When some fitness studios open in New York City, they gain a following over time—but not Doonya.
The Bollywood dance-inspired workout brought along its loyal fans (who’d been taking classes in rented spaces around the city) when it moved into its first permanent home in the NoMad neighborhood. So although it just opened in September, classes are already packed, and an air of excitement fills the space.
“Even people who have been taking Doonya for years feel this new energy by coming here,” says Kajal Desai, who founded the company with Priya Pandya.
On a recent evening, before the 6:00 p.m. class with Rohan Sheth, one of Doonya’s star instructors, there was a palpable, eager vibe among the group that I’d say was something like lets-get-our-Bollywood-on. And through the sweat, and the beats, everyone had a happy look on their faces. Including the newbies.
In addition to having room for new students, having a home base is allowing Doonya introduce new class styles.
We took one of the brand’s new classes, called Doonya Turbo, which mixed squats, planks, burpees, and lunges in with dancing and tabla beats. It’s an excellent gateway experience for those a little more comfortable with their fitness moves than their Bollywood ones. And Sheth, who’s warm, fun, and not-a-bit intimidating, has a way of getting you to unleash your inner dancer, so that you find the beat and catch on quick.
Doonya, which also has popular DVDs, plans to ride this wave all the way to the Lone Star state, with the opening of a studio in Houston at the beginning of next year. “After seeing the success of our studio here and how new people have been drawn to it, we’re confident about going into a new city,” says Desai.
And that new city can be confident about its ability learn some seriously fun new dance moves. —Molly Gallagher
Doonya, 1158 Broadway, at 27th St., NoMad, $20 per class, www.doonya.com