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By now I'm no stranger to at-home workouts. And I've had ample time to test them all: Peloton, FitOn, Obé...you name it, I've tried it over the past year of lockdown. As a result, my pandemic fitness routine is full of variety. In a typical week, I run, do yoga, strength train, and power through a virtual HIIT class or two. But the one thing I haven't yet tried? Dancing.
Enter DanceBody Live, a digital fitness platform that streams dance-inspired cardio and strength classes live in your home gym. I'll admit—as someone with no dance background (outside of the clerb, that is), the thought of a dance class makes me nervous. After all, the only "choreography" I'm used to is a slow-moving vinyasa flow. But something about hitting the dance floor (aka my living room) in lieu of my usual fitness routine sounded too fun to pass up, so I put on my dancing shoes for two weeks for a DanceBody Live review.
What Is DanceBody?
DanceBody is a line of dance fitness studios founded in 2013 in New York City by dancer Katia Pryce. It has since expanded to the Hamptons, Miami, and Los Angeles, where you can take in-person classes or book private sessions. The company also includes DanceBody Live ($35/month, $350/year, or pay-per-view), which is a digital workout platform where you can stream daily live and on-demand versions of its signature dance cardio and sculpt classes.
Type of Class: Dance Cardio and Sculpt
If you're not a dancer, never fear: While DanceBody Live's workouts are dance-inspired, there's no need to have prior dance training. The platform's two main offerings are dance cardio and sculpt classes. In the dance cardio arena, you have several options. You can start by taking a class to acquaint yourself with the studio's set choreography, which changes every three months. Learn, practice, and perfect moves inspired by a variety of different dance styles, then put them to the test with added footwork during one of DanceBody's Full Out classes.
If nailing choreography isn't on your agenda but you still want to put on your dancing shoes, DanceBody also offers Dance Cardio and Interval classes. These sessions feature dance-based moves like step-touches and hip circles mixed with more traditional cardio exercise like jumping or mountain climbers. The end result? You get your heart pumping like you would in a HIIT class, but with more boogying down.
And if straight-up dancing isn't for you, go with one of DanceBody Live's sculpt classes. You can pick a class based on the area of your body you want to target, like core- or lower-body-focused workouts. Some use light weights or resistance bands, and others are equipment-free. Regardless, you'll feel the burn through high repetitions of different strength-training exercises whenever you get your sculpt on.
What to Expect During a DanceBody Class
If you're unsure of whether or not you want to take the leap (perhaps literally) and give DanceBody Live a try, here's my honest review of five different classes to help you make your decision.
On-Demand Butt Lift
Length: 12 minutes
This workout may be short, but it's anything but easy. The 12-minute sculpt session targeted my glutes with high repetitions of butt-focused exercises like donkey kicks, fire hydrants, rainbows, and more, made all the more difficult with plenty of holds and pulses. The entire class took place on all fours, but don't be fooled—you don't have to stand up to feel the burn. Only a few minutes in, my glutes were on fire. That's why this class is the perfect way to finish a workout strong: I did it after a short run, and that combo of cardio and strength training was the duo I didn't know I needed.
On-Demand Dance Cardio Beginner
Length: 28 minutes
Fitness Level: Beginner
Sculpt classes are in my fitness comfort zone. Dancing, though? Not so much, which is why I started with this half-hour beginner dance cardio session. To my pleasant surprise, the moves were easy to follow along with, thanks to Marisa's clear cues and demonstrations. A lot of the moves felt familiar: Think butt kickers, oblique twists, planks, sumo squats, and more performed to the beat with dancer arms added in. Though I think I'll still be doing most of my boogying at parties since I prefer to go crazy on the dance floor rather than following along with choreography, this was a solid workout that didn't feel at all inaccessible to a newbie like me.
Length: 10 minutes
This core-focused class was another small but mighty workout. The instructor, Courtnay, put a fun dance twist on core drills like oblique sit-ups and leg lowers by incorporating arm movements and hip twists that made these familiar abs exercises not unlike lying-down dance moves. By the end of the 10 minutes, every part of my core was exhausted, making this the perfect challenging abs sequence to build into any fitness routine. As a huge proponent of working out to feel good, not change my body, my only gripe is that this class was part of the "Waist Cincher Series," a goal that may resonate with some but didn't land on me.
