Courtesy of modelFIT
From kindergarten through high school, I lived and breathed dance. I had more pairs of tights, tap shoes, and budge-proof bun forms than I did jeans and sneakers, and when I wasn't studying or sleeping, you could find me at the studio.
I'll admit that in elementary school it was more about the social aspect of the sport, the glitz, the excitement of performing on a huge stage with spotlights, music, and patent leather rhinestone-studded costumes. Though as I grew older, my relationship with dance became a bit more dynamic and even a tad complicated.
By eighth grade, I was on my high school dance team, had a close-knit group of dance friends, and a physical, time-demanding activity that basically robbed me of any opportunity to get into typical teenage mischief. (Not surprisingly, my parents had no problem with this.) Sure there were dances, a few short-lived romances, and even a couple of groundings—the horror—but when it was time to decide if I wanted to continue dancing in college, the answer seemed eerily obvious.
Finally, I had the opportunity to walk away from the sport that had dominated 85% of my existence for almost 15 years. I wouldn't disappoint my high school team members or fail to meet the silly, reputation-entwined expectations I had set for myself. I knew I would miss it, but all I felt was relief.
I've never regretted my decision to stop dancing, but I can't say its absence didn't leave a little bit of a hole in my heart. Essentially, it was my one form of therapy, and I never had to worry about squeezing in a trip to the gym, or having fun people to hang out with. And though I didn't notice the hole as much in college (because classes, beer pong, and the like) I've found myself missing it more and more since graduating.
Therefore, when I found myself in a massive exercise rut recently (I've worked my way through all obligatory obsessions: cycle, hot yoga, HIIT, and Reformer Pilates), the solution seemed fairly simple: Dig back to my roots and try out some of the buzziest dance workouts available here in Los Angeles.
One month—and lots and lots of sweating—later, I finally feel like I've found my groove again. I've tried five different amazing classes, and it's been a long, long time since I've felt this motivated and relaxed in my workout routine. Interestingly, I didn't realize how much I had been stressing over my workouts (fitting them in, dreading them, etc.) until I had actually committed to something that felt fulfilling mentally and not just physically.
Hardly revolutionary, any fitness expert will tell you the key to routinizing a workout regimen is finding something you love. And though it may have taken a few years and an objectively obvious aha moment later, I'm glad to have finally taken that advice to heart. Below, I'm breaking down my experience. Keep scrolling for five dance workouts sure to switch up a ho-hum workout routine.
Body By Simone
The NW Method
Looking for more workout inspiration? These are the best boxing gyms in NYC.