Despite the fact that I’ve been teaching group exercise for close to 10 years now, I am not always the most gifted when it comes to coordination and dance skills. Sure, I can do the basic step-touch or even a mamba here or there, but when you start asking me to do one thing with my feet, another with my hips and something entirely different with my arms, my eyes cross and my body simply does not compute.
I recently decided to try a new dance exercise class: BodyJam by Les Mills. Just like any group exercise class, there was a bit of a learning curve, but I really enjoyed it. With high-energy music that makes you want to move and a variety of dance formats — salsa, hip hop, jazz, contemporary and even some rock ‘n’ roll moves — there were a few parts during the class that I felt like I actually “got” it. Other times, not so much, but the instructor had a fabulous way of breaking down even the most complicated moves to easy-to-do steps. At one point, I looked in the mirror and couldn’t believe that I was moving my arms up and down, while shaking my hips and turning my knees in and out! It was a group-fitness miracle.
If you’re like me, and don’t always feel the most coordinated, follow these tips for surviving and enjoying your first BodyJam class!
BodyJam Class Tips
1. Find a good spot. If it’s your first time in the class, pick a spot off to the side or in the back. In class you will do some turning and spinning, and you’re less likely to get confused (and feel embarrassed) when you’re not front and center.
2. Make sure you can see the instructor. In addition to what I recommended in tip No.1, you must see the instructor at all times to learn the moves in this class. The dances build simply but quickly, so make sure that you can see him or her at all times. Move to a different area of the room if need be!
3. Introduce yourself. There is power in numbers and friends to be found in group exercise classes. Introduce yourself to a few people in the class and the instructor. Let them know it’s your first class — they may have special advice and encouragement for you!
4. Don’t take yourself too seriously. This is my motto in life, but it works really well in BodyJam. You won’t get all the moves the first time, so don’t expect perfection. Just do the best you can and move the most you can. Getting that heart rate up is the goal.
5. Have fun! The music and moves are so much fun, so embrace it! Find that inner dancing queen or king and be yourself. Let loose, and I guarantee you’ll have a ball!
Have you ever tried BodyJam? Tell us about your experience! Also, be sure to check out our review of BodyFlow, another Les Mills class.
October 28th, 2010