I’ll cut to the chase: DanceBody is my favorite dance cardio class in NYC. They offer the best cardio workout and their routines have more intricate choreography than most of the other classes in the city, so you’ll feel like a Knicks dancer while you exercise. There is definitely a learning curve, but once you’ve been to a few classes, you’ll get the hang of the routines and you’ll be hooked. DanceBody offers multiple class levels, so anyone who wants to dance can get their groove on.
DanceBody cardio classes start with a brief warm-up and then about 40 minutes of choreography. The choreography is a mix of jump-y moves designed to get your heart rate up, more traditional athletic moves such as burpees and tricep dips, and the occasional slower, sexy, hip-hop song to cool down a bit but still work it. Class ends with about 15-20 minutes of toning. Of all the dance cardio classes I’ve taken in NYC, I consistently leave this class the sweatiest and most exhausted–expect a tough but fun cardio blast! The studio also offers all-sculpting classes if that’s more your jam–think low weight and high reps, lots of arm work with bands and light weights, leg lifts for days, and lots of core work.
Because the DanceBody choreography is fairly intricate, the studio offers different levels of classes, which is great. DanceBody Open is definitely the most similar to other dance cardio classes in the city–moves repeat a fair amount on both sides. DanceBody Full Out has more intricate choreography. Don’t make the mistake I did and sign up for this class first, unless you’re, like, Jenna Dewan-Tatum or something.
For you non-dancers, have no fear–the studio’s “Breakdown” class is just what it sounds like–it breaks down a couple of the dances so you’ll actually know the choreography for your next class. New dances are introduced every two months, so if you don’t nail it the first few times, you can come back and try the same dances again. For those who came to dance and not think, DanceBody’s newest class, Follow Along, has the same cardio as Open or Full Out but with steps that are super easy to follow (no choreography here!).
expect lots of jumping!
Like many dance classes in NYC, DanceBody is held in rented spaces across the city rather than at their own space. They currently hold classes primarily in Tribeca, but also in Noho, Upper East, Union Square (at The Movement), and midtown.
I’ve been to the Tribeca, midtown, and Noho locations and they’re your typical city dance studio – nothing fancy. The Tribeca studio is on floor 5 of a walk-up building, so you’ll definitely be warmed up by the time you get to class. The studios generally don’t have locker rooms or showers, so it’s hard to take a class before work unless you live near the studio . Also, only the Tribeca studio has DanceBody’s equipment (weights, mats, etc.), so unless you’re taking class there, the sculpting portion of your class will be done with fold-up chairs (tricep dips, planks, leg lifts using the chair for balance, etc.).
For me, the workout itself is more important than the studio space, so this isn’t a big issue. However, I do think DanceBody should lower their prices a bit since students aren’t getting showers, towels, lockers, or even strength training equipment at some locations. I’ve heard they’re in the process of getting a permanent space, though, and I can’t wait!
The instructors at DanceBody have crazy energy and do the dances with you, making it easy to follow along. Occasionally, they’ll yell cues to help out, but don’t expect constant verbal instruction throughout class. Teachers will sometimes walk around and make adjustments during the sculpting portion of class, which is helpful. However, what really makes the instructors stand out is their approachability. I’ve chatted with most of them before or after class and they’re all so friendly and helpful. Katia, the creator, is basically a dance goddess, Julia and Rachel are super friendly and welcoming, and there’s no way you won’t have fun in class with Shiloh or Courtnay.
My friends and I also look this good when we dance.
If you’ve been to other dance cardio studios in NYC, you know that the crowd can sometimes be a little…snooty. This is not the case at all at DanceBody. Everyone here is so down to earth, from the teachers to the students. I’ve chatted with other students before class, which is something I rarely feel comfortable doing at most of the NYC studios. Some students wear fancy workout clothes, but many others don’t (though I will note that a bunch of people dance in just sports bras here!)
The studio runs a “new dancer” package with 5 classes for $100, but after that, drop-ins are $35.
Overall, this is easily my favorite dance cardio class in Manhattan–DanceBody has the best choreography and teachers with the least pretension. That said, I do think the price tag is a bit steep for the no-frills locations and lack of amenities. I’d recommend trying the new dancer package (you’ll need to come to a few classes to get the hang of it). Don’t get discouraged if you can’t get the moves down in the first few classes–keep coming back, and once you pick up the choreography, you’ll be hooked. I know I am!