Dance Cardio Hip Hop with Connie

hip hop dance, hip hop, dancing, dance class

Bring out your inner J-lo and have a ton of fun while seriously getting your cardio on.  This is Dance Cardio Hip Hop and I have to say, it’s been one of my favorite classes I’ve taken at the Ranch.  For some reason, whenever I take a dance class, I never think it’s going to kick my butt and then I’m always surprised to have gotten such a good workout.  I was actually thinking about this while taking the class.  I was so concentrated on getting the steps right that I didn’t realize that I was out of breath.

The highlight of the class was our teacher Connie.  She has such a vibrant personality and it’s hard not to get inspired by her infectious affinity for fun.  Plus she is an amazing dancer.  I used to listen hip hop all the time, so the music in the class brought back a lot of memories of my younger days when I used to go out dancing.  Oh, the good old days.  If only I  had taken this class back then, right?

The thing about hip hop dancing is that it’s easy to pick up the steps if you listen to the beat.  I guess that can be said of any kind of dance, but to me, it especially relates to hip hop because that’s the most noticeable  part of the song.  The way that Connie teaches it is one little bit at a time so it’s not overwhelming and then by the end of the class you’re doing an entire dance.  Plus the music!  So fun…I highly recommend this one next time you’re down at the Ranch.

Hot Latin Cardio Dance with Manuel!

latin dancing, salsa dancing, fitness, dancing

A must-do when you come to the Ranch is a dance class with Manuel.  Whether it’s Striptease or Hot Latin Cardio, you will be guaranteed to be entertained and have an amazing time.  Manuel is the man!  Sometimes it’s hard to keep up with the dancing because you’re laughing so hard, but don’t get me wrong.  This is a serious workout.  I was panting from exhaustion by the end of Hot Latin Cardio.  Of course, I also did Cardio Muscle Blast and Dance Cardio Hip Hop.  Yes, three cardio classes in one day which I definitely don’t recommend!  But given that my time was limited at the Ranch, I couldn’t pass up Hot Latin Cardio, my last class of the day.  And even though halfway through the class exhaustion crept it’s way through my body, I still had a blast.  I wasn’t going to let a little fatigue get me down!

Here’s the thing that I learned about Latin dancing.  It moves fast.  Whereas with hip hop, I could easily pair the steps to the beats of the song, I had trouble doing this with Hot Latin Cardio.  I also had trouble keeping my torso still and moving just my hips, which is key.  Needless to say, I have a new respect for salsa dancing and the cha cha.  It is hard!  But whatever, we were all in the same boat in the class.  None of us were professionals.  So as we tried to keep up, there were giggles here and there and lots of smiling faces knowing we were all going through this together.  Getting prepared for our performance in front of the mirror (if you’ve taken Manuel’s dance classes before then you know about this)!

Thankfully we had Manuel helping us every step of the way!

Striptease with Manuel!

dance class, striptease, striptease class, health spa, destination spa, health retreat

Hands down this might be the most fun class I’ve ever taken at the Ranch.  If you are lucky enough to be down here when Manuel teaches this class, you MUST take it, okay?  If you’ve been to the Ranch, then chances are you know Manuel and you know he has moves, but unless you have taken this class, I swear to you, you haven’t seen anything yet.

I don’t know what was more fun about the class; the dance moves or watching Manuel or maybe the constant laughter, but I left that class with the biggest smile on my face.  By the way, you will learn how to dance, or ahem, striptease, just in case you ever need it down the road.

It starts out simple enough, swinging hips, shaking what you got, but by the end of the class, you are ready to put on a show.  It’s really amazing the amount of moves we learned.  By the way, I am not a dancer so this wasn’t necessarily easy for me, but I did it!  I learned the whole dance and was performing with Manuel and everyone else by the end of the class.  And don’t worry, there is no audience.  Only ourselves watching back in the mirror. No reason to be shy!

Ahem, so who’s going to striptease next time they’re down at the Ranch?  Hmmm?

Ballet with Anatoly Sisman

I never knew ballet was such a good workout.  After taking the Ballet for Adults course with Anatoly Sisman and Roni Mahler earlier, I realize it’s a killer workout.  Anatoly Sisman is the real deal.  He’s a former soloist dancer with the Lviv Sate Ballet and was trained in the classical school of Russian Ballet from the age of 7.  Currently he teaches at the San Diego Civic Youth Ballet.

Taking ballet lessons from Anatoly made me feel like I was in a real ballet studio getting ready for a performance.  I had missed the first couple of classes of the week so I was a little bit behind the other students.  Anatoly helped me with my posture and told me to hold my head high like a princess and push my wings back.  Easier said than done, but I eventually got it by the end of the class.

We mainly worked in the first position and the fifth position doing all sorts of leg lifts and arm movements.  We had to keep our toes pointed and legs straight.  Let me tell you, this is a great workout for your glutes and upper legs.  I was really feeling sore by the end of the class, but honestly I love that feeling.  It means my muscles are tightening up in my behind area and what women doesn’t want that, right?

Since taking Roni’s class and now Anatoly’s, I’ve really gained a new fondness and respect for ballet.  First of all, it does make you look like a princess with it’s emphasis on posture.  Second, it makes you more graceful, which I definitely need and third, it’s great for toning.  So if you want to look like a beautiful graceful fit princess, consider taking some ballet!

Ballet Week with Roni Mahler

It was such a treat to meet Roni Mahler, a beautiful ballerina, who hosted our classes for Ballet Week at the Ranch.  Roni has been coming to Rancho La Puerta every year for the last 20 years to teach ballet to our guests.  She was a principal dancer for the American Ballet Theatre and the National Ballet of Washington, D.C.  Roni is currently the Artistic Associate of Ballet San Jose and is a permanent member of the dance faculty at the Julliard School.

Listening to Roni speak about ballet is an absolute delight.  In her talk, The Ballet World, she showed photos of her in the 1960s as the principal dancer in such performances as Gisele and Coppelia.  She even showed us footage of her in the Dying Swan as the swan herself.

Later on, I took two ballet classes with her, Body Contour Ballet and The Joy of Ballet.  Now, I used to take ballet when I was a little girl, so I thought, this would be easy!  Nope!  However, I absolutely loved the classes (even though I’m not flexible at all).  Roni was so inspiring.  She is in incredible shape for her age and is limber as ever.  It really showed that you don’t need to let age define you.  Really, it was this class and my lack of flexibility that has inspired me to get on track to truly getting in shape.

The hardest part about the class to me were the moves on the ballet bar.  First of all, I had to stand on pads to even stretch my leg up to the bar.  It wasn’t that big of a deal because 90% of the class had to do this.  Second was just being able to keep my leg up on the bar and straight while we stretched from side to side.  I loved it even though it was hard because it also helped my posture as well (which definitely needed the help!).  Just watching Roni’s grace and posture as she danced I felt also taught me tremendously.  Overall, it was a great learning experience and surprise.  I wasn’t expecting to learn so much about myself in the classes.  I’m also so glad I was able to go to the second class because I received one on one help from Roni.

Really, ballet reminds me in a many ways of yoga.  Both have structured moves, focus on posture and flexibility.  I think a combination of these two activities would do wonders for anyone looking to get in shape.  Personally, I’ve looked into adult ballet classes here in San Diego after enjoying Roni’s class so much!

You can learn more about Roni at her site ronimahler.com.