The Most Fun You Can Have with Your Clothes (Mostly) On
Roaring Fork Lifestyle’s editor, Nicolette Toussaint, who admits that she’s a serial gym dropout, asked this reporter to find half a dozen indoor workouts she “might actually enjoy and stick to.”
It’s not that Toussaint is sedentary. She teaches figure skating, skis black diamond runs and was spotted doing a duet with a belly dancer at this magazine’s birthday party! Figuring that she likes to dance, this reporter found six local dance workouts that add up to the most fun you can have with your clothes (mostly) on.
1) Tribal Belly Dancing in Glenwood
Belly dance comes in multiple flavors: Egyptian, Morroccan, Gypsy and Tribal Fusion, among others. It can incorporate moves from Cabaret belly dance, flamenco and other folkloric dances. Joy White, who teaches belly dancing at the Glenwood Springs Center for the Arts, says, “You can feel controlled, grounded, accepting of yourself, edgy, youthful, slightly tantalizing and downright sparkly dabbled in jewels and feathers. Belly dance uses muscles you didn’t even know you had. Throw in creativity and fun beats, and what’s not to adore about belly dancing?”
Sarah Brotherson, who has studied and performed professionally with renowned belly dancer Ayla, currently offers classes in the Tribal Fusion style in Glenwood Springs. A ten-week session is $150 and five students are needed to form a class. For details, see the Tús Nua Belly Dance page on Facebook or contact Brotherson: 970.404.0465 or email@example.com.
2) Hula Hoop Workout
Readers may have seen “Betty Hoops” teaching red-robed Tibetan monks to hula hoop during Carbondale’s last Mountain Fair. Betty Shurin—aka Betty Hoops—is a Guinness Book World record holder for hula hooping while running half marathons.
Betty teaches hoopers of all ages and abilities. She says that “anatomy is the key to re-training the body to move from the core, creating centeredness, balance and a strong sense of self. My passion is empower people to become their own healers by moving from the inside out.”
Shurin has designed a collapsible flexy hoop that is specially weighted for adults. (Hoops under one pound won’t stay up while those over two pounds can pinch nerves, injure knees or cause bruises.) Betty, who lives in Basalt, teaches every Wednesday at Shakti Shala in Aspen, but midvalley students can buy hoops and $14 instructional DVDs at BettyHoops.com. Aspiring hoopers can even schedule personalized lessons by Skype or Facetime.
3) Zumba for Feeling Good All Over
An intense aerobic workout that pairs footwork with sexy Latin American dance moves, Zumba is performed to flamenco, salsa, Cuban, calypso and African music. “It’s all about joy—being happy with who you are and sharing that happiness,” says Andrea Orrego, who teaches Zumba at Burn Fitness. “It’s about feeling sexy and embracing your body because it’s only when you start liking yourself that you become able to feel and look better.”
Orrego, who was new to the valley when she took her first class, says she soon became “part of a community of supporting friends who got together to have fun and better themselves in the process.” She enjoyed it so much she soon got certified to teach.
Zumba classes are held all over the Roaring Fork Valley, including at Burn in Basalt, at Basalt Fitness, at Basalt Middle School, at Colorado Mountain College, at Carbondale’s Third Street Center and at Glenwood Springs Community Center.
4) Capoeira Angola in Carbondale
Originating in 16th century Brazil, Capoeira is part martial art, part game and part ritual. Created by slaves who were barred from celebrating their culture and from practicing martial arts, it emerged as a way to evade those prohibitions. Classes usually include both movement and instruction on Capoeira instruments: a musical bow called the berimbau, a tamborine, a tall “atabaque” drum, an “agogo” bell and a “reco-reco” rattle.
Capoeira student Zuleika Pevec comments, “It puts me in a good mood. It makes me work hard, but it’s fun.” Her dance partner, fellow student Tanelle Lavender, who is getting back in shape after having a baby, likes Capoeira because “it combines music and dancing.”
Amanda Trakas and Michael Lintner teach Capoeira both at the Launchpad and at Third Street Center. For details, email AngolaRFV@gmail.com.
5) Soaring on the Circus Silks
“I love that the silks bring you back to those joyful playground feelings we had as kids. Lots of adults have forgotten that exercise can be fun,” says silks instructor Stacy Everson. “You don’t need to feel like there’s a drill sergeant standing over you to get a good workout.”
Everson, who studied with aerial silks pioneer Rebecca Leech at Sky Gym in Sandy Spring, Georgia, notes, “It’s a circus art form. It was kept under wraps for a long time because performers wanted to impress audiences and didn’t want people to know that they actually could do it themselves.” Noting that Sky Gym teaches disabled dancers, and even students missing limbs, Leech adds, “Truthfully, anyone can learn it.”
Kids must be at least seven to participate, and Everson’s oldest student is 62. Sopris Soarers classes are $20 per class at the Launchpad in Carbondale.
6) Booty Barre in Basalt
Standing on the left leg before a ballet barre, holding cantaloupe-sized ball behind the right knee and then raising it behind the back with leg-lifts, one soon decides that the “Burn” studio is correctly named. Energetic owner and trainer Denise Latousek teaches eight Booty Barre® classes a week, and early on a Monday morning, nine students of all ages and ability levels have turned up for an hour-long session.
Because this workout combines ballet’s fluidity with yoga’s flexibility and the core strengthening of Pilates, Booty Barre is favored by those with dance backgrounds. Natalie Carricarte of Basalt has studied both ballet and jazz, and says, “This builds those same muscles. It builds strength while it stretches and elongates the muscles. And it’s fun; the hour just flies by.”
Fellow student Becky Dombrowksi chimes in, saying, “I love it because Denise is so full of energy.” Carriacarte agrees, saying, “The whole studio is filled with her energy, and it gives the class such a supportive spirit.”