May 2, 2014— -- A dance fitness workout that started with a class in Berkeley has moved east. And south. And if its plans for expansion pan out, to a city near you very soon.
It's called BollyX, and it's a cardio workout that draws from the music and dance of Bollywood, the film industry of India. And it's poised to give Zumba a run for its money.
"It's totally bad ass," said the president and co-founder, Minal Mehta. "One 50-minute BollyX session will burn about 500 – 800 calories."
Mehta, a small but very fit woman, is filled with an upbeat energy could inspire almost anyone to take her class. So I did.
Bollyx came to New York City earlier this year, and it's rapidly expanding. Classes are offered in Boston, New York, Richmond, Va., San Francisco and Chicago. Immediate expansion includes Philadelphia, Los Angeles and New Jersey.
I wasn't the only first-timer in class, though I was likely the least coordinated. The class involves Bollywood-inspired dance moves combined with alternating high-and-low-intensity training intervals. As soon as the class began, Mehta jumped right into a rigorous, 10-minute sequence of dancing, lunging and jumping. Each section of class ends with a pose, much the way Bollywood dancing does. It's one of the many ways the instructors encourage attendants to "unleash their inner rock star."
Lisa, a first-time attendee from Staten Island, said she was invited to the class by a friend. She's a breast cancer survivor looking for ways to get her strength back. Zumba's her go-to, but she said BollyX is "much more of a workout. It's much more energetic, much more fun, much more body movement."
I, too, have tried Zumba, and agree BollyX was much more challenging, both in the intensity and the dance moves.
"We find people with no dance background will come into class and pick up moves that we do and then progress to the level of getting a full workout," said Mehta.
One woman liked the class so much she decided to become an instructor. "I first took it January," said Sarah Grimaud, a new instructor. "I fell in love, it's so uplifting and happy, I had to get certified to teach it."
And despite being challenging, every first-timer I asked said they'd be back for more, which is exactly what Mehta predicted they'd say when I asked her about it before class even started.
“Bollyx encourages you to get back into fitness, we make it really fun for you. You come to class, get a really effective cardio workout and you’ll feel like a rock star doing it and want to come back for more."