On a recent Thursday night, beneath Lululemon’s Flatiron store in New York City, the lights were low and Chance the Rapper was blasting.
Women (and one brave dude!) were following the instructor’s lead but also going off-script, moving to the music, sweat flying everywhere, laughing at the moves they missed, and celebrating the ones they landed. Energy filled the air and fogged the mirrors. It would be tough for an observer to put a name to what was happening in the room. Is it a workout class? A dance rehearsal? A party?
It would be tough for an observer to put a name to what was happening in the room. Is it a workout class? A dance rehearsal? A party?
The superstar dancer, choreographer, and instructor leading it all, Kristin Sudeikis, is hard-pressed to characterize it, too, but since March, she’s been spending Thursday nights blasting Drake and Beyonce in an effort to get as many people as possible to “get out of their heads and into their bodies” in a way that transcends boundaries between the worlds of technically trained dancers and the in-it-for-the-fitness crowd.
“The reason people go out to clubs and go out dancing is because there’s a release in it, so if you can do it in a way that’s gonna allow you to feel uplifted and not depleted…that’s health and wellness,” she says.
From Kansas to Crunch to making it big
Originally from Overland Park, KS, Sudeikis (yes, Jason—of Saturday Night Live fame—is her brother) started dancing at age three and was teaching by the time she was 13, which is also the age she was when she got her first scholarship for a summer at Broadway Dance Center. She moved to New York City permanently after graduating from the University of Kansas and has been traveling as a dancer and choreographer ever since.
Her first step into the fitness-focused side of movement came when she was tapped to teach at Crunch, which later led to her involvement in big, splashy Nike events. She’s now also a SoulCycle instructor, and Lululemon HUB Seventeen curator Carolina Monnerat invited her to bring dance to the community event space in early 2016. When the pop-up classes were a huge hit, they became more of a long-term fixture.
“Movement for a movement has always made sense to me.”
She now teaches there twice a week—”Contemporary Tuesdays” and “Dance Party Thursdays”—in addition to her classes at Peridance Capezio Center and Broadway Dance Center. Oh, and she’s the artistic director of her own dance company and is constantly working on choreography for all kinds of big projects and events, many with charitable or activist components. “Movement for a movement has always made sense to me,” she says, which brings us to…
Her bigger picture
“Before you even have words, you dance; you move to music, to rhythm. If you watch a baby and they hear music, they start to move. It’s instinctual,” Sudeikis says. “It’s also part of our engagement with humanity; it’s a way we relate in a lot of social situations.”
She is dedicated to getting people “out of their heads,” but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t think about deeply what she does. In fact, she has created four pillars, she tells me—artistic, athletic, entertainment, and philanthropic—and any combination of the four may be present in a given project, whether she’s choreographing or telling 20somethings at Lululemon to put more oomph into their booty-shaking.
Sudeikis is bringing dance into the fitness realm in a way few others have done…it almost seems like a magical accident.
The fact that her class has resonated with the activewear set is strange, in a way, since it doesn’t fit into a dance cardio context. It’s not a workout disguised as dance like 305 Fitness or AKT in Motion (with their own respective merits); it’s an invitation to tap something inside of yourself, and hey, you’ll get in a good sweat at the same time.
Sudeikis is bringing dance into the fitness realm in a way few others have done, without stripping it of its heart—luring dancers, but still appealing to those who never learned to plié, and it almost seems like a magical accident. “I just continue keeping my head down and dancing and creating, in whatever forum I’m in,” she says.
More Lulu-related news: Lululemon Lab’s limited edition collections are now available online, if you’re looking to stock up for fall and winter. And as the temps drop, we’ve got some intel on how to keep your skin glowing and gorgeous: check out our editors’ beauty picks for October.
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