Okay, let’s be honest: it’s impossible not to move when a Bollywood track comes on. Veena Sukha realised how great this would be for a workout – so say hey to Bollywood Fitness, a dance class with a twist that works everything from your eyebrows to your toes…
What Is Bollywood Fitness?
“Bollywood Fitness is an Indian dance-based workout,” Veena begins. “The movements are blended from the Indian dance forms (Bharata Natyam, Katak, Rajastani Folk and Bangra) fused with elements of Salsa, Jazz, Hip Hop and Arabic.” And all of this is set to upbeat Bollywood music, of course. “You won’t even realise you’re exercising,” she continues. “And, most importantly, you’ll be toning your body and burning fat, while having fun!”
Veena has always been passionate about dance and fitness. “I’m out running, hiking and cycling regularly,” she says. “I’d also attend ‘dance fitness’ classes and always felt there was a huge gap in Bollywood Fitness class.” With an authentic background in Indian dance and a fitness base to work from, Bollywood Fitness was born. Five years later, it’s still going strong.
“Classes vary from 45 to 60 minutes,” Veena explains. “And [each class] targets all areas. All movements encompass hand and feet movements accompanied with facial expressions.” That’s not all. “Dance has many benefits: improved flexibility, agility and coordination.” Plus: those endorphins, so you can say goodbye stress.
The Women’s Health team had a chance to try out one of Veena’s classes. Here’s what they had to say…
“Besides dancing behind closed doors and on vodka-fuelled nights, I’ve never really danced in a fitness sense,” Chandré says. “And definitely not Bollywood Fitness dancing!” But she absolutely loved Veena’s class.
“I didn’t feel any stiffness the next day, but during the workout I was surprised about just how much I could feel it in my arms!” Chandré adds. It’s a completely different workout to what she’s used to, but that’s what made it fun and interesting. “I could work up a sweat while having fun and appreciating another culture. Oh, and the time flew by so it’s a major win for me!”
“I did ballet throughout junior and high school – so I do have a background in dance – but I was totally unprepared for the next-level fun that Bollywood-style movement brings with it,” Sue begins. “Think: A flurry of colourful moves, basically telling a story through dance, but in a way that is totally accessible to everybody.”
Susan is a serious paddler so her arms were ache-free the next day. But her legs and butt told a different story. “Without realising it (because you’re so busy A) having a blast and B) trying to coordinate your arms and legs in time to the upbeat traditional tunes), you’re working your entire body,” she adds.
“I loved the class – and I’d definitely do it again. Not just because it’s a great all-over-toning workout, but because it left me feeling super-blissed and energised for the rest of the day,” Susan says. “I also really like the fact that it’s a body-embracing, reaffirming form of exercise – something we should all try to include in our fitness regime as often as we can.”
“I’ve done various types of dancing, but I’m not very good at them – I’m uncoordinated and wooden,” Wanita laughs. “The only dancing I was ever good at was ballroom because it required very little coordination – as the woman, your partner leads – and classical styles encourage stiffness and rigidity.” Nothing like Bollywood.
Wanita also loved the class.”I loved the music. I loved the stories behind the moves – like you’re acting out a scene instead of just doing a dance, and I loved how it seamlessly blended dancing and fitness moves to give you a workout without you realising it.” Although she didn’t feel stiff the next day, “I felt my muscles activating and my heart rate went up nicely during the class – I got 100 Vitality points!”
And there’s absolutely no need to feel self-conscious at all! “I was constantly out of time and turning the wrong way,” Wanita recalls. “Some sequences I just couldn’t do!” Even though it was a small class with nowhere to hide, it didn’t matter because it was new for everyone. “We all just laughed it off together,” she adds. Plus, Veena has a great energy and sense of humour. “She’s encouraging – she doesn’t shout at you or single you out. So you can relax and have fun no matter how good (or bad) you are.”
Try It Yourself At Fit Night Out Cape Town
“If you’re looking for a new workout you must join us,” Veena exclaims. “We’ll explore the vibrant energetic Bangra dance originating from Punjab, India.” This dance involves lots of shoulder movements, jumping around and leg work. “This provides a great lower body workout for your hip flexors, quads, calves and hammies.”
Ready to dance it out? Grab your Fit Night Out tickets on Quicket now!