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About Afro Dance Fitness

What is Afro Dance Fitness?

Like jiving to Love Nwantini, Jerusalema and other Afrobeats music? Afrodance with Jeevi is putting a high energy, rhythmic and easy to learn choreography to this music, and will surely get your heart pumping and have you grinning ear to ear. 

But to go back to basics for those who are new - Afrobeats is the umbrella term for the dance and music that come from West Africa (Nigeria and Ghana) and is a rapidly growing pop culture and fitness trend. While there is a deep historic and cultural tradition of dance across sub-saharan Africa, with it being essential to key life experiences such as celebrations, courtships, weddings and funerals, Afrodance or Afrobeats dance is a contemporary interpretation of the moves from West Africa, with dancers like Incredible Zigi, Dance god lloyd paving the way.  For a deeper cultural appreciation, we turn to Isaac MIK of African Dance Dictionary and Knzo Mendy of African Dance Revolution

In African Dance Fitness, we take the dances, music and inspiration from Afrodance and the rest of the continent, including dance moves such as azonto, zanku, gwara gwara and pilolo, and choreograph a set to have the highest impact on your health and fitness.

Who can join AWJ?

Anyone! Afrobeats dance is available for all to experience and enjoy, regardless of age, gender, race or fitness levels. Doesnt matter if you’ve never stepped on the dance floor or have two left feet, the classes are designed to make you feel welcome and safe. But be prepared to hop, step or jump a little out of your comfort zone - we want you to experience the joy of African dance fitness, which includes letting loose and grooving with the music. If you are fascinated by or already love African-inspired music, Afrobeats or African Culture in general - big plus!


How is an African Dance Fitness class different from a Zumba Fitness class?

Its like comparing apples and oranges - they come from different trees! Zumba originates from Latin America and was created in 1998 by a famous Colombian dancer and choreographer, Alberto "Beto” Perez. It uses 4 basic rhythms include Salsa, Reggaeton, Merengue, and Cumbia, each of which has four core steps. On the other hand, Afrodance has emerged organically from the Sub-Saharan Africa region with generations passing down and personalizing moves on the go. This has led to a widely diverse dance style, two classes or two dancers may never be the same! Given the cultural significance, Afrodance is also seen as a way not just to exercise but also to express oneself and connect with others.   

What are the benefits of African Dance Fitness? 

The physical, mental and emotional benefits of African dance fitness are endless but ultimately, we want it to be, as so succinctly stated in the book, African Dance with Passion by Kukuwa, “an experience of the soul that puts a smile on everyone’s face and a challenge in their step” 

But, let's start with the physiological. Given the high energy steps that use all the muscles in your body, it sure the make you sweat. In just one hour of the dance workout, you can burn between 400 - 500 calories! Plus the constant movement to the Afrobeats means it’s a great cardiovascular exercise, so its kushangaza (which is swahili for good) for your heart too. And thats just the start! 

It’s well documented that exercise elevates your mood while reducing stress and anxiety and Afrobeats dance takes it one step further.  It is exhilarating, exciting and will put you in high spirits - you’ll be buzzing for the rest of the week. And for those struggling to find an outlet for their emotions, this form of dance workout can provide a great release. You are required to be 100% present in your body and mind during dance class, (otherwise you could fall a bit behind!) and this allows you to overcome your everyday struggles and tensions. It is also a confidence builder to see yourself move like you might not have thought possible! Afrobeats dance if fluid enough to let you express yourself while still ensuring a framework and routine that helps you establish and then step out of your comfort zone.  Plus, learning, memorizing and performing the choreography also boosts your cognitive performance. Our favourite thing is seeing the moment when a participant has learnt the routine and stops thinking about it - they give in to the music, letting their body speak for them. 

And - you can’t miss out on the social part of African dance! No matter whether it is your first time or you’ve been a regular - you will feel embraced by the lovely community that is warm, friendly and welcoming. As adults it can be hard to make new friends, and the wonderful safe space created at  AfrowithJeevi allow you not only to be your most authentic self but also meet like minded people. Its not unlikely that you’ll leave the class with a new friend or two! 


What makes AWJ special? 

With a background in sport psychology, Jeevi leverages her learnings to create classes that will be fun, a good workout AND great for your mental health. As AWJ expands to include instructors, Jeevi has supported the AWJ instructors in maintaining that the African dance fitness classes are a safe space for you to explore and express yourself, which includes making mistakes! This is a special space that you get to do you, with the AWJ instructors as your cheerleaders! Our aim is always to encourage and empower - not just in the dance studio but across your daily life and beyond.

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