Normally I use my facebook and twitter pages to keep you informed of all the cool, healthy one-off events going on in Edinburgh and use my blog to give you more information about things that are on-going so that you can try them yourselves. This fringe event was so much fun and healthy that I just had to blog about it!! The added bonus is … you can still have a go! So have a read and then head on down to the Gilded Balloon and join Liz (and probably me as I’m definitely going back again) in the fab Bey Dance Workshop….
August in Edinburgh means one thing, FESTIVALS!! Book, International, and my fave – The Fringe! Most locals get their festival fitness by running as far away from the chaos as possible but I prefer to dive in – ‘dancing’ feet first.
Every year I eagerly await the publication of the Fringe Guide, grab my copy hot off the press and go straight to the Dance, Physical Theatre and Circus section where I read every entry at least 5 times. These shows are my favourite as I love seeing what the human body is capable of doing with the proper training and dedication. By the end of August I’m motivated to try anything; this has been the inspiration behind my journey into yoga (especially aerial), Zumba®, and belly dancing.
This year, with highlighters at the ready, I skimmed through entries for acrobatics, athletics, Bey Dance Workshop….. BEY DANCE???? So instead of just watching amazing dancers, we can actually learn from them – and get some exercise at the same time? YES PLEASE!!
The first class I could fit in my schedule was for Sunday morning at 10am. I normally wouldn’t be keen for an early morning start, but I really enjoyed walking in the sunshine through the empty streets as I headed to Teviot Row House. I knew exactly where I was going and had a wee smile as I entered the basement ‘Night Club’. Ah, lots of fond memories of seeing gigs here, especially when they included my favourite Edinburgh Band ‘The OK Social Club’. All that fist pumping and bouncing up and down may come in handy for today’s dance class!
I was first in but it wasn’t long until I was joined by other excited would be ‘Divas’. Our class was all women but our dance instructor, Liz is keen to have guys so if you go to one of her classes – drag along a male friend!!
Liz started by telling us the story of ‘Bey Dance’. Liz is a dancer and has been to Edinburgh for the Fringe several times; a couple years ago she did a Beyonce dance in her show. Her colleagues all wanted to learn the routine and as Liz taught it over and over and over – something clicked. There could be a market for this! Back in Australia Liz now teaches Bey inspired fitness classes to hundreds of students – including guys! Luckily for the month of August, Liz is back in town for another show at the Fringe, a cabaret comedy review called Bacchanalia; is one show enough for Liz – NOPE – so it’s cabaret by night and Bey Dance by day.
Introductions over, it was time for the warm-up. So a little confession from me – I’m not a mega Beyonce fan. I do like her and will sing and dance along on a night out – but I don’t own any of her albums, only know a couple of her biggest singles and have never seen a video. I’m here because I love to dance! It’s not a requirement, but if you are a mega fan you’ll love that everything – from the warm-up to the cool down was choreographed to a Beyonce song. This really helped to set the stage; even the little that I know about Beyonce was enough to help me get into character. We all became dancing, strutting Diva’s.
The warm-up led to a ‘technique’ sequence. We learned how to sell each move and focus on ‘isolations’ – working one area, keeping the rest of the body still. From a choreography perspective, these isolations accentuate each movement – whether it’s on the hips, the shoulders, the chest. This isn’t wildly throwing shapes on the dance floor – this is ‘working it’. From a fitness point of view – these movements TONE! And what muscles help isolate just the hips or just the ribcage – the ABS! Yes ladies, the Beyonce moves will give you a core workout without the crunches or sit-ups.
Once we nailed the basic moves, it was routine time. The 2 hour Bey Dance workshops are offered each weekend of August on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 10am. Each day you’ll learn a different routine. You can just go to one class, or, if you go all 4 days you’ll learn a full Beyonce Medley. For my Sunday session we learned routines for 2 songs of the medley, ‘Run the World (Girls)’ and Grown Woman.
Liz started without music, teaching us a small part of the sequence over and over til we got it right. Most dance based fitness classes are focused on the workout so as long as you keep moving, it doesn’t matter if you don’t get moves right. This felt like a real dance class!
I love getting a workout but I really enjoyed learning the moves, taking the time to get it right, to master a new technique and increase my repertoire for the next night out :D. Just when I thought I was earning my ‘Diva’ badge, Liz started the music.
Are we ready for a run though? Last chance to ask questions…
Oh my gosh….the song was so fast!! Technique flew out the window as I frantically tried to move in time to the music, hip-hip, shoulder-shoulder, turn…. A simultaneous burst of giggles let me know that we were all in the same boat! Liz assured us we were doing great and slowed it down – counting us through a couple more times and counting us through the music. Wow! That time wasn’t so bad. We’re really getting it! With each repetition Liz added in couple more steps. Sometimes with music, sometimes without, sometimes doing it with us, sometimes letting us go it alone; most of the time with fits of giggles.
The 2 hours flew by and soon it was time to run through from the top – and this time we were being videoed!
If you want to learn to dance like a Diva with an amazing teacher – then hurry up and get yourself to Bey Dance while Liz is still here!! You’ve got until the 24th of August 2014. You don’t need to be super fit or flexible to learn these fun, funky, sexy moves. All you need is comfy clothes, shoes you can dance in (I recommend trainers or dance workout shoes) and the desire to let go and unleash your inner Diva. If you’re reading this after August 2014 – don’t despair! Every year I’ll make it my duty to go through the fringe guide; page by page, entry by entry and find more fun ways to get fit at the Fringe!!