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MOde Loves:MaZi Dance Fitness

Mazi Dance Fitness

How nuts do you have to be to plan a combined birthday/Mother's Day vacation JUST to take dance fitness classes? MOde nuts!

We'd been Instagram-stalking MaZi Dance Fitness for a long time, falling in love with the speed, range of motion and energy that define both their cardio dance and strength/conditioning classes. We dreamed up the idea of going to Chicago (home for both of us up until circa 2005) and give ourselves an "intensive" week of exploring this studio.

First of all, one huuuugge shout-out to MaZi for having classes AFTER work! We ended up 9-5ing in the hotel room, but it didn't stop us from dancing through Chicago (we did want to squeeze in a few more classes, but it's just a reason to go back...again and again).

OK, some background on where we stand with dance and fitness. We're both dedicated dance cardio fans (eeek, we've been doing Zumba for a decade apiece), Mary's taught yoga for nearly that long, I've done ballet for 20 years (age 5-25, seriously and I still sub when needed) and Mary took it for four as an adult]]]. We love it all, but there's something about the way dance technique classes force you to be fully present that's unique.MaZi has that, along with the sweat factor ballet is, for us, lacking.

Head up the old-dance-studio carpeted stairs at the Lincoln Park and you'll be greeted by a dancer with a huge smile and tons of energy and enthusiasm--whoever's at the desk. Night one ( Tuesday) was Nickie, who's got one of the best studio intros ever..."This is like a home for former dancers."

Fine by us. Her Zi-Cardio class combined the cardio energy of Zumba/Jazzercise type class, amped up with a range of motion and clarity of execution you'd usually only get in a dance technique class.

Wednesday night couldn't come fast enough. We'd signed up--like, the minute we got back to our room Tuesday night--for a double class. Marisol's Ballerina Bum class first, then Kelsey's Zi-Cardio.

Marisol's class was amazing. We've taken dance-based sculpting on both coasts (Pop Physique, Body By Simone, AKT and a metric ton of online ones) and this class came closer to the feeling of a dance class than we've ever been. Speaking as someone who danced for almost 20 years, that's hard to find! The class married ballet with yoga and a lot of the kind of matwork I did when I danced, but interspersed with cardio (in our class, with light arm weights and still wearing ankle weights from the loong leg section--or did I just forget to take mine off?). We loved the complex movements and the speed. It was wonderful to be challenged to do something other than just "run faster" or "go longer." For a sample of the kinds of work we did, check this out:

Kelsey taught the cardio class. While it was many of the same songs as night one, each teacher has her own energy/flavor, so even the same moves/music stay fresh. Kelsey made even the hardest songs playful. The night ended really happy, really sweaty and with the photo at the top of this post, taken by Marisol ( thanks for making us look really, really good).

We wanted another double on Thursday, but work intervened (gotta pay for the classes somehow, even if MaZi's new student deal is $30 for an unlimited week.They lost money on us). So, we just made one: Karen's Mazi Cardio, a fusion of Zi-Cardio and their B-Girl Hip Hop class. It wasn't quite as jumpy as the other two, But, the range of motion kept the challenge up, and just figuring out movements that were different than we were used to was fun. Karen does a great job of making hip hop combinations accessible for those of us who have a hard time getting grounded in our movements (something I used to get corrected on even in ballet. These knees don't bend).

Friday was our last day in town--we'd booked the latest possible flight to squeeze in more class. Turned out that was Kelsey's Z-Cardio, which was just as fun on time two. Last word to the wise: MaZi requires clean shoes for classes. If you're travelling, strap them to your backpack.

This is not a sponsored post. Just two dance cardio fanatics reviewing some amazing classes. Follow MaZi on Instagram and Facebook.

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