There’s something beautiful about a dancer's body, elegant yet powerful and weightless yet strong. And it's something that seems nearly impossible to achieve without spending hours in a studio or at the barre. Former professional dancer Katia Pryce wanted to change that perception so in 2013 she launched DanceBody, a dance-inspired workout that incorporates dance cardio and full-body sculpting.
Now DanceBody has two studios in New York City with satellite classes in Miami, L.A. and the Hamptons. DanceBody LIVE streams daily live classes from NYC and offers over 150 on-demand workouts. This female-founded business managed to survive the pandemic and has emphasized making a comeback stronger than the setback.
To celebrate and inspire others, Pryce created this exclusive dancer's stretching workout for SI Swimsuit. Here she shares her secrets to getting a long, lean body without logging the long hours.
What's the inspiration behind DanceBody?
"I moved to New York City to be a professional performing artist but very soon discovered that a job was necessary to be in New York. So I worked as a fitness trainer and realized that people loved using dance as fitness. Of course, I knew that my body always looked better when I was dancing. I cobbled together high-intensity functional training-- we're talking, pop-ups, jumping jacks, and high knees -- interspersed with fun standing abs and oblique lifts that you would do in a dance class. It's this perfect fusion of Cardi B meets Tae Bo. It's basically Zumba on crack."
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What are the misconceptions about a dancer's body?
"Everyone thinks that a dancer's body is so out of reach. You look at someone like Misty Copeland and look at the years of hardcore training that takes. And the reality is like, yes, of course, you want to be a prima ballerina, but that's not what you need to have a lean twisted shape of a dancer. There is a certain way that you can move with transferase movement to wrap around the muscle to ensure it has more of a wrapped appearance than just moving a muscle in a frontal or sagittal plane. We're moving from that squatted position to a plie. So I'm rotating around those leg muscles, turning them in and out, very conscientiously. And the reality is if you jump and you're using your body mechanics to lift your body, it’s bodyweight training at the end of the day."
And what if you're not a dancer? I think I look like Beyonce in these classes, catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror and realize I look nothing like Beyonce.
“Oh my gosh, you're so funny. You know, I trained Beyonce once a long time ago, and she's such a hard worker. But, even for her, this stuff is hard. It is difficult. It doesn't come naturally to anyone. I found that a lot of our clients are coming from other modalities of movement. Everyone is very hard on themselves. And then you get into a class of 20 other people and realize very quickly that no one is a professional dancer in that room and no one is looking at each other, and we're all just trying to survive.”
Speaking of survival, how did you survive the pandemic?
"We made it through the pandemic because we had a digital outlet, which launched in 2016. It wasn't even new, necessarily. We were ahead of that curve. I grew up in Michigan, not New York City. I'm used to not having cool, fancy bougie stuff in an urban setting per se. So it was important to me to make DanceBody accessible, not just to boutique studio goers, but also to stay-at-home moms or someone who doesn't always have time. That price point is a lot more accessible. It's $45 for a single class at the studio, and the online platform is only $35 for the whole month."
Ultimately, what do you hope people get out of the workout?
"Honestly, confidence. I think that's the No. 1 thing you do walk away with with dance. Any dancer is holding themselves with a posture while walking into the room, and is owning their body. And that is the No. 1 thing I want to impart to men and women. Confidence is the No. 1 sexiest part of your body."