny and robust. The instructor was a former Broadway dancer, and I suspect many of my classmates were, too, because most moved seamlessly from grapevine to ball change.
Downtown Dance Factory: This is a dance class for the 25–40 Lululemon-clad New York woman. Instructor (and co-owner) Hanne Larsen is a sexy downtown (Aussie) mom with bright red bangs. The studio’s primary business is kid’s dance classes; I’m sure many of the dancers were the mothers of tiny ballerinas.

Broadway Bodies: The steps weren’t super complicated, but I was still grateful that I took the “Broadway Cardio 101” preview, where you learn them in slow motion before the workout begins. The routine got my heart rate up and made me sweat enough that I reached for my water bottle at least once.
Downtown Dance Factory: The steps were much easier to follow, but I didn’t feel nearly as tired and sweaty as at Broadway Bodies. There was more emphasis on learning the dance moves than on burning calories.

Broadway Bodies
Broadway Bodies dancers practice their stage-ready moves

BOTTOM LINE “Broadway Cardio” at Broadway Bodies was a better workout, and “Dance Workout” at Downtown Dance Factory was definitely more hip. Both had enthusiastic instructors who eased my first-timers’ nervousness. The fun factor of each was about even for me—I recommend trying whichever type of music is more your style. Both studios also offer additional classes, from Michael Jackson Mondays to Rock n’ Roll Ballet. —Lisa Elaine Held

Broadway Bodies, Chelsea Studios, 151 W. 26th Street (btwn 6th and 7th Aves.), 6th Fl., Chelsea, $15 per class, $125 for 10,

Downtown Dance Factory, 291 Broadway (btwn Duane and Reade Sts.), 5th Fl., Tribeca, $20 per class, $150 for 10,