Fitness and Fun with BollyX at Capezio’s NYC Store

  • September 9, 2016
  • by Kathryn Boland

It’s safe to say that a majority of highly trained, highly dedicated dancers in the Western world are bunheads or contemporary dancers. There’s really a whole world of dance out there, however – quite literally speaking. Exposure to cultural dance forms can broaden dancers’ worldviews, enhance performance skills, and even offer a great workout! BollyX, a dance fitness form based on South Asian and Bollywood dance vocabulary, offers all that and more. Capezio’s 51st Street NYC flagship store recently hosted a BollyX class in a series of alternative dance fitness classes (also including a Conditioning class from Valerie Bongiorno).

Why should Capezio choose BollyX as a class offering? Shalil Halil, lead teacher for the class and BollyX co-founder/CEO, explains that “BollyX is good for dancers because it’s a great way to stay active…but also because Bollywood as a genre of dance is heavily centered on performance elements. Becoming well-versed in expression and building the confidence to step outside of one’s comfort zone – no matter the environment – is a hugely valuable skill for dancers to add to their Rolodex.”

Clara Ma, an assistant teacher for the Capezio class and BollyX creative solutions manager, adds, “BollyX is a great way to bring cardio into your exercise regime.” That’s important for dancers, as cardiovascular endurance is important for optimal performance – yet traditional dance training and rehearsal formats don’t always build it. Dance fitness experts agree that dancers need cardiovascular cross-training to dance at their best.

BollyXAnd those tagging along to the Capezio store who aren’t dancers (siblings, parents, friends, significant others or even curious passers-by) – why might the class be valuable for them? Ma explains that the dance form “offers an approachable way to have fun while working out”. She concedes that “being in a dance class for the first time can be intimidating”, but BollyX choreography is “taught in a repetitive manner – the footwork is introduced, then the arm choreography is layered in. It allows all participants to develop the coordination and movement patterns, over time, to become proficient at South Asian style dancing.”

Ma goes on to describe how a typical BollyX is structured with warm-up sequences to start, followed by alternating high and lower intensity dance sequences. The lower intensity sections allow for rest from the high intensity sequences – which offer effective cardio exercise, muscle-toning and significant calorie burning (between 500-800 calories per 50-minute session, says Halil). Even so, “participants can’t help but beam and smile as they learn new movements [and] are affected by the infectious music,” Ma adds. That contributes to the realization of BollyX’s “mantra”, as Halil names it, to “unleash your inner rockstar”. Dancer or not, all people can benefit from such energetic self-confidence, and the amazing whole-body workout can’t hurt!

The two teachers agree that the Capezio store was a great place to share the form. Ma describes her favorite part as when a very young dancer was shopping with her mother and couldn’t help jumping and dancing with the class. “At the end of the class, even though her mom had the shopping done and was ready to go, she wanted to dance with us one more time and had the biggest smile on her face while doing so!” she recounts. Halil loved how it was a class setting with dancers all around, “smiling as they watch you dance, jump in and cheer us on…all of these things combine[d] to deliver a great experience for [the] students.” Ma describes that “Capezio was awesome to work with”, with clear communication and gracious with an opportunity to “reach a demographic we wouldn’t otherwise have reached”, says Ma.

She goes on to describe how it can be difficult to fit dancing into a nine-to-five job life. BollyX, however, can be a way to maintain that by making it one’s exercise regimen (or at least part of it). Ma hopes that “[my colleagues and I] were able to bring a new element of dance as a workout to patrons of the store, as well as show others that dance can be a part of your life, whether it be taking a [technique] class or a workout that gets you moving!”

It appears as if Capezio is nurturing that idea of dance as something for all people, the world over, and not just Western concert dancers. Because, truly, there’s a whole world of dance out there.

Visit this link to learn more about BollyX.

Article produced by Dance Informa. 

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