If you want to burn stress and boost endorphins, try a dance fitness class at the YMCA. Our most popular formats are Dance Blast and Zumba, but we also offer Aqua Dance Blast, Dance/Sculpt Fusion, Dance Blast Gold (lower impact), Ballroom Dance and Line Dancing.
“It doesn’t feel like a workout,” says Dance Blast instructor Trinity Thomas. “For that one hour you can drop your kids off at Y-Play, hang with your friends, socialize and have fun. You laugh at yourself and you act goofy. And, who doesn’t love to dance?”
Dance instructors bring their own flair and style to the Y, which is why every class will feel like a different experience. But, you will find a common thread—each class has a group of loyal followers who show up week after week. Trinity has been teaching at the Y for just over a year, and she’s found a close community of friends through dance fitness.
“There’s a song I do in class called ‘My Type of Party,’” she says. “[Dance Blast] is my type of party. I’m 40 years old. I’m a mom. I’m not planning to go out. I want to be in bed by 9 p.m. This is my place to hang out, go dancing and be with friends—and not have to get all dressed up to have a good time.”
She often brings participants to the front of the class to demonstrate the routines of their favorite songs. You may even see Trinity’s mini-me, her 11-year-old daughter Ari, joining her on the stage. If there’s a misstep in the routine, Ari is always the one to get the group back on track. Trinity uses this example to show the versatility of her class and its participants. “It’s really for anybody, any age, to come out and get a good workout while having fun.”
Finding the right class
Before Trinity began teaching at the Y, she attended Dance Blast classes as a participant and loved the variety.
“Every instructor has something really unique to provide because they come from all walks of life,” she says. “You have [instructors] who were in drill team, dance team or cheerleading. But there are also people like me who walk into the room as a participant, something sparks inside of them, and they starting teaching dance.”
Instructors also bring a piece of their own culture to classes. “I’ll do rap, dance hall, cumbia, reggaetón, R&B, pop… I have a wide selection of music,” Trinity says. “Every instructor brings their own stylistics. Most classes have unique choreography. So, I encourage everybody to try different classes to find what you like.”
Getting in your workout
As you move your way through a dance fitness class, your heart will start pumping. “About half-way into the class, you’ll get an endorphin high from the workout,” Trinity says. “There’s actually research that shows that people who continually get that endorphin high through the week are less stressed and happier.”
The cardio also brings your body into a target heart rate zone that allows you to burn calories and fat. Trinity has seen how effective the workout is for participants.
“I’ll have people tag me on social media or show me their smartwatch after class and say, ‘I burned, like, a thousand calories today,’” she says. “Depending on how much intensity you’re putting into the workout, I’ve seen people burn anywhere between 400 and 1200 calories in one class.”
If you’re bringing those knees up, squatting low and giving your all—you can expect to be sweating after an hour of dance fitness.
Trinity doesn’t want people to let fear keep them from coming. She will be the first to tell you that no one else is paying attention to your dance moves.
“Dancing is fun. It’s a judgment-free zone,” she says. “If you can two-step [back and forth] the whole time, please come in the doors and come hang out with us. That’s all you need to do.”
As a dance fitness instructor, her goal is to encourage her participants’ confidence. “I want to empower people to feel good in their skin. Anybody can do [dance fitness]. I’m nobody special. We all have the capability to share together through dance.”