The viewers of Evening Magazine had 131 choices for Western Washington’s best fitness instructor of 2012, but Sheree James and her team at Shake It Off Dance Fitness came out on top. It’s no surprise, considering the staff turns dance fitness into full-on festivals of fitness, spurring on rooms full of exercisers through Latin-inspired Zumba dance classes, as well as hip-hop and urban striptease aerobics. It’s not all about cardio at Shake It Off, though; instructors also lead Zumba toning, during which students shimmy and shake while holding a weighted bar or a maraca made of cement so that they simultaneously forge muscles.
At Zumba Woodinville, feet move, hips shake, and heads bob as Latin tunes and upbeat music fuel dance-inspired fitness classes. Zumba Woodinville’s certified instructors—who are also amateur or professional dancers—design each dance combination to burn calories, which can help clients lose weight and sculpt their bods. The moves also help tone muscles, improve flexibility, and boost coordination.
The instructors at Harp Health & Fitness work to help their students burn fat and increase muscle strength during each boot-camp class. After an initial assessment, the instructors guide students in proper form during resistance, cardio, and speed and agility training. For best results, the staff members recommend a nutrition plan for each student to follow during boot camp.
Students at Balance Yoga Studio can bolster mind-body connections during yoga lessons such as the pose-centric Hatha. Drawing from a sextet of core tenets that includes mindfulness, empowerment, and community, the founders and their team of instructors have earned the distinction as Best Yoga Studio from Woodinville KOMO News. The founders emphasize acceptance as one of their studio's most important values and helm a universally accessible class lineup with sessions that may involve props or limbering 85-degree heat. During certain classes, they may meld traditional movements with more modern exercise practices, such as syncing movements to music or reinventing the tree pose as the cellular-tower pose.
Honed by a minimum of 200 hours of yoga teacher training, plus 300 hours of hands-only walking, the seasoned instructors’ expertise ensures that students stretch safely during group courses, workshops, and private lessons.
Kickboxing classes deliver a knee to the face of fat, burning up to 860 calories an hour with the high-energy striking moves of martial arts and boxing. All four limbs get in on the bag-bludgeoning action at iLoveKickboxing as each class provides a full-body workout that tones arm, leg, and tentacle muscles while tightening the body’s core and improving balance. Hitting the heavy bags won't skin your knuckles once you don the included boxing gloves, which also double as excellent spring-loaded props for re-creating Three Stooges gags. Class times and dates vary based on each location: Woodinville, Seattle, Gig Harbor, Puyallup and Lacey.
On Tuesday evenings, members of the Woodinville Square Crows convene to do-si-do the evening away. Founded as a non-profit dedicated to spreading the fellowship of square dancing one call at a time, the club stages its welcoming dances in a quaint studio with wooden walls, wooden floors, and white draperies on the windows. The crowd is typically multigenerational, and the mood is lighthearted as partners spin through the social dance. Organized into "squares" of four couples each, dancers follow the whims of the caller, who choreographs the dance on the fly by calling out the names of simple dance moves to form ever-shifting formations and patterns. Emphasizing cooperation and attentiveness over foot placement and weight shifting, each dance is the unique product of its participants camaraderie and creativity; in fact, no two are alike.
The club sponsors a 16-week program of lessons, with the first eight weeks dedicated to basic moves and the second eight weeks dedicated to linking those moves with additional connecting moves. In addition, the Woodinville Square Crows also spread the love of the dancing with parties held on the first and third Friday of each month, and even organize caravans to the dances hosted by other area clubs to foster fellowship in the larger square dance community.