Photo Credit: lesmills.com
With a new year right around the corner, I’ve had my eyes open for ways to incorporate more dance into my workouts. I recently discovered that actress, and fitness enthusiast, Nina Dobrev, has been a longtime lover of Les Mills fitness classes, specifically the BODYJAM class. She even teamed up with Les Mills last year for the Reebok X Les Mills BODYJAM collaboration, which turned a lot of people onto this specific dance aerobic workout. I was attracted to this particular program because it's a free 40-minute workout available online and created by both Les Mills program director Gandalf Archer Mills and Dobrev. It is mostly a hip-hop based dance class that appeals to dancers of all abilities, but it only scratches the surface as to what Les Mills offers people in terms of transforming the way they look at fitness.
Mills has spent decades choreographing dance and collaborating with some of the best dancers and choreographers in the industry. For his collaboration with Dobrev, they created a unique BODYJAM routine. First, Mills worked through the music of the workout and some core choreography. Then, he met with Dobrev and others to go through the choreography without music before they went through the whole routine full out. Dobrev picked up the choreography fast and immediately fell in love with the concept. Her influence came through as she tweaked some moves to suit her own style, adding more of a freestyle flavor to the choreography.
I found this BODYJAM workout was a good way to dip my toe into the Les Mills fitness community. As mentioned, it's only is 40 minutes and is basically one big, long dance routine. The core of the moves are hip-hop based, but the music throughout the routine includes all kinds of genres that perfectly vibe with the choreography. The more you do the workout the more you get hooked! The choreography includes jump turns, arm combinations, popping, and some fun 80’s dance moves. According to Mills, this routine's large movements performed at a high speed across many dance styles is what makes it a classic BODYJAM routine. Basically, it makes you feel like you are having fun just dancing with your friends in the comfort of your own home!
In an article from PopSugar, Dobrev called BODYJAM more of a hip-hop, pop dance class where any person of any dance level can jump into it and have fun. Instructors break down the moves slowly from the beginning to allow everyone to catch on. Even though Dobrev is in extremely good shape, she still can get intimidated when going to dance classes, especially when she goes with her best friend, Julianne Hough. "I definitely make sure to never stand next to Julianne in a dance class. I'll always look like an amateur next to her. But I still go. She inspires me all the time to dance, and be free, and have fun," said Dobrev.
If you’ve danced before, you’ll learn the BODYJAM choreography quick and will be able to add your own flavor to it, but you'll still be challenged with new movements and different dance styles. If you only have minimal dance experience, you’ll still love it because it’s set up slow and there is a nice learning curve built in from the beginning of the work out. The routine literally starts with bouncing your shoulders up and down and gradually builds until the ending combination.
Les Mills BODYJAM is the ultimate combo of music and dance. It involves the latest music and cutting-edge dance styles in either 30, 45, or 55 minute workouts. Instructors walk students through the BODYJAM steps one by one, so people with no dance experience can still become hooked on this high energy program!
Photo Credit: @lesmillsus on Facebook
Going 50 years strong, Les Mills is on a mission to create a fitter planet. Through science-based workout programs, this fitness community strives to help people fall in love with fitness, so they actually want to work out. Les Mills offers a wide variety of fitness classes to people of all ages. In person classes are offered at 20,000 locations worldwide in addition to the Les Mills On Demand library of 800+ workouts.
To find a Les Mills location near you, or to learn more about Les Mills On Demand, visit lesmills.com and follow @lesmillsus on Facebook and Twitter and @lesmillstribe on Instagram.