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Dance fitness classes in NYC: Masala Bhangra, Banana Skirt and more

There’s a reason that dancers are insanely fit. 

Dancing torches calories, improves balance and boosts your mood. The best part? Shaking your booty and swinging your hips doesn’t feel like a workout because it’s so fun — and your options are not limited to Zumba or barre classes. 

Whether you’re feeling bored by your regular workout, looking to improve your dance-floor skills or miss clubbing till all hours of the night (and morning), get your heart pumping and your body grooving with these dance-inspired exercise classes — no rhythm required. 

Show off your Bollywood star: Masala Bhangra

Masala Bhangra. for amnewyork health piece on dance
Photo Credit: Lauren Fisher Photography

This Indian dance-based program is inspired by traditional Bhangra moves. Think Bollywood meets upbeat cardio for the ultimate high-energy sweat sesh. “The choreography is taught using the ‘add-on’ format,” said local instructor Rizwan Dhanidina, who teaches sessions at PMT Dance Studio and New York Health & Racquet Club’s Whitehall Street location. “It repeats from the top so you’re always adding on, which makes it easy to follow.” In addition to learning a routine, you’ll get a full-body workout targeting shoulders, abs and legs. Find classes at masalabhangraworkout.com

Get a HIIT workout with a beat: AKT

AKT. Photo byÃElizabeth Herman
Photo Credit: Elizabeth Herman

At celeb trainer Anna Kaiser’s boutique fitness studio AKT, dance workouts get the HIIT spin with interval training. Known for getting famous booty-shakers like Shakira into shape, Kaiser’s crew is largely made up of pro dancers, with classes that take a 360-degree approach to incorporating strength training and movement. Its signature class, Happy Hour, incorporates plank exercises to activate your core, said master trainer Emily Mara, along with about 20 minutes of dance cardio before winding down with some stretching. $37-$45/class; 1182 Broadway, 2nd Fl., 646-918-7359, 244 E. 84th St., 4th Fl., 212-858-0305, aktinmotion.com

Shake your hips — or jazz hands: Broadway Bodies

Broadway Bodies. for amnewyork health piece on dance
Photo Credit: Broadway Bodies

Whether you look like Napoleon Dynamite or Queen Bey, it doesn’t matter at Broadway Bodies, which invites everyone to “join the shame-free community.” Building from its original class, Broadway Cardio, the studio now offers workouts inspired by Broadway shows like “Hamilton” and stars like RiRi. The mantra of every session is having fun. “Fitness always begins from the inside out and improving your mind and spirit is the most important thing you can do in a journey to becoming fit,” said Broadway Bodies instructor Rebecca Bradford. $20-$25/class; 151 W. 26th St., 6th Fl., 347-926-3952, broadwaybodies.com

Channel your inner pop star: Banana Skirt Productions

Banana Skirt
Photo Credit: Banana Skirt

Even if you’ve never twerked, Banana Skirt Productions will have you getting low in their Ratchet Fitness and pop music-fueled classes. “We combine the hottest dance moves with fitness exercise in a ‘watch and follow’-style format with a club-style playlist,” trainer Tiana Hester-Charles said. “From a fitness perspective, it’s a great balance because it utilizes both the aerobic and anaerobic energy systems and provides a combination of low, moderate, and high intensity levels.” $27/class; 500/519 Eighth Ave., 917-576-5635, bananaskirt.net

Find a new way to get social: The Sculpt Society

Megan Roup, founder of The Sculpt Society. for
Photo Credit: The Sculpt Society

Dancing has a social element, which can be especially important during the cold — and isolating — winter months. “Group fitness is about building a strong community, and many of my clients become friends through sweating together,” said former pro dancer Megan Roup (pictured), who designed The Sculpt Society for busy New Yorkers. In less than an hour, her signature class mixes up cardio and toning exercises drawn from Pilates and calisthenics, as well as lightweight functional training for a well-rounded routine. “Anyone can jump into the class and feel comfortable,” she said. $35/class; Project by Equinox, 267 Mulberry St., 212-901-4900; Studio B at Bandier, 164 Fifth Ave., 917-408-4617, meganroup.com

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