AKTInMotion is one of the big players in the NYC dance cardio scene, up alongside Body By Simone and, arguably, Tracy Anderson. It was founded by celebrity trainer Anna Kaiser, who touts clients such as Kelly Ripa (who also loves Physique 57, so you know my girl has good taste) and Shakira (those hips don’t lie, y’all!). AKT has two NYC locations – NoMad and Upper East Side – along with a presence in New Canaan, the Hamptons, and Los Angeles. Classes have fun names that will make you question if you signed up for the gym or an orgy (AKTease, 4Play, S&M (Sweat & Mirrors)), as well as an all-sculpting class (AKTone) and their signature dance cardio class, Happy Hour.
UES studio entrance.
Because I live nearby and am lazy, I took class at the Upper East Side location. The studio is located on the 4th floor of a building with a really slow elevator, but once you emerge, you’ll be in boutique fitness heaven. This studio boasts a lounge with magazines and fruit-infused water, locker rooms with showers, two classrooms, and a boutique where you can stock up on $85 t shirts with holes in them.
Help me, I’m poor.
Fully stocked locker room with showers.
The classrooms are dark and club-like and the main studio has a disco ball, which I only discovered at the end of class when the teacher turned it on and I thought I was having a seizure.
My instructor Jamie was energetic and friendly, but not in the overbearing, Disney-princess way that you’ll see at some other studios, which was nice. She came to class in sweatpants, a t-shirt and cool sneakers, aka traditional Broadway Dance Center hip hop garb. Side note – I really don’t understand how dancers dance in sweatpants. I’m in the studio’s lounge area in a tank top, sweating, and we haven’t even worked out yet. Why are you guys dressed to look hip during a blizzard? Anyway, I digress–Jamie was awesome and provided explanations of moves, as well as some adjustments during the toning section of class. Also, quick shout out to the front desk girl whose name I forgot, because she was probably the friendliest person I’ve met in NYC to date.
I took Happy Hour, the studio’s all-levels dance cardio class. We started off with an easy combination to warm up, then learned a few 8-counts’ worth of material for our first cardio session. The class is broken down between alternating cardio and toning sections with a new dance combo in each cardio session. The moves were easy to pick up, yet not overly simple–they had a bit more of a hip-hop flair than some other classes I’d attended. The toning sections of class were ok, but they weren’t particularly challenging, in my opinion. Overall, this was a really fun class, but I’ve definitely taken more challenging classes at competitors’ studios. I’ll need to try their interval training class or their dance/interval hybrid to see if those are more challenging.
**UPDATE – Perhaps I had an off-day for my initial review, because I took another Happy Hour class and got a great sweat! The toning sections were harder, as was the cardio series. Dance routines change every couple of weeks, so if you’re not wild about the routine, come back later that month.
AKT has an air of exclusivity about it, but the teachers and staff are definitely approachable. It was hard to gauge the client base because my class only had 4 students in it (I found this odd at 6:15pm on a Tuesday…), but with a monthly fee that will cost you almost half a grand, I’m sure there’s a bunch of uppity moms taking classes at 10am on weekdays. Everyone I met was nice and down-to-earth, though!
As noted, a monthly membership fee here (UES only–no NoMad for you!) will run you $475, which is the most expensive of ANY studio I’ve seen in NYC so far. If you can afford that, congrats, I begrudgingly celebrate you. For us povos, single classes are $37 (on the high end of boutique fitness prices) but they run an intro 2-for-1 special. Sadly, AKT is not on Classpass, so after my second class I will not be returning unless someone would like to sponsor me, as they would a foreign exchange student, except instead of leaving the country I’m leaving my walk-up apartment to venture 5 blocks uptown.