Top Trainers: Dance

I love dancing.  My best experiences in high school were in my African dance class, and one-on-one sessions with a friend who’s “fluent” in tribal belly dance.  After graduating high school, I tried several different classes and discovered that I’m not a dancer.  My feet are really uncoordinated, so the simplest turns feel confusing.  I really don’t like staring at my body in the mirror while doing the same movement again and again, trying to do it better each time.  And my brain is bored with choreography before my body even understands the first couple of steps.

When I tried some “Just Dance!” style classes and DVDs, I just felt frustrated.  The movements aren’t broken down enough for me to get them, so I feel like I’m flopping around the room.  I eventually gave up on trying to find a good dance practice and just stuck with the fitness trainers I liked.

Recently, I stumbled across the online BUTI (pronounced like “booty”) workouts.  About 40 minutes each, they’re a fast-paced combination of yoga, dance, and plyometrics.  The movements are creative, doable modifications and combinations of simple yoga, circuit training, and African dance moves.  The movements are constantly changing but Bizzie’s cuing is clear so it feels natural instead of jarring.  She gives just the right amount of description and reminders on form.  Her attitude is between Kathryn Budig and Jillian Michaels – she’s positive and calm while having a certain intense and genuinely encouraging trainer energy.

The dance aspects of the workouts are what really impress me – the movements are challenging in the ways that drills are challenging, minus the boring repetition.  In addition to becoming stronger and more flexible, I can feel myself getting better at all the isolations (moving just one body part at a time).  African dance and belly dance are both extremely isolation-heavy, so that’s what I really want to work on.  To help keep the whole body working, Bizzie combines these isolations with isometric holds (like staying in a lunge, squat, or pushup position).  Instead of feeling awkward, the dance moves make the exercise moves feel more organic and creative.

Plus, the workouts are totally killer.  Bizzie’s workouts are on the same level as Jillian’s, and that’s the biggest compliment I can give a trainer.

Before each of the three Youtube workouts, Bizzie breaks down a very short choreography.  Each piece is unique to its own workout.  About halfway through the workout, she runs through the whole choreography a couple of times before moving on to the rest of the workout.  They’re a nice mini-break, and are perfect for people like me who want a little choreography to practice without the pressure of it being the whole workout.

The Youtube workouts are also sponsored by a brand of tea which Bizzie promotes in the first bit of the video.  Fast-forward to 00:39 for the short choreography breakdown, or 1:17 for the workout:

Her other workouts are Sweetly Twisted, Sweet & Spicy, Toning-Based Workout #1, and Toning-Based Workout #2.  She also has a 3 DVD Set and a subscription to her online classes available on her website.

One of the first things I noticed was how much hip and pelvis movement there is.  I had a moment of hesitation, because I feel like fitness is often manipulated by the media into “Another Way To Be Sexy!” instead of another way to nurture yourself.  External “sexiness” is prioritized over the body’s internal experience.  Then as I did the workout, I noticed how good it felt to stretch out that area of my body and how fun the workout was as a whole.  Bizzie never talks about being sexy or looking good in a club.  She’s encouraging and supportive, holding the space for you to tune into your body and enjoy challenging it.

What kinds of dance do you love?  Who are some of your favorite instructors?

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