When I learned that my hubby was going to an all day conference one Saturday the first thing I did was call up one of my girlfriends to see if she was available to hang, and luckily for me, she was! I work downtown so I don’t usually find myself in Toronto on the weekends, but I saw a new side of Toronto that I don’t usually get to see as I’m usually only rushing to work and rushing home from work. The first thing she mentioned in our brainstorming session was an Afro-House dance class. I was instantly intrigued. I didn’t know we could take such lessons? I’d never heard of Afro-House dancing before?! But she had me at dance. Long ago now are the days where I thought I could make a living being a hip hop (or lyrical or salsa) dancer, but I’ve never lost the passion to turn on some music to move to or take a brand new dance class.
We found ourselves at the AfroLatino Dance Company on a glorious Saturday morning. The studio has beautiful hardwood floors, large mirrors, high ceilings and several gorgeous chandeliers. Not forgetting all the natural light that came in through the front windows. I was excited.
According to their website, Afro-House is a dance style that is popular in several African countries. They teach a style from Angola that is strongly influenced by kuduro, an up-tempo, energetic and sometimes aggressive and agitated dance style. Their style, however, presents a softer and more fluid version of it where the moves flow to the beats of house music mixed with African tribal influences.
There were only five of us students, including my friend and I and it was perfect. We had our instructor’s full attention to ensure that we were nailing those brand new moves.
What moves am I referring to exactly? Check out the video below. It’s not from the class but it gives you a sense of what the moves are like :
The class was challenging but SO much fun! It was 60 minutes filled with high energy steps, kicks and a dance move where you push your knees in and out – I don’t remember what the name of the dance move was but all in all it was a seriously a great workout. All the fast steps got my heart pumping and legs burning in a good way!
We had so much fun we decided to stay for the next class, reggaeton. Raggaeton appears to be a more popular class as every week that I’ve gone I’ve noticed there are more students that join. Their website describes reggaeton as primarily based on strong body movements, famous for body isolations and polyrhythmic combination of moves. The class focused on movements for the shoulders, torso and hips.
Check out a bit of the class below. No judgement! This snippet was taken from the first class I ever attended:
As if those two classes weren’t fun enough, we topped off the day by going for lunch at The Beet restaurant.
We then picked up some dessert at The Butternut Baking Co., a Toronto based natural baking company that specializes in gluten-free, grainless, and naturally low-carb bakes. I tried their brownie and doughnuts and they were delicious.
It was a fun-filled Saturday in the Junction and time well spent that I will definitely need to repeat.
As much as I enjoy watching dance shows on television (for example: World of Dance, So You Think You Can Dance, and the now unfortunately cancelled America’s Best Dance Crew) I love taking dance classes and I always try to encourage people to try it out for themselves or just put on some music and dance at home! Not only is dancing good for the soul, it has some major health perks too. Research shows that dancing can improve your mental health by boosting your overall happiness. Dancing, like any cardio workout, can improve cardiovascular health, increase stamina, strengthen bones and muscles, improve balance and keep illnesses at bay. Dancing is social, fun, and you don’t need any equipment to do it!
Are there any dance classes that you’ve taken that you would recommend? What do you like to do to stay active? Let’s chat in the comments!
This blog and the author of this blog post is not affiliated with any of the businesses mentioned. The opinions of the author are being shared based on personal experience.