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Summer is near and the skirts will get shorter and more skin will be showing. How are you getting ready for skin showing weather?

For me, working out can sometimes seem like a hassle…a chore. I was craving a change and something different. When I discovered that Alvin Ailey offers “real classes for real people,” via The Ailey Extension, I was slightly skeptical. I’m no award winning dancer, I mean, I have a good body roll in me, but nothing that would place me on a stage for thousands of people to watch. I was a little nervous to take a dance class at one of the most exclusive and prestigious dance theaters’ in the world.

My nerves were relaxed the minute the class began. I took a sampler class, allowing me to experience three classes in one. Our Hello Beautiful Staff Writer, Keyaira Kelly, came along for the dance fun. Before class she had an apple while I indulged in a granola bar so we could have energy for what was to come.

And oh boy would we need that energy.

We started with a samba class learning moves rooted in the Afro-Brazilian culture. It was a high energy workout, where I got to shake my hips to the beat of live drums. The beginner class focused on samba from Rio de Janeiro and Bahia. It was taught by Quenia Ribeiro, a native of Rio de Janeiro who has danced and taught various forms of Brazilian dance for over 25 years. “Shake your hips,” she yelled and smiled over the drums. I shook them like the rent was due tomorrow. Out of all the sample classes I would take, this was the most manageable for my beginner self.

The Ailey Extension

Source: Kyle Froman / The Ailey Extension

We then moved on to West African dance. This music also was to live drums and you could feel the energy the minute you began. The instructor choreographed a West African dance and broke it down for us over the time period. I felt the high-spirited and energy from the room as I lifted my hands in the air and repeated words from the native language of my instructor. Within 10 minutes, I was tired. However, because I was in a class full of people, I get moving. This is what I love about group workouts, they motivate you to refrain from your laziness.

The Ailey Extension

Source: Joe Epstein / The Ailey Extension

We ended with Kukuwa, an African dance workout. This is a 60-minute class founded by Cassandra Nuamah‘s Ghanian-born mother, Kukuwa Nuamah.

The Ailey Extension

Source: Raul Brown / The Ailey Extension

Want that strong looking body? Take this class. The class features high-energy songs and dance moves that take students throughout various countries in Africa. Keyaira knew several of the song and happily sang along as she flailed her hands and hips all over. This class, while welcoming, is not for the rhythmically challenged.

The Ailey Extension

Source: Raul Brown / The Ailey Extension

Surprisingly, I woke up the next day with that good workout ache. I didn’t even realize when my body was working so hard! I enjoyed the dance class and would definitely take one again.

Alvin Ailey Dance Class

Source: Alvin Ailey / Courtesy of CoachCassFIt Instagram

Beauties, for those of you based in New York City, I recommend taking a class alone or with a friend as a form of exercise or to shake up your workout routine. If you are in a plateau, this is definitely a great (and fun) way to escape.

Believe it or not, the classes are reasonably priced (as of May 2016):

Single class: $20 for regular, $18.50 for professors and seniors

5-class card (valid for 2 months): $87.50 for regular, $85.00 for professors and seniors.

The Ailey Extension also offer 10-class and 20-class cards.

There are also other ways to get classes. The Ailey Extension and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater announced the return of Ticket To Dance in conjunction with Ailey’s Lincoln Center season (June 8-19). Ticket To Dance allows audience members to try their first Ailey Extension class FREE with a performance ticket stub (returning students receive a free class if they buy 10).

NYC Dance Week is June 16th – June 25th, 2016 and in celebration of the joy and diversity of dance, The Ailey Extension will offer FREE classes each day for new students. How exciting! For more information, visit

They say summer bodies are made in the Winter, but after this dance class, summer bodies are definitely made at the Ailey Extension.


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TRIED IT!: African Dance Class At Alvin Ailey Extension  was originally published on