Focus On: Dance Trance

With all of the Focus On posts in the sea, I CAN’T BELIEVE I haven’t written one about Dance Trance. I have no idea how I skipped it- Dance Trance is one of my favorite cardio workouts! 


I used to own the license to teach here in Tucson (the info on why I stopped is here). I miss it terribly and would do anything to be able to add a class in my weekly rotation. It’s definitely something I’ll seek out next time I’m on the east coast.


(with Katy -who introduced me to Dance Trance!- and Jess, my lovely lulu friend)

For those of you who haven’t tried DT, here’s the down low:

What is it?

A dance-driven cardio workout set to all of the songs you hear on the radio. The choreography is a mix of fitness, jazz and hip hop, and the workout itself is a type of interval training. The dances alternate in intensities, and if you take a Breakdown class, you try the song first, then learn the choreography, then do it again before moving onto the next song.

Dance Trance was originated in Jacksonville, FL (they have gorgeous studios if you’re nearby) and potential studio owners have to purchase the license, attend the instructor workshop,

and then figure out studio arrangements in their city. For me, I purchased the instructor license after I had taken classes in Orlando for a few months (so I had about 18 songs that I knew really well), attended the workshop, and then began renting a studio here in Tucson.

What to expect:

-A music video/club-type atmosphere. It’s dim, many studios have flashing and colored lights and LOUD music. It’s the type of workout where you forget you’re working out- my favorite way to sweat.

-To have no idea what you’re doing the first time. If you attend a “Dance Trance” class, they just put on the music and go- similar to Zumba. Here’s the thing, though: the choreography is far more complicated than Zumba. Yes, the verses and choruses repeat the same moves, but steps aren’t repeated within the 8 counts as often, plus there’s a ton of turning and more technical dance moves. It’s a great class for people with technical dance training who don’t regularly dance anymore. That’s not to say that you can’t take classes or pick up the moves without a dance background, but there is a learning curve. 

What to wear:

Supportive shoes for turning and lateral movement, and comfortable fitness clothes. I usually prefer pants or crops for the kicking -don’t want to flash anyone the goodies- and many DTers will wear Capezio dance sneakers (which I don’t personally love). I’d usually wear Groove pants or crops, a tank, and my Nike huarache sneakers.


-Incredible cardio workout once you learn the moves. In an hour class, I’d easily burn 600+ calories.

-Club feel and judgment-free zone. I love the fact that the lights are low and you can truly get lost in the music. It’s a great stress reliever and endorphin booster.

-Fun events! DT has its own culture and will often host themed events, like “Dance in the Dark” over Halloween. They use black lights and everyone gets dressed up with glow-in-the-dark goodies and glow sticks- it’s a blast.

-Challenging choreography. This is also a con, but I think that DT is the perfect option for someone that wants a more complex dance cardio workout. Shoes1

(my favorite- and sadly discontinued- sneaks.)


-Limited availability. Dance Trance is still growing, so you may not have classes offered in your area. I was pretty excited to see that one opened up in Valdosta shortly after we moved.

-Lack of consistency across studios. This can be the case with any type of workout- it really depends on your studio and instructors. You could be you be disappointed or blown away with awesomeness, depending on the studio, instructor and choreography. (For those of you in Orlando, you will be blown.away. with awesomeness. I miss my Orlando DT girls so much and the classes are AMAZING.) Like Zumba, instructors receive DVDs with choreography, but also have the freedom to develop their own dances. This could be a good thing… or a terrible thing.

-Challenging choreography. The first time I went, I watched and followed about a beat and a half behind and didn’t get a great workout. Instead of being frustrated, it really made me want to go back and learn the moves. The great thing is that they offer Breakdown classes, so you can learn the choreography (I think they go over 3 songs during the class) and bust out next time you go to DT.


Have you ever tried a Dance Trance class? Do you think it’s something you would enjoy? There is a list of locations here. 

Fellow dance cardio fans: what’s your favorite?

I love Zumba and DT, but would also love to try Jazzercise or the new Shaun T. STRIDE class.

Whatever you do, make sure to find a cardio option that you love and can look forward to. It’s much easier to make something part of your lifestyle when it’s something you enjoy <3

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  1. sti @ little windmill yoga on August 28, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    Love it! Cardio dance classes always seem to fly by as opposed to spinning or just working out. I think everyone loves to dance…even if they don’t admit it 🙂

  2. julie @ peanut butter fingers on August 28, 2012 at 6:29 pm

    i have the HARDEST time learning choreography, which is unfortunate because i love bustin’ a move. i wish i would’ve taken more dance classes when i was younger! i know people laugh at jazzercise and think it’s a workout from the ’80s but i LOVE it. the choreography is repetitive enough so someone like me can catch on and you jump around enough to work up a sweat. big fan! i wish i had the coordination to excel in a class like dance trance b/c i have a feeling i’d love it if i could catch on to the dance moves.

