FitBuzz Tries ... Doonya
We got sweaty and had a blast with Bollywood dancing!
On a rainy night in New York City, Nina and I took a break from our usual fitness routines to take a Doonya class. We knew we would be doing a mix of cardio and toning based on high-energy dance moves and music from India’s Bollywood films, but didn’t know what to expect other than that. “Should I take my shoes off?” I asked Nina. “I don’t know. Do you think we’ll be able to dance like they did in Slumdog Millionaire?” Nina responded, half-jokingly. Here’s our report of what went down.
The class took place in a modern but unfussy dance studio. There were around 20 people, including regulars who knew the dances by heart and new visitors, like us, who may have taken a misstep or two along the way. We were led by the friendly and energetic Priya Pandya, one of the co-founders of Doonya. (That’s me, Priya, and Nina after class in the photo.)
What We Did
We learned dance moves like the Bollywood tap, the Bhangra kick, and the flick step. We twirled our wrists, pumped our shoulders, rolled our torsos, swayed our hips, and slid our feet across the floor as Priya took us through several short routines covering a variety of Indian dance styles. Sneakily, she also managed to have us do knee lifts, mountain climbers, and a killer plie squat-calf raise combo.
Nina and I both gave the class a thumbs-up. We definitely got our sweat on, but had a lot of fun! My favorite part? Doonya will put a smile on your face. I loved that I worked my body from head to toes, but I wasn’t thinking of going faster, longer, or harder like I do when I run or strength train—I just let go of the day’s stress as I moved to the up-tempo music.
Ready to try it? Doonya is currently offered in New York City and the DC area, with teacher trainings going on in additional select cities. (For more information, visit Doonya.com.) If you’re able to go to a class, learn from my mistake: Wear shoes since sliding, hopping, and twisting can chafe your feet. Priya suggests sneakers without treads or dance shoes if you have them.
If you’re not able to go to class, you’re in luck: You can find short how-to videos on Doonya’s YouTube channel. Plus, you’ll soon be able to try Doonya: The Bollywood Workout, a DVD series that includes a 1-hour dance mix plus short abs, glutes, and cardio workouts, expected out this month.