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Dance off the holiday poundage

Alisha Self, Of the Record staff

The term "Hip Hop Hustle" might conjure images of dropping it like it’s hot or shaking it like a Polaroid picture, but don’t let the name deter you. The new class at Silver Mountain Sports Club’s Kimball Junction location is a heart-pumping, calorie-torching workout for non-hip-hoppers of all ages.

And the trend is catching on quickly. The Wednesday night class, which combines hip-hip and Zumba dance moves, has been averaging about 30 attendees per week. People of all ages and ability levels have fallen for the workout and even a couple of guys have been sweating it out.

The class started about a month ago when instructor Shukria Stewart moved to the area from northern Utah. Stewart is a representative for Chalene Johnson, the creator of Hip Hop Hustle, and her company, Powder Blue Productions. She is one of many presenters hired by Johnson to introduce the workout in gyms across the country.

According to Stewart, Hip Hop Hustle is appealing to anyone who likes to dance and enjoys workouts that don’t actually feel like you’re working out. "It’s just a fun, fun cardio dance class," she says.

Stewart is one of those perpetually smiling, upbeat-types of athletic trainers that, in a boot-camp situation, you might want to throw a dumbbell at. But at Hip Hop Hustle, the class just wouldn’t be as much fun without Stewart’s unwavering enthusiasm. Or as inspiring her dance moves rival those you might see in a Beyonce video.

The workout is designed for all ability levels and the routines are broken down into simple, easy-to-follow steps. The moves can be simplified or amplified for different skill levels. By the end of the class, students have one or more short routines that they can take home and practice to almost any hip hop song.

The best part is, you don’t need a background in dance or knowledge of hip-hop moves to enjoy the class. "Nobody has to be a dancer to do this," says Stewart. "As long as you can move side to side, you can hustle."

OK, so you might be better off if you have some semblance of coordination, but everyone in the Park City class seemed to come with an implicit understanding that the studio is a no-judging zone. That said; dancers are free to laugh at their own attempts to break it down. (After all, laughing burns calories, too.)

"It’s all about the experience," says Stewart. "I want my students to feel as through they’re having fun but still getting a good workout."

Parkite Erin Kimball hasn’t missed a session since the class started. "This is one of those classes that you invite your friends to and they keep coming back," she said. "I look forward to it all week. The coolest part is we actually feel like we can dance."

Mara Ledezma said Hip Hop Hustle is the only cardio class she’s found that she likes. The best thing about the class is Stewart’s energy, she added. "I don’t feel very confident dancing, but she makes it OK." Since beginning the class about two months ago, Ledezma has seen considerable improvements in her confidence level and has also shed a few pounds.

"It’s awesome we finally have a hip-hop class," said Brittney Sacks, who has been dancing since she was a kid. "It’s upbeat, easy for beginners and advanced enough for people who have been dancing for a while."

Hip Hop Hustle is held Wednesday evenings at 6:30 p.m. at the Kimball Junction Silver Mountain Sports Club and Spa. Visitors are welcome. The class is free for club members or included in an $18 day pass for guests. For more information, visit http://www.silvermountainsportsclub.com or call 575-0350.


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