  3. Melissa on August 28, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    They have an awesome Dance Trance studio here in Birmingham and I LOVED the classes. I attended more often several years ago when the instructors happened to teach DT out of the gym that I was a member of. Now that they have their new studio I’ve only been handful of times, unfortunately. My career has become more demanding over the years and I often can’t make their class times so I’ve had to choose more flexible workout options. I hope to be able to get back into it one day though…I still keep myself on their email list on the chance I’ll be able to re-commit!

  4. Abby on August 28, 2012 at 7:04 pm

    That looks like soooo much fun!

  5. Stephanie @ Steph's Miles on August 28, 2012 at 7:06 pm

    I’m so disappointed I haven’t had a chance to try dance trance yet! Your description(s) of it over the past year or so has made me really want to try it. I live in the South Florida later, so they have to bring down a studio sooner or later! Or else I’ll just scope it out when I’m in the northern Florida area.

  6. Suzi @ Confessions of a Fitness Instructor on August 28, 2012 at 7:09 pm

    Hip Hop Hustle can be a little cheesy at time but it’s really fun and “the shows” are pretty awesome! 😀

  7. Food for Todd on August 28, 2012 at 7:22 pm

    My husband and I used to rent out thay studio to teach lindy hop lessons and hold a swing dance!

  8. Aspire on August 28, 2012 at 7:28 pm

    DT sounds rite up my street- not heard of it before so not sure if its in the UK yet, or at least if it is not widespread!
    Im off to Bokwa for the first time this weekend – I’ve heard rave reviews.
    Have your tried/taught it? Am I in for a treat?

  9. Carol on August 28, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    I used to take a class like this called Dance Aerobics. I LOVED IT! I have yet to find another class like it because it set the bar so high!!

  10. Hope on August 28, 2012 at 8:02 pm

    Looked up your post on licensed to teach in Tuscon. OMG you did bodyrock! I love bodyrock and ZWow now that she has separated from them. Your tabata workouts totally are in sync with their style. I love it. Don’t stop your videos at 4 minutes for tabata, real time for 3 rounds would be awesome.

  11. Laura on August 28, 2012 at 8:39 pm

    There is dance trance in bham but I just don’t have the time to learn the moves and the schedule is limited. I love working out but have a busy schedule so I do not normally take classes because I fit in working out when I can and want to make sure it is a good one! You do make me wish I could take more at least occasionlly!

  12. lindsay on August 28, 2012 at 9:18 pm

    I do Dance Dance Party Party, which sounds like an un-choreographed Dance Trance. Someone brings a playlist of music and everyone just dances however they want. It’s a great ladies-only workout and a great way to find new music. So fun!

  13. Averie @ Averie Cooks on August 28, 2012 at 9:34 pm

    I have never dance tranced but it looks SO FUN and I need to check it out!

  14. Michele on August 28, 2012 at 9:44 pm

    We have a Dance Trance studio here and some of the instructors from it teach a class called Dance Mania at my gym. I tried it thinking I would love it – but I thought it was just ok. I wasn’t crazy about some of their song selections (a lot of songs I’ve never heard before – I thought it would be all songs you would hear on the radio). I also didn’t feel like I got a great workout because I didn’t know all the moves and while it wasn’t really hard to follow, it just didn’t feel like a workout. Sorry, it’s kind of hard to explain but it definitely felt more “dancy” than a good workout. If I am comparing it to Zumba (which I am 🙂 ) I like Zumba much better! I don’t know if that made any sense at all!

  15. Sam @ Better With Sprinkles on August 28, 2012 at 10:04 pm

    I would absolutely love to try this – I did a lot of dancing when I was younger so a dance class feels like home to me. It might take me a little while to pick up on the moves but I think it would totally be worth it.

  16. Eva @ committed2nutrition on August 28, 2012 at 10:08 pm

    I am so glad you posted this! I have never heard of dance trance… interesting! I am a Zumba instructor (as I am sure most people know, ha) and have a dance background so I’d LOVE to try more challenging classes. Now I am on the hunt!

