LINDALE — Fifteen women filed into Lotus School of Dance on Main Street last Thursday in Lindale, ready for their twice-a-week workout. The dance studio is housed in a historic downtown building, but there's nothing traditional about the choice of exercise.
The class — Flirty Girl Fitness — is a cardio dance fitness program, similar to the well-liked Zumba. There are bursts of cardio, which target muscle groups, performed to popular songs.
Beth Bills, 33, integrates the sassy workout into her fitness schedule. Like many other participants, she learned of the class through word of mouth.
“It's different,” Ms. Bills said. “I am currently training for a marathon so this class provides me with a type of cross training that switches up my normal regimen.”
How she looks while shaking her hips and shimmying is far from her mind.
“I love stuff like this so I kind of lose my pride and everything at the door and come in and shake it,” she said.
For owner and instructor Lauren Maes-Forbey, the studio is a dream realized. She's danced since she was 2 years old and later taught others. Her specialty is clogging and as a child, she toured with her sister to perform at country and bluegrass events.
The studio has only been open for three months and it's a side hustle to her day job as an area loss prevention manager for a retail company in Tyler.
Mrs. Maes-Forbey, 33, currently offers fitness classes but the dance classes — including dance, jazz, tap for children — has yet to begin.
Mothers of the children who have enrolled their little girls had requested that they also have a class they could participate in. Zumba was already a hot workout and is available virtually everywhere.
Teaching the class was more than just purchasing some DVDs. She took a class and became certified through the national program.
She said the cardio exercise has helped her lose 10 pounds, and said it could burn 600 to 1,200 calories per hour.
“It helps with the energy and the stamina because clogging requires a lot of both,” she said.
Although Mrs. Maes-Forbey was in athletics in high school and danced all of her life, she wasn't keen on structured exercise.
“Dance had always been a passion, but I never worked out after high school,” she said. “I became lazy. I became complacent. For me, it was a struggle finding something that I really enjoyed doing and getting a workout at the same time.”
Mrs. Maes-Forbey touts the program as another way to include fitness into one's life by just moving.
“I know how vital it is to one's health, particularly my own,” she said. “I just think that I represent a lot of women who just flat-out don't like to work out, and need a different method to get the results they want.”