Dance is the most natural and joyful form of movement. There's a reason we do it at weddings and parties, it is our go-to way of celebrating. So for people who dislike the gym or "typical" forms of exercise, dance can be a way to incorporate movement into regular life and carve out time for joy. And while Barre classes are great but they're not exactly full of movement and joy which for people who don't like exercise is crucial in a fitness class.
These five dance studios in Vancouver are all explicitly welcoming and inclusive of newcomers and want to introduce people to the life-changing world of dance fitness.
Tantra Fitness is the place to go if you want to move without feeling like you're working out. They offer a variety of sensual dance workout classes that help people connect with their bodies in a welcoming and inclusive space. People can select floorwork/erotic dance classes or try our pole dancing which is super popular with people who are goal-oriented and want to move up level by level.
New members can try out a two-week trial for $48 that gives you access to any of the six dance fitness classes (although it's recommended that if you're a beginner you start with the intro to erotic movement) as well as aerial yoga, intro to pole dancing, and bungee fit—you know that one we always see on TikTok that looks so fun?
Founded by Saschie MacLean-Magbanua, Formation Studio is perfect for people who are nervous about walking into an established dance community. Everything about the setup of the Formation dance classes is meant to be accessible to new people who just want to escape their heads for an hour. There are three class types—Freedom, Power, and Presence—that tackle different aspects of the dance experience.
Freedom encourages people just to come and move and have fun with repetitive moves so people can catch on at their own pace and then amp it up as they see fit, it doesn't have to be perfect. Power takes weights and resistance bands and makes it feel like the typical workout moves are a dance and Presence teaches a routine step-by-step and builds upon the learned choreography each week. Questions are encouraged and there's no judgment or pressure to get it right away.
Pop Queen Cardio
Most dance fitness classes are based on hip hop and while they pull in different dance styles sometimes that music just isn't your vibe. This follow-the-leader style dance class is entirely pop music that will get your heart rate up with fun but movements that are repetitive enough that newbies can pick up on the patterns quickly. The songs repeat each week so you can build up your skills and familiarity with the dance. It might be challenging at first but that's part of the fun.
While the other studios on this list work on building up dance skills in a specific style this format largely focuses on cardio and the sweat-factor of the dance party so in that way it's more of a true workout class which is what some people are looking for. The first two classes are $15 for newbies and a pack of ten classes is $120 ($12/class). They're holding a pride fundraiser class on July 26 with Canada's Drag Race queens Kendall Gender, Gia Metric, and Synthia Kiss which would be a pretty fun intro to what Pop Queen Cardio is all about if people are still on the fence.
iDance is a drop-in dance studio with locations in Kitsilano and Mount Pleasant and offers a variety of dance classes for different skill levels. Most classes are open level but new dancers are encouraged to take 90's Hip Hop, House, Lyrical, Ballet Technique, or Party Grooves. iDance hosts regular classes seven days a week in all disciplines which are open to everyone so people can mix and match what styles of dance they do. This is a true dance class so while there is a workout component it is a technique- and choreography-centred experience. So if you're looking to get into dance or back into it after a hiatus this is a good place to learn and workout at the same time.
Baza Dance Studios
This Afro Latin dance studio and school is perfect for solo dancers or couples who are looking to try something new together. Partnered dance classes like Salsa, Bachata, Kizomba, and Zouk, are available and Baza offers dance and fitness drop-in classes in styles like Zumba, Regae, Afrobeats, and Latin music. Class sizes range in capacity from 10 people to 22 and there are both beginner and open-level classes. Most are in the evenings so they're convenient for the after-work crowd. A one-week discovery studio pass gives you unlimited access to in-studio classes is $40, and there are about 21 classes to choose from each week (15 of those are suitable for newbies).