New Fitness Classes for Spring: Sensuality, Musicality and Rhythm

Crunch Fitness

There's a whole slew of new fitness classes popping up across gym schedules in the city, and some of them are so novel and intriguing we had to ask -- who came up with these?

At Crunch gyms, at least, that person is Donna Cyrus, senior vice president of programming, who spots the trends and coordinates with regional directors and instructors in developing the classes. 

"Lots of times, I create classes based on what I think the trend is," she told NBC New York. "The directors and coordinators get the ideas, and we develop them together."

"A lot of times I look at what little small studios are doing and check the talent pool there," she added.

Sometimes a class is a reinvention of past programs, and sometimes it's created new from scratch, Cyrus says, but all classes are based on three program mantras: flexibility, strength and cardio.

New classes are offered each quarter. Crunch usually tests the new classes in the Los Angeles and New York markets, and if they prove popular, will roll them out to the other markets, says Cyrus.

LaBlast Dance class was one such class that incubated in one market, then spread across the country. The popularity of the class very much has to do with its founder Louis Van Amstel, of "Dancing With the Stars" fame.

With the public obsession with "DWTS," LaBlast couldn't have been more relevant and timely, says Cyrus. "It's easy-to-follow choreography, and designed exactly the way he teaches some celebrities. The music drives the energy; and after you learn the choreography, you move into faster music so that the workout is harder."

The LaBlast launch in Los Angeles was so successful, Cyrus says, that Crunch had Van Amstel go around to each of the markets and train instructors.

Now there are some new classes at Crunch that could see the same kind of success. Below are some new and returning spring classes at New York City Crunch gyms, plus background on them from Cyrus:


DESCRIPTION: "Tabura is Swahili for the training used in improving military endurance and strength. This class will use both martial arts and traditional dance movements inspired by African culture to transform and sculpt your body."

Cyrus explains: "African dance has been very big dance for us. This class is a combination of dance and military, and endurance training. We include drummers in the class, and there are lots of movements across the floor; it's very high-energy."

Broadway Dance Series: "Priscilla Queen of the Desert." 

DESCRIPTION: "Learn the dazzling dance routines inspired by Broadway’s hottest new show, "Priscilla Queen of the Desert the Musical." Dance floor favorites include iconic songs from the original movie and new star-studded cast recording. Keep your eyes open for guest appearances from the fabulous cast and ticket giveaways."

Cyrus explains
: "Crunch has always been known for merging entertainment with fitness, and some of our own instructors are involved in theater and entertainment. We're always looking for shows that really fit with our brand. We've done 'Memphis,' 'Billy Elliot.' With 'Priscilla,' you learn the choreography in the show; some cast members even come and do the class. We bring in the fun, too, with boas and music -- it's campy and fun and there's lots of life."

Red Velvet

DESCRIPTION: "This delectable lyrical dance class uses a flowing red silk as your partner and prop. Learn add-on choreography as you move, swing and hang, sure to wet your appetite."

Cyrus explains: "We've had pole-dancing for quite some time -- our pole-dancing director Kyra Johannesen is a performer at The Box. We've had Anti-Gravity Yoga before, so we've been able to use hooks in the ceiling to create a fabric-based dance class utilizing the [pole-dancing performance techniques] created by Johannesen."

KAMA Sensual

DESCRIPTION: "Dim the lights, put on some music and shed your inhibitions as you work, tone and sculpt the internal and external pelvic core and, as an added benefit, boost your libido. Ladies only, please."

Cyrus explains: "This is the next step from pole-dancing, designed with an instructor and a doctor. It's female-driven. So many women who are trying to have children of have had children are focused on the exterior. KAMA Sensual is focused on all that, but all the internal muscles in all ways, too, specifically with Keigel muscles. It focuses on the female libido, and feeling better on the inside as well as the outside. There are lots of hip and lower back movements."


DESCRIPTION: The countdown to summer starts here. In this class, we focus on sculpting and toning a different body part each week to get you ready to hit the sand and surf with a beach ready bod. Members who attend class regularly will be entered to win an all-expense paid beach vacation for two.

To learn more about the latest Crunch classes being offered near you, visit

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