For the group fitness realm, a very obvious trend appeared at the Expo. There were quite a few fitness-dance offerings other than the ZUMBA program that has clearly been all the rage over the last year or so.
ZUMBA bills itself as a “Latin-inspired dance-fitness program that blends red-hot international music, created by Grammy Award-winning producers, and contagious steps to form a “fitness-party” that is downright addictive.“
Who hasn't heard of this fitness phenomenon?
In my opinion, the program’s success is in its use of a few basic moves which, when combined with one another, modified in some way, or even sped up to faster music, lead to a myriad of options whether for the beginner or advanced exercise-dancer. With the right instructor, the right music, and the right party atmosphere/attitude of the group, the only thing you’ll lose is fat, from all the booty-shakin’ action.
BTW, my dear friend and fellow immigrant from Manila is a super-fun ZUMBA instructor. Catch Jeffrey Samson at Equinox Pasadena when you can, I promise you won't regret it!
There was no shortage of these dance-fitness programs, and the entire floor was literally booming with loud dance music from one booth to the next, each with its signature colors, dance moves, and music.
TIMBA Dance & Fitness. The name sounds like it's 2 letters away from a similar program. Oh wait ... IT IS!
TIMBA Dance & Fitness sounds suspiciously close to Zumba. The dance-fitness world is not my realm but in reading through their website, I personally can’t see much of a difference in the 2 programs, except for probably different choreography and therefore different dance program outcomes. Essentially, I’d then liken it to taking a Latin-dance inspired class that’s a little different from Zumba, assuming a compelling difference.
On a side note, allow me to say that this opinion is not to disparage TIMBA in any way. I haven’t personally tried the program and since I’m not an avid ZUMBA fan myself, my opinion only comes from what I know/understand as the selling points of each. For all I know, they’re completely different experiences, but something tells me they aren’t.
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Another program below has more of an African-dance influence to its programming, and it’s called BOKWA. “BO” represents light-boxing and “KWA” represents the traditional and cultural dance “Kwaito”.
BOKWA Fitness. Check them out, you be the judge.
Per their website, I think their main selling point is in the use of a different cultural influence toward their dance moves. Additionally, their program is allegedly the only one of its kind using American Hand Sign language, plus their program-specific “BOKWA hand-signs” signaling the participants on the next move ahead.
Not only does this allow the hard of hearing to join classes, it also allows for learning that’s based also on visual cues versus mere verbal cues. To me, they get bonus points for that distinguishing element.
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BATUKA fitness, "derived from the Brazilian Batucada, which is a festive and vibrant gathering of people enjoying music, rhythm, and dance"
A program that seems farther along in diversity and development is BATUKA fitness, simply because the program has more than just a dance component.
Per the website, it’s music-driven choreography blocks and content are also organized into the following categories:
- FORCE: functional total-body training
- FIGHT: moves from Taekwondo, Muay Thai, Kung Fu, Capoeira, etc
- ZEN: flow movements, based on Pilates, Yoga, Tai-Chi, etc
Of course, there’s the DANCE component that pulls from genres all over the world. And a unique component to this program is a NOURISH or nutrition component, which bills itself as a healthy-eating lifestyle, giving you guidance and common-sense education, unlike traditional diets.
Coincidentally, a dear friend of mine (I just read this on the website) is Creative Director of the BATUKA fit team. The well-roundedness of the program offerings and her involvement in the program are making it a smash-hit winner in my book.
Little Delfie with the incomparable PETRA KOLBER, Creative Director for BATUKA (applause, applause)
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Why are these dance programs so prevalent in the fitness industry? Two words: fun factor. I believe that the appeal in these programs is that the simpler choreography blocks, the moving beats of the music, and the instructor’s motivation add up to a workout that’s nothing but fun, fun, and more fun!
And I, for one, am a big believer in making workouts fun, in order for the exerciser to want to stay active and be on the move. If there’s anything all the research out there says, we human beings are designed to move and the more sedentary we get as a society, the worse off we are in terms of health, vitality, and longevity.
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Wanna see a peek of part 3? Riddle me this: What piece of exercise equipment could literally shake your world to better fitness?