Forget Zumba the latest craze takes dance fitness to a whole new level. Emma Harrowing finds out what is making our region jump to a whole new beat.

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The addictive club classics beat rips through the fitness studio making over half a dozen pairs of feet, arms and lungs pump to the catchy beats. All move in unison encouraged by the fitness instructor’s slight of hand which forms the letter ‘L’. No one is trying to count steps and not many of the class have any dance training and yet they move to the music in time and the atmosphere is electric.

“This is Bokwa,” says Bokwa fitness instructor Vicky Lee. “It’s a new fitness dance craze from South America which is quickly spreading the globe. Bokwa is a cardio workout routine where you draw letters and numbers with your feet to feel-good music instead of counting steps like a traditional eight count.

“It’s suitable for anyone of any age and any size. I recently taught a class at Bannatynes that was mainly people in their 60s and 70s.”

Without having to count steps you can relax and enjoy the music instead of screwing up your face as you miss count a beat and find yourself floundering around to keep up. Like many exercise classes there are different levels so you can work at your own pace, increasing the amount of effort you put in week on week so that you quickly improve your fitness levels.

“You can burn between 700 and 1000 calories during one class,” says Vicky. “It’s a great workout as it is fun to learn the moves and then once you have mastered them you can really own the steps, enjoy the music and dance to the beats. Even people who think they cannot dance will find that they can quickly pick up the moves.”

Vicky is no stranger to dance. When she went to dance classes at The Talk on Oak Street in the late 90s the rhythmic beats took hold of her and she soon became part of a tribute act to one of the girl groups at the time Bewitched.

“I can remember not really being into Bewitched but I loved to dance and this led to me being part of a theatre tour where I impersonated Kylie and Britney Spears,” says Vicky. “Dance then became my career and I danced with Ministry of Sound, spent time as a professional dancer on cruise ships, I did the Ibiza scene and I was a dancer for the Michael Jackson World Music Tour.”

Now Vicky lives in Toftwood near Dereham and she plans to take Norfolk by storm with her Bokwa classes.

Vicky says: “When I first found out about Bokwa I was impressed by how intense the workout can be. Music can give you so much energy that many people who have taken one of my classes have said that they feel like they have had a good workout and feel like they are ready for anything.

“I run classes in Norwich and Dereham at the moment but I’m looking for other areas to start classes. Bokwa is an exercise class that anyone can do; I want to make sure that everyone has access to a class so that they can join in the fun and get fit at the same time.”

Vicky has Bokwa classes on Wednesdays between 7 and 8pm at Fitness First on Riverside and on Tuesdays between 6 and 7pm at Dereham Neatherd High School. For more information contact Vicky Lee on 07527 042933.

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