¡Fitness! Why Work Out When You Can Dance?

Love to dance?  Secretly want to be a Bollywood leading lady

If you answered ¡Síííí!, I just discovered the workout for you:

Masala Bhangra.


¡To the Left! ¡To the Left! Courtesy: The Masala Bhangra Workout

Why do I go to the gym for the group classes? Because working out with others to energizing music pushes me to work harder than I would sweating sola.

Always on the hunt for new, engaging group classes, I chose Masala Bhagra based on the description:

An Indian dance-inspired workout that uses the sounds of the dhol drum mixed with mainstream music such as reggae and hip-hop.

¿Did someone say dance?

I was hooked.

I love dance-inspired workouts because, frankly, they don’t feel like I’m exercising. When your workout is fun, you are more likely to stick to it.


That’s the sound, not of my Nikes jumping around, but of Masala Bhangra exceeding my expectations.

I don’t remember the last time I was so happy at the gym. I was smiling and even laughed out loud as we spun (yes we spun!), the instructor sneaking in just enough squats and knee lifts to remind us that we were at the gym.

Bonus: while everyone moved left, I didn’t go to the right (no politics, I swear), proof that the steps were easy to pick up.

And the energy…¡on fire! Even though the stereo system died, we kept going, clapping out the beat and dancing until the music came back on.

Prefer to work out alone?

The workout is available on DVD from the Masala Bhangra website, although I was able to save money when I checked it out from my local library.

Or, click on this link for a 7 minute dance workout on YouTube led by Sarina Jain, Masala Bhangra founder who invented a dance workout that mixes her American love of fitness, the Indian folk dance of bhange, and the exhilaration of Bollywood.

Maybe Masala Bhangra isn’t your cup of chai tea but you love dance-based workouts. That’s OK. I’ve got you covered:

  • Barre: a ballet inspired workout
  • Zumba (my fave since I’m a big salsera!): a cardio class that blends popular music with latin rhythms
  • Belly Dance: a low impact workout that targets you hips and core
  • Pole dancing: dance/gymnastic/acrobatics hybrid (that will shrink your inhibitions as well as your waistline!)

You don’t have to be a “Fly Girl” like JLO was circa the 90s to get moving.

Try Masala Bhangra or any dance workouts.

Resolve to get fit while you’re having fun.

The Wise Latina Club's Natalie Wagner Fierro

A teacher by day, The Wise Latina Club’s Natalie Wagner Fierro is the co-founder of the Institute for Student Health. She equally loves food (cooking or dining in Washington’s restaurants) and burning calories by distance running, practicing yoga, and archery. Click here to read more about and connect with Natalie.

Which dance-inspired fitness class will get you up and moving?


  1. Michele Khateri says

    This looks really fun. I love different dance workouts. I just tried a new cardio dance workout that is similar to Zumba but also lots of fun: Dance w.me by Billy Blanks Jr.. It’s also a great workout and really brings everyone into the limelight.

  2. Natalie says

    As a dancer, I never feel like dance-based fitness is a workout. I also love walking or jogging with friends- I get so wrapped up in conversation I don’t notice the time pass! Which workouts fly by for you?

  3. says

    I’m so not coordinated, so I’ve struggled with the zumba, but this sounds excellent! I also really want to try the barre workout. I’ve been looking for something fun to do because I HAVE to get back to working out.

    • Natalie says

      I think you will enjoy Masala Bhangra. A woman I met at the class told me she had a hard time following Zumba but found this class easier to follow and more like hip hop. Have fun with it!

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