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Dance Workouts Give Fitness a New Twist

15 Sep, 2004 By: Jessica Wolf

One way consumers can shake up a routine exercise regimen is by incorporating dance, instructors say.

“It's good to get off the treadmill every once in a while,” said longtime Venice, Calif., instructor/professional dancer Lisa Nunziella, who self-distributes her video titles from her Web site www.dancewithlisa.com.

Workouts that focus on dance movements like Dance With Lisa's Red Hot Salsa Made Simple and “Hip-Hop Cardio Dance Core” titles not only provide a great cardio option, but strengthen core muscles as do the popular Pilates, yoga and stability ball workouts, she said.

Salsa dancing is growing in popularity. Anchor Bay Home Entertainment's Crunch: Cardio Salsa workout sits at No. 8 on VideoScan's year-to-date top DVD sellers chart and at No. 11 on VHS.

Crunch: Cardio Salsa is the only non-Pilates, noninfomercial fitness DVD in the national top 10, said Michelle Rygiel, SVP of marketing for Anchor Bay.

“That is significant,” she said. “It shows that dance workouts now have the potential to dominate the chart — which is why we have followed up with another dance workout from the Crunch brand, Crunch: Fat-Burning Dance Party. Also, we are placing renewed focus on Paula Abdul's Cardio Dance DVD this year. Between Abdul's success on ‘American Idol' and the success of dance workouts, this title should be a big seller.”

Dance workouts create a happy medium for consumers between the low-key Pilates workouts and the intense, high-impact, fast movements of workouts like tae bo, she added.

“Dancing for exercise gives consumers a chance to take a break from all the concentration and intensity. They can just let loose and have fun,” Rygiel said.

Vanessa Issac has been dancing since she was a small child in Brazil. She took her Santa Barbara, Calif., studio workout program — which features live drums and exotic moves — to video, and it debuted as the No. 3 fitness seller on Amazon.com in February. She calls her workouts “emotionally releasing” and structures them to feel like a dance class. Video is a comfortable way for fitness consumers to introduce themselves to a new style, a new exercise or a new way of moving, she said.

Rania, a belly dance expert who fell in love with the dance after seeing a belly dancer in a Greek restaurant when she was 8, teaches extensively in the Los Angeles area and has a line of videos distributed by Natural Journeys.

Her most popular titles — Hip Drop Hip Hop and Cardio Shimmy — feature belly-dancing workouts set to more mainstream music.

“I think that now with Shakira and Britney Spears and even Beyonc? doing these belly dance moves on stage and in their videos, I think people are eager to learn some moves themselves,” Rania said. “It's a really great workout, and it's not stressful to the body.”Other Rania titles include Bellydance Fitness for Weight Loss, Bellydance Boogie and Pure Sweat.

Natural Journeys distributes another line of belly dancing titles, featuring twins Veena and Neena with their “Sensual Art of Bellydance” series of workout videos.

Natural Journeys also offers a line of workouts that feature hula-dancing techniques. The “Island Girl” series offers a selection of titles from workouts that focus on abs and buns to Tahitian cardio, Tahitian hip-hop and cardio hula.

Inspired Corp. has the moves, too, with the Tru2Form workout series that includes Latin Grooves, Latin Dance Workout and Urban Heat Hip-Hop Workout.Even the classic mainstream fitness pros know there's room for a little spice in a workout, like Kathy Smith's Latin Rhythm Workout, available from Sony Wonder.

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