Hitting the gym can feel like a chore, but what if your workout felt like pure joy? My search for something different led me right to Brukwine, the Caribbean-inspired dance workout that may be popping up at studios near you.
ESSENCE had the rate opportunity to take a private dance class with Brukwine co-founder Autavia Bailey, and here’s how it all went down.
The dancehall-influenced cardio class was started in 2012 by professional dancers Autavia Bailey and Tamara Bradshaw (both have worked with the likes Sean Paul, Rihanna and Missy Elliott). The two added pumps to the mix while teaching a dancehall session in Taiwan and then put the new class on the roster at their headquarters in New York City. The concept quickly caught on, and now their Brukwine franchise has expanded to fitness centers in Philadelphia, Houston and Long Island, New York. But don’t be fooled by the booty shorts and twerking. The routine is hard work. “We’ve had people who burn up to 1,100 calories,” says Bailey. “We put a lot of thought into our moves and how we structure our class so that it’s an effective workout.”
I felt a sense of community when I arrived at Bailey and Bradshaw’s Midtown Manhattan location. My classmates were a diverse bunch of #brukwinenation diehards and rookies like me, but we instantly bonded during the high-intensity hour. The instructors encourage students to bring heels, but I played it safe with my trusty sneakers. First there is a warm-up and stretch to a playlist of reggae favorites. We learned a sexy number that required us to “Bruk’ it down” to the floor. All the moves are connected to the core, and those deep-squat twerks will make your thighs feel the burn. As the room temperature increased, so did our sweat levels. “We want that intensity,” says Bradshaw. “The heat also helps your muscles.”
You may be sore the next day, but the calories burned and the “Brukwiner” fellowship are well worth it. I’m already plotting my return—this time with heels in hand!
Catch the ESSENCE team twerking in out with Brukwine in the video below.
What To Know Before You Go
1. Get There Early: The classes fill up quickly, so grab yourself a good spot and stretch about 10 minutes prior to the start time.
2. Bring Sturdy Heels: Sneaker wedges and booties are acceptable, too. No mules or thin straps, ladies!
3. Plan To Sweat: The dance studio gets hot pretty fast, and you will work up a sweat! Stay hydrated and wear light, breathable clothing.Share :