Crash Course: Don’t expect anyone to make you drop and give them 20 at this bootcamp. The only dropping you’ll be doing at Jordin’s Paradise will be dropping it like it’s hot. If you catch my drift. Focusing on building core strength through isolated dance movement, the one hour bootcamp is a mix of pole work and floor routines with a shimmy of sexy tossed into the mix. The instructor created a fun and supportive environment for students of all experience levels and all backgrounds to feel comfortable letting their hair down a little. Click here for a full schedule of classes.
[left]where? 1215 Connecticut Ave. NW 4th floor, red line/Dupont Circle
bring? check the website for details. this class asked students to bring high heels and “booty shorts”
perks? website offers free first class
sweat score? 2 out of 10[/left]
[right]wear? loose fitting clothing or heels and booty shorts. your call.
how much? drop-in rate is $25 per class
Jordin’s Paradise has two locations: one in south Dupont, and one in Mt. Vernon Square. The Dupont studio is a little hard to find from street level; look for the door wedged between Current Sushi and Pinkberry:
Access the studio by taking the elevator to the fourth floor; the front desk will be right in front of you when the elevator doors open.
An enormous bay window and a few sky lights give the place a great “studio above the city” feel. See?
The studio is sparse – it seems that all of the resources go toward one thing: the classes. This is definitely not a fancy-pants gym with scented candles and filtered water. There are no extra decorations, no in-studio retail, and the waiting area has one couch in case you want to take a load off your feet. If you’re here, you’re here to dance.
Cubbies are provided to store belongings. To access the bathroom and changing area, walk behind ongoing classes to the back of the studio.
Yoga mats and and assortment of free weights are the only in-studio accessories provided for classes that require them. Many do not; they are either heavily dance-based or use body weight training.
The studio offers a wide spectrum of dance-based classes: modern/jazz, Zumba, belly dancing, Bollywood dance class, Tango, chair dance, and an assortment of pole classes.
Not gifted with grace or coordination, I went for the one thing that sounded like it would be right up my alley: bootcamp.
That is, until I read the class description:
Did you ever want to pole-dance like a Stripper, learn how to walk sexy in High Heels and master the Floor work and Booty-shakin’? Then this is the Class for you! High Heels are required and Booty-short’s are recommended.
I’d have to say the answers to these questions would be: no, no, and no. I have a hard enough time wearing heels all day at work, and the only booty-shakin I can muster looks like I learned it from Carleton.
But I vowed to try every workout in the District. So to “stripper boot camp” I went. High heels, booty shorts and all.
The class itself was really a lot of fun, once I got past the fact that I only bend at right angles like a dashboard hoola girl. Or the fact that my giggle reflex was on full tilt and any attempt to “work it” or “shake it” left me blushing in a puddle of laughs on the floor. Hey, it wasn’t pretty to watch, but that wasn’t the point. The class is all about core strength, building confidence, and having fun learning to move in a different way.
I have to give it up to Anika. First: she created a noncompetitive and nonjudgemental environment where everyone seemed totally comfortable with themselves. Second: she was able to wow us with her awesome dance skill–watch out Magic Mike–and then break the moves down so that they were accessible for every student, from beginner to booty-shaker. And yes, even for the giggling hoola girl in the back.
I was intimidated at first. The “dancer pushups” we started class with ended up looking a lot more like I was doing the worm than “working it.” But Anika moved seamlessly from exercise to exercise, emphasizing the experience and the fun more than the need to perfect form.
That said, with a background in yoga and dance, she emphasizes the importance of good alignment, proper posture, and moving with grace. It was a nice mix of “try this move” and “don’t forget to keep your shoulders down and your head up.” She also walked the class through a series of strength moves that would be familiar to anyone who has taken barre method before. We ended the session with a cool down and a few stretches.
There really wasn’t any cardio or sweating in this class, but that’s not to say it’s not possible. Anika mentioned that the class structure varies, and depending on the moves du jour, the pace of the instruction, and the number of students…it has the potential to be a no-joke workout. But I wouldn’t equate this class with going for a run or doing pilates. The focus on is movement, fun, and showing the world that even a heel-adverse, Carleton-dancing fit crasher like myself can learn a few new tricks.
What other class at Jordin’s Paradise should I try?[line]
P.S. Jordin’s Paradise invites all DC Fit Crasher readers to join them at a workshop on 4 November called “Mind your Work Stress with Yoga and Biz Tips.” The studio’s founder will lead 45 minutes of destressing yoga before joining sharing her small business tips and tricks. Check out the link for more information and to sign up!