Worried about coming to a dance-fitness class? Breathe deeply, take the plunge and give it some ZAZZ!

‘When a challenge lies ahead, and you are filled with dread and worry, give it some zazz.’ The Prom.

One of my favourite fitness routines in the Chichi-Fit programme is ‘Zazz’ from the musical, ‘The Prom.’ So what’s ‘zazz’ and what has it got to do with exercise?

According to the song, Zazz is style plus confidence – and some people are just born with it. At her christening, my 18-month-old daughter treated the congregation to her own unique rendition of ‘Bye Bye Blackbird,’ pulling faces, waving in a Queen-like manner and blowing the christening candle out. It was the first of many memorable performances. A year later a woman ran up to me in the street exclaiming ‘you’re the one with the performing baby!’ My ‘baby’ went on to become a dancer and she still has ‘zazz.’

You don’t have to have ‘zazz’ to attend a dance-fitness class