  17. @pluvk on August 28, 2012 at 10:27 pm

    I’ve never even HEARD of Dance Trance! It definitely sounds like a class I would love to try. I was addicted, for a while, to “Salsa-robics.” It was a lot of fun, until they started getting a lot of new students, so the class/cardio slowed down considerably. I like the idea of a Breakdown class!

  18. Jamie Escobar on August 28, 2012 at 11:01 pm

    I have never been more in love with a shoe. I actually bought my first pair when I saw that you had a pair a while back (hence I have to do whatever you do….) and then the back ripped, so I had to give them up. I was so bummed when I learned that they discontinued them. I would shave half my head to get a pair of those…(kinda like another fitness idol Tanya Beardsly..hahaha)

  19. Katie on August 28, 2012 at 11:32 pm

    I’m a certified Jazzercise instructor, and I LOVE Jazzercise! It’s awesome 🙂

  20. Gennt Gaus on August 29, 2012 at 12:01 am

    Hey Gina. This article spoke to me when you described Dance Trance as something for people with a dance background who don’t really dance anymore. I would love to try this! I also love me some Zumba!

  21. Jess on August 29, 2012 at 4:56 am

    I would love this class!!! I wonder if they have it in Australia!!!

  22. Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin on August 29, 2012 at 7:42 am

    Dance fitness classes look like so much fun, but I have zero coordination so I think I would have problems following along! 😛 Sometimes for a workout I like to just have a solo dance party in my basement though haha!

  23. Deanna on August 29, 2012 at 9:59 am

    I would love to take this type of class. There are no classes anywhere near me (Cleveland, OH). Can you go more into how you found a studio to rent and how you ran the classes. Did you hire instructors and take dues from people? I might be interested in opening one up here. Thanks! I’m obsessed with cardio hip hop. I’ve been taking it for almost a year at two different locations from the same instructor. The problem is people are losing interest and sometimes I’m the only one who shows up to class which in turns becomes cancelled if there is only one person. I come home from the class more frustrated than happy so that’s why I’m searching for something else to get in to.

  24. Victoria @ Running Peanut on August 29, 2012 at 10:03 am

    I agree – DT Orlando is AMAZING! There is no way you’re leaving there not covered in sweat. Love everything about it.

  25. Emily @ Perfection Isn't Happy on August 29, 2012 at 10:11 am

    I’ve never taken Dance Trance, but I would love to if they had it in my area! I wear my Capezio shoes to Zumba. I danced in college, and I figured I might as well still get some use out of them :).

  26. Leslie on August 29, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    I wish we had Dance Trance here. I first saw it on your blog and have wanted a class location in town ever since. We have it in a major city about 45 minutes away (without traffic) but it’s just too much of a weekly drive.

  27. Julie on August 29, 2012 at 2:05 pm

    I haven’t had the opportunity to try Dance Trance, but if we ever get it in my area, I will fer shure! Sounds like something I would love. I’m one of those w/ a dance background who def loves to be challenged. I used to be a Jazzercise junkie. Absolutely LOVED it! When I travelled for work, I would find a studio in whatever city I was in. I also attended several of their nat’l conventions. In fact, I did a Jazzercise class the night before I had my daughter. 🙂 (Sadly, the studio has moved & the location/schedule isn’t do-able anymore.) You have to give it a try. Sounds very similar to DT.

  28. Emily @ Glitz Glam Granola on August 29, 2012 at 3:22 pm

    Ohh Dance Trance sounds like so much fun but I can’t believe it’s not offered anywhere in CA! SAD! I love that it’s a club atmosphere though and that you forget that you are working out- def my fave workouts too! Thank you for the heads up about the choreography though, as I get really upset in classes when I can’t “get it” and disappointed in myself, so it’s nice to know there is a learning curve. I’ll def have to hit up Zumba again though and maybe think about Jazzercize!

  29. ash on August 29, 2012 at 8:00 pm

    Sounds like an awesome workout!

  30. Kelly @ Laughter, Strength, and Food on August 29, 2012 at 10:27 pm

    Loving the Jazzercise reference and I love seeing it on a schedule somewhere! 😉

  31. Lisa on August 31, 2012 at 9:22 pm

    This sounds like SO much fun! Unfortunately there don’t seem to be any studios near me, but if there were, I’d absolutely love to incorporate something like this into my workout plan.

  32. Kelly on September 1, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    Dance Trance is amazing! And funny enough, Katy is the reason that I started taking the classes too 🙂 I just wish I still worked or lived closer to one because even for not being very coordinated when it comes to dancing or being able to remember dance moves, the class was so fun and just being able to let go and tune everyone else out was great fun!

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