I was invited by MoveStudio in North Dallas to drop by and check out a few complimentary classes. As an avid gym rat, I thought this would be a great opportunity to explore different avenues of fitness and expand my horizon. Over a 2 month period, I attended classes I would otherwise never try. This would be a great way to get out of my comfort zone, stay open-minded about the possibilities and talk about my experiences.
Typically, I prefer to workout alone or with my trainer because I can go at a pace I am comfortable with. The alone time is also therapeutic in relieving stress and for the most part, I am in the zone. No interruptions. I also have a terrifying fear of learning choreography for dance classes. I would be so in my head about how I looked and that has kept me from joining any classes. Dance classes and even video games like Dance Central always made me so self conscious I never really wanted to try it again.
The first class I attended was a sampler class one Saturday afternoon. I brought my friend Claire so we could both talk about our experiences. I’ve only attended a handful of yoga or dance classes in my entire life and she regularly attends pilates and has the whole group class thing down. Two perspectives is always better than one.
This class offered 3 different segments featuring different movements within the hour: Nia, Ecstatic Dance, and Yoga. I’ve never heard about Nia or Ecstatic dance and wasn’t sure what to expect, but I thought this combo class would be a great way to dip my toes into multiple things and get a better idea of what was right for me. It was a pupu platter of movements and was a great way for me to learn about the studio and the instructors who taught there.
First Impression: Before getting to the studio, I perused their website which offers a very impressive list of classes. It was so hard to pick which one to try out first. Once I arrived at Move Studio, my first impression of the studio was that it didn’t look as modern or sleek as some newer studios, but it was deceivingly big and definitely very clean. It had a very hippie-zen feel to it. The staff are all very sweet and overall, the class was fun and relaxed. Here’s what I thought about each segment:
Nia Segment: Nia, pronounced nee-ah, was the first segment taught by Jules. She’s been a teacher for about 30 years and she was very enthusiastic. I could tell she really loved and believed in what she was teaching. She described Nia as a movement of healing and becoming more in-tune with your body and mind. For 20 minutes, she guided us through different choreographed movements to get our heart rates up and mixed in a minute or two where we would just dance freely. The segment isn’t intense cardio. At least for me, I wasn’t out of breath and the other participants seemed to be keeping up just fine. I felt that I kept up with the pace and movements decently for someone who is very uncoordinated. There were a few parts that felt fast and it was hard to get to my inner zen while worrying about trying to keep up and trying to mirror the moves. At the end, I wasn’t sure how I felt about Nia. Would I try it again? Maybe. I have to admit, for a while I did feel silly.
Ecstatic Dance is all about dancing to your own tune. The transition from Nia to Ecstatic was perfect. I thought those two movements go very well together because ecstatic is pretty much free form dancing. Do what you want. Sounds terrifying right? I think to explain to someone what ecstatic dance is won’t do it much justice. This was actually my favorite part of the class. I think Nia just helped me face my own uncertainty about group classes and dance. At this point, I would prefer free form dancing to learning movements. There was less pressure so conform and once I let go of my own judgements, I started dancing. Once I got into it, I forgot everyone in the room was there and just swayed to the cool soft tunes. I wasn’t thinking about anyone else and I’m pretty sure they weren’t thinking about me.
The cool part was that I realized how very stiff my normal routine is. I sit all day at a desk and when I am lazy I assume the couch potato position and watch TV. I don’t get to just stretch out and move and jump around as if I was ten. This was a very liberating segment. It also very much reminded me of those scenes in Grey’s Anatomy when Meredith and Christina would have their dance parties, sometimes to music and sometimes not. Don’t think, just dance was what I took away from this segment. If you ever want to tap into your 10 year-old self, definitely check this out. There’s no judgement and I think that’s what makes this class special.
Yoga: We ended the class with about 15 minutes of yoga. This would be my third experience with yoga. I don’t know much about it and I always struggled with understanding what it was about yoga that appealed to so many people. Tifany, who lead the last segment is a pro. She has been teaching yoga for over a decade and she stretched us out and relaxed us at a nice steady pace. She actually used to be a software engineer before making the jump to become an instructor. How cool is that?!
One excuse I used to always make to avoid yoga was that I never thought I was flexible enough and I wasn’t sure what kind of workout you would get from stretching. Yoga is slowly growing on me and it was fun learning some new stretches/movements I can use when I want to stretch after a hard workout. By the end of class, I felt perfectly relaxed and ready for nap time.
How much does it cost?: The studio has been open for over a decade and hosts 50 different classes a week. New student trials are $25 for unlimited classes for a week. Drop-in classes are only $15 and you can check the schedule here if you don’t want a full membership. You can pay as you go with no contracts and can choose between purchasing 6, 12, or 24 class pass packages or unlimited monthly memberships. From beginner classes to workshops and series, there’s something for everyone to choose from. If you sign up for their newsletter, they also send out special promotions and coupons you can take advantage of.
The Takeaway: This was a special class that is offered a few times a year, so getting a chance to check out multiple offerings was great. For classes such as Nia and Ecstatic dance, you have to keep an open mind when trying them out to enjoy it. It’s easy to leave those classes feeling silly, but if you can let go of any pre-judgements it can be liberating. Up next, I’ll be checking out other classes such as belly dancing, Zumba, and yoga. So stick around for future blogs about my experience.