Length: 10 minutes
If you want to get your sweat on, this class delivers. About half of the class was spent gritting through challenging plank drills, and the second half was a fast-paced dance section. For a dance cardio newcomer, this was an ideal balance between more familiar strength-building moves and the dancing itself. It was likewise a good mix of strength exercises and cardio—in just 10 minutes, I felt like I had completed a well-rounded and energizing workout.
On-Demand Full-Body Sculpt
Length: 1 hour
Equipment: Resistance band, light weights or weighted bracelets
This hour-long sculpt class combined elements of all of the above workouts. It began with a dance cardio warm-up, followed by an alternating series of arm and leg exercises with the resistance band, core drills, more cardio bursts, and some light stretching at the end. Since I'm not accustomed to dancing for exercise, the shorter bursts of dance-based cardio were the perfect teaser to that workout modality without feeling overwhelming. I likewise loved the variety of exercises I tried during the sculpting sessions of the workout: We did enough reps for my muscles to feel challenged, but switched it up often enough that there was never a dull moment and my entire body got some love. My final assessment? 10/10, would do again.
Benefits of DanceBody
There are plenty of perks to DanceBody workouts besides just helping you get your groove on. From endurance-building intervals to versatile class options, there's tons of reasons to give the platform a try.
- It boosts endurance: If you love cardio, there's no shortage of DanceBody classes to pick from. From Interval Express to choreography-based sessions to various levels of Dance Cardio, you can choose your favorite format to get your heart pumping and boost your stamina.
- It builds strength: Not feeling a cardio-heavy workout? No problem. DanceBody's sculpt class offerings are the perfect option to help you build muscle and strength through body-weight and weighted exercises alike.
- It's music-driven: There's nothing like your favorite playlist to help you zone into a workout, and DanceBody's soundtracks do just that. Classes feature a range of popular pop and hip-hop tunes to keep you pumped up from start to finish. And the music isn't just for entertainment—the beats drive your dance steps or exercise reps to effortlessly keep you moving throughout the workout.
- You've got options: I appreciated that DanceBody has something for everybody. Whether you want to do an entire dance number, slay some intervals, or do more low-impact strength training, odds are you'll find a class to do it on DanceBody.
There are tons of live and on-demand classes to pick from that range from heart-pumping cardio to beat-driven strength training, so it's easy to tailor your workouts to whatever works best for your body and preferences. If you have an injury, however, this might not be the workout for you until it's healed: Whether you're dancing or not, there's a lot of moving around that could aggravate tender spots.
DanceBody vs. Zumba
If you're already a dance workout aficionado, then you may have also tried Zumba. While both workout styles are rooted in dance and combine a variety of cardio and strength-training moves, the premise is a little different. Zumba pulls from dance styles across the world, including salsa, reggaeton, Bollywood, and more. It works strength-building exercises into set choreography that you learn and perform throughout class. DanceBody likewise incorporates a variety of dance styles, but more to the tune of hip-hop and jazz. The platform is a similar fusion of cardio and strength training, but there is a broader range of class styles and formats to pick from, whether you'd prefer to do more straightforward choreography or pure sculpt.
What to Wear
I wore my usual workout uniform for these classes: leggings, a sports bra or athletic top, and my running shoes. Standard exercise fare should do the trick, just as long as you're able to comfortably move and sweat in your 'fit. For the sculpt sessions, it was also nice to have my yoga mat on hand to keep me centered as I moved through the exercises.
If you're all about dance fitness, you'll love DanceBody's variety of choreography- and cardio-based classes. If dance isn't your thing, though, you may be less stoked on syncing all of your moves to music, whether or not you're taking a dance-specific class. I typically fall into this camp, but that said, I loved the platform's sculpt classes, which were the perfect way to quickly but effectively challenge my muscles to the beat of a fun playlist. My recommendation? If you're curious, give it a try. DanceBody Live has a one-week free trial in which you can test out all that it has to offer. And given the broad array of live and on-demand classes to pick from, you're bound to find something that sticks.