Ma'Keba K. Spicer is doing what she loves. By leading pole-dancing classes, the owner of Vertical Venus Pole Fitness has combined her penchant for nonconformist self-expression with a liberating and alluring fitness form. In her recently opened, lounge-like studio, Spicer teaches spins, shimmies, and twirls around the pole to the beats of radio hits. Her sessions include both choreographed and freestyle moves, inspiring creativity and confidence in her students while simultaneously encouraging them to express themselves or their fireman persona as they slide down the pole.
"You chart your fitness course. We'll be the compass." That's how the team at Fit X think of their roles in clients' fitness journeys. Group classes abound, manned by teachers who guide Pilates and Zumba workouts. But with an arsenal of exercise equipment available to them, Fit X gymgoers are just as likely to devise their own workout regimens. Whether enjoying a supportive group environment or jogging on a treadmill in blissful solitude, clients retain control over their own experiences.
Like any factory, NJ Fitness Factory demands hard work. Unlike other factories, though, the fitness studio features the supportive and encouraging words of co-owners Marc Ronches and Russ Teitsma. Their voices can be heard during one-on-one personal training sessions as well as small group training sessions.
The dedicated instructors at Afro Brazilian Cultural Center of New Jersey see capoeira as more than a blend of dance and martial arts—they see it as a way of life. They train children and adults of all ages in capoeira's graceful movements through classes, therapy sessions, and afterschool programs, many of the instructors drawing from extensive training in Brazil and an understanding of Brazilian folklore and culture. But their instruction doesn’t end at capoeira—many of the Cultural Center's coaches specialize in disciplines including yoga, Zumba, salsa, and West African dance. Though many of the instructors were born and raised in New Jersey, others hail from places such as Guinea and Senegal and infuse their culture into their teaching style. The instructors hold classes at least once a week and more frequently for students preparing to dance-battle chaperones for control of the prom.
Sifu Ron LePree helps students of all levels learn to defend themselves with the Chinese martial art of wing chun kung fu. He trained in the United States, Germany, and Hong Kong, studying under the son of Grandmaster Ip Man?a notable wing chun instructor who taught Bruce Lee?as well as other experts in the field. In his classes, LePree teaches the fundamental tenets and moves of wing chun kung fu. He believes that a strong foundation is vital and builds on that structure during each class, introducing students to drills and interactions with an emphasis on mindfulness and concentration.
Wailing away on person-sized punching bags, glove-wearing kick-boxers sweat and focus. Instructors weave between this forest of flying fists and furrowed brows, guiding boxers with technical feedback and a creative take onsport. Kickboxing in a group setting, say trainers, "encourages participants to push themselves by working harder." The result of this hard work is toned muscles, increased confidence, and a background in self-defense, along with pet punching bag that follows its exerciser home.