Thursday, September 4, 2014

Dance Fitness Exposé: Part I, Bokwa

In this series of posts, I'll explore forms of dance fitness other than our beloved Zumba, share some opinions, and look for your insight. First up, Bokwa!

I took a master class a couple of months ago, sort of by accident. I had just finished teaching and it was the next thing happening in the dance studio at my gym - they asked me to stay and I said yes, but had no idea what I was getting myself into!

Here is how the Bokwa folks describe themselves: "Bokwa is a new and completely different approach to group exercise that is rapidly spreading across the globe. Bokwa participants draw letters and numbers with their feet while performing an energizing and addictive cardio workout routine. Moving together to today’s most popular music, participants off all ages draw the Bokwa L, 3, J, K and dozens of other steps." If you've never seen it before, here's a short video to check out:

The Bokwa website also goes into more detail - here is my take on what they say about their method:

"No counting steps." Sort of. You definitely still have to pay attention, and some of the steps get complicated. I was promised letters and numbers, and all of a sudden... The superman? And, what's a phezulu? I enjoyed the challenge, but I think someone with less of a dance background might get confused beyond the most basic steps. Plus, in Zumba we follow a pattern and the moves within a song become intuitive. In Bokwa, there's no way to know what will come next.

"No choreography." Again, sort of. A clear benefit is that the moves are the moves, so whether you're in NYC or LA or St Louis you can walk into a class and know the basics. In Zumba, we're all supposed to use the core moves but they don't translate as well across classes. Even still, to say there's no choreo is a bit of a stretch - you definitely have to pay attention to cues and make sure you're keeping up.

"Today's popular radio hits." Yep, it was fun to hear all songs you could sing along to. I imagine some people would prefer if Zumba songs were more recognizable (and I bet there would be less mumbling along to the words that way!). 

"Everyone can do Bokwa." Agreed, the same way everyone can do Zumba. Some people would need modifications in both formats.

"It does not feel like working out at all." I meeeean, I was really sweaty. My take is that you can really enjoy the class, just like Zumba, but c'mon... if you're doing it right, you know you're working out!

If you're thinking about adding Bokwa to your class schedule or just want to learn more, visit their website: 

Have you tried Bokwa? What do you think?


  1. I've taken Bokwa! I thought it was fun. Definitely a class that you have to pay attention for the changes. There are also no breaks! At least in the class I did. You just keep going. It doesn't have the "ups and downs" that we are supposed to have in Zumba. I enjoyed it because it was different. It def was a work out. It's def something for people to give a try.

  2. That's right - I forgot about the "no breaks" part! That's a if diffence from most Zumba classes where you have a few seconds between songs. Thanks for reading, Stan!

  3. I've never heard of this type of exercise! Definitely would like to try it.