This Black-Owned Fitness Company Made Me Stop Hating Dance Fitness

March 13, 2017  |  

Dance fitness has never been my thing. When I gave Zumba a try in the past, I was always a step behind and couldn’t tell my left from right once the music began. I’m shy, so the idea of learning dance moves in a room full of people is usually a turn-off. That was until I attended a few classes at Banana Skirt Productions, a black-owned dance fitness company founded by Akinah Rahmaan. Their choreographers teach the dance routines from our favorite music videos step-by-step. If your favorite track hasn’t gotten the video treatment, their instructors create an original routine and teach it during an hour-long class. Their schedule has included classes that features choreography to songs like “Broccoli” ( D.R.A.M. Featuring Lil Yachty), “Shinin’” (Beyonce & Jay Z) and “Bad and Boujee” (Migos featuring Lil’ Uzi Vert). They also have pop-dance classes that are Vinyasa yoga-based and feature soundtracks from acts like Bruno Mars and Britney Spears.

Last nights •Get Right• Caneography Dance Class! #bananaskirt #ibananaskirt

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After attending a few classes my whole viewpoint on dance fitness has changed. Besides having dance classes with full blown eight-counts, Banana Skirt offers a Ratchet ZOOBA fitness class, which is an easy watch-and-follow jam session that combines cardio and twerking to create a calorie-burning sweat set. The studio is transformed into a club, with disco-strobe lights and music turned up to the max. If you don’t feel like hitting the club, Ratchet ZOOBA will have you lit and fit on a Friday night.

I didn’t know what to expect from this class when I first walked in. I thought I would stick out like a sore thumb because I’m not the best two-stepper. While dancing in front of the mirror I was forced to look at myself, which I was super uncomfortable with, but it helped to ease that feeling of awkwardness. It also helped quiet my inner voice of doubt. I kept telling myself I would look stupid, which led to me feeling out of place once the beat dropped. After the first 15 minutes of  the class passed, I was so into it that nothing else mattered. I surprised myself when I noticed I was effortlessly doing dance moves I never thought I could do. We went hard under the strobe lights, mixing high knees, crunches, punches and toning with twerking.


Tiana def gave us Savage, Ruthless with her choreo for Migo's "Bad & Bougie". Lit AF 🔥 @tianahester

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The music was great for getting everyone in the zone, with tracks like Uncle Luke’s “Doo Doo Brown,” UNK’s “Walk It Out,” Juvenile’s “Back That A** Up,” “JuJu On That Beat,” Ludacris’ “What’s Your Fantasy?” and much more. Being surrounded by other women who were carefree and more focused on having a good time than how they looked helped me feel less bashful. Plus, the instructor Nikki Cherry, was overflowing with a contagious energy and her vivacious attitude encouraged me to come out of my shell. I had worked my abs, glutes and arms, ending my week with a gym-free, dance-infused cardio workout. My FitBit counted 452 calories burned at the end. I was pleased.

The Ratchet ZOOBA class gave me more than I bargained for. Not only did I have a great workout, but I got the confidence boost that I needed. Click here to try it out for yourself.

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