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Philly Dance Fitness Turns Up the Heat with Unique Cardio Mash-Ups

By Marina Jokic

With more than 50 classes on their weekly schedule offered in over 20 modalities, Philly Dance Fitness is one of the leading dance fitness studios in Philadelphia. Founder of the studio and long-time dance instructor Deborah Hirsch set out on a mission to find students who shared her love of dance but were also seeking an element of fitness in addition to technique. Hirsch loved teaching fitness at gyms but wanted to do more by building a community around dance. Founding her own studio was the logical next step.

"She held her first Philly Dance Fitness classes in a local [recreation] center room with a broken mirror, sometimes lugging her own mop to clean the floors," director of marketing at Philly Dance Fitness Gabby Bill said. "As word got out about the company, she began to hire more instructors and teach at other locations; [today,] nearly eight years later, we've got about 25 instructors teaching more than 50 classes [per] week at four studios around the city."

The Rittenhouse location on South Street, which was the inaugural dance studio Hirsch rented after the recreation center, remains their flagship location. The studio also offers classes in south and midtown Philadelphia and their newest, in Fairmount. With a steadily expanding network of students, Philly Dance Fitness is breaking the mold of traditional aerobics by integrating a non-traditional form of exercise and ramping it up.

"Whenever we get caught up with logistical challenges or worry that our services might be considered trivial or non-essential, we think about how many people we've brought together through dance," Bill said. "Some of them have made lifelong friends, some have powered through serious fitness goals, [and] some have fulfilled childhood dreams of learning ballet long after they thought that would be possible."

Hirsch wants her studio to be an intimidation-free environment where students of all backgrounds and levels of experience learn at their own pace. The classes at Philly Dance Fitness provide a great workout without undue emphasis on dance techniques. If you are searching for a class specifically designed to teach different dance styles, this studio isn't the answer. However, if you want to have a "sweaty good time," then pay Philly Dance Fitness a visit, encourages Bill.

"Dance Party Boot Camp is one of our signature programs and my personal favorite," Bill said. "It's a high-intensity interval training program and perhaps the most intense class that we offer. Think lots of kicks, jumps, and squats mixed in with energetic top 40 music and fun dance moves."

For example, some instructors may incorporate equipment like hand weights or resistance bands while others focus on bodyweight exercises. And they all craft unique playlists, using music to pump up their students - and hopefully distract them from how hard they're working.

To learn more visit phillydancefitness.com/.

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About The Author

Marina Jokic holds a bachelor's degree from Connecticut College in Russian and East...

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