Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Berkshire Fitness Scene : Just Jhoom!

It's been some time since I've tried a new activity locally but Just Jhoom! has been on my list for some time. Just Jhoom! (meaning "just dance" in Hindi) is a Bollywood-inspired dance fitness class, which brings together aerobics and mindful movement, drawing on a range of dance styles from Indian classical dance to Bhangra. I would say that it is to Indian dance what Zumba is to Latin styles - a fun and friendly class that makes a dance style accessible.

I love the dance scenes in Bollywood movies and have even had a go at dancing at the wedding celebrations of a friend of mine in India. I certainly felt the part on that occasion in my bangles and henna. On this occasion though, I dusted off my dance trainers and took myself to Yateley School for a Just Jhoom! taster session.
Been a while since I got to wear these!
Annabel, our teacher, gave us a little background info on the class and what to expect before showing us some of the hand positions that we would use in the routines. Arm and hand movements are part of what give the Bollywood dancing it's elegance and help to tell the story, so we were encouraged to try to incorporate these if we felt we could.

After a gentle warm up we started to learn some routines. We covered around seven routines during the class, each set to a different Bollywood track and none too complicated. Annabel would show us the movements we'd be using before each one and gave us the opportunity to practice before we put moves to music for real. The most memorable track and routine was probably a sort of Indian version of the Macarena! It's very hard not to smile when you're dancing to the music, even if you're mixing up "lotus" and "bee" hands, it's so uplifting!

The class was friendly, low impact and a lot of fun. You certainly don't need to have any dance experience to get involved, just some comfy clothes and footwear that you can move about in. I could have put a bit more effort in if I'd wanted to but I just enjoyed moving my body and trying a new dance style.
The Jhoomers demonstrating "bee" hands
Annabel runs the classes as courses of six, other instructors run them as blocks of ten and some locations offer pay as you go. There are plenty around so if this is something you would like to try then just head to the Class Finder section of the Just Jhoom website to find your nearest class.

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