The beat of an African drum will make you pick up the pace just as good as any Rihanna song. Here are 10 African dance classes that will get you in shape.
Led by internationally acclaimed African Dance Performer Kukuwa, this workout integrates several African dances from around the continent like the agbaja and the soukous, as well as energetic African music that gets you working muscles you may rarely work in western dance.
Dancefreaka has only been around a few years and it blends traditional African dance techniques with aerobic exercise. It’s said to improve flexibility, cardiovascular strength, and body tone. Most classes are led to the beat of a live drum.
Afro-Fusion introduces you to African dance fundamentals with a blend of African music and other genres including Afro jazz and Afro hip hop. The blending of the two types of music means the beats are constantly changing, forcing you to move your body at different speeds, confusing the muscles and giving them the ultimate workout.
At the Brasil Brasil Cultural Center in Los Angeles, you can take an Afro-Brazilian dance class in which you’ll dance to everything from samba and reggae to Orixa (a U.S. band that mixes many different styles including Afro-Latin, hip hop, rock, reggae, Brazilian and funk) and Afro contemporary. All classes are taught to the accompaniment of live music. We have L.A. envy!
AfroCaribbean dance classes are usually accompanied by a live percussion ensemble, done in loose, comfortable clothing and done barefoot. It’s one of the most freeing forms of dance, and just think of the always-happy Caribbean music mixed with rhythmic African music: that’s the perfect workout playlist.
AfroLatin Kickbox mixes Latin dances like salsa and merengue with a “dance-fied” cardio kickboxing. It’s a super high-energy class and when you look around at your classmates, it looks like you’re in an expertly choreographed music video.
AfroCuban dance classes incorporate several types of dances like arara, palo, rumba and salsa, along with Haitiano genres of dance. Most AfroCuban dance classes double as drum workshops, so you get twice the energy from the enthusiastic musicians/music students and those there to break a sweat!
This is a trademarked workout that increases flexibility and strength, and tones the body. The workout looks a bit like hip hop, a bit like break dancing, and a bit like spiritual bursts through the body. The music can be very emotionally moving, which is meant to drive you to dance harder.
West African dance is done barefoot, usually in light, colorful sarongs that twirl and sway with each movement, making the class visually stunning. You usually dance in pairs, and to the beat of a live drum. Movements are much swifter than those of AfroCuban or AfroLatin kickbox, so you barely realize you’re exercising! Until you’ve worked up a serious sweat. This is a very fun class to take with a group of female friends.
Bokwa class takes inspiration from traditional South African dance, but also blends in hip hop moves, and tons of cardio. The dance is unique because the movements are meant to create the shapes of English-language letters. It’s an easy class to customize for your energy level: you can make it high intensity, or you can keep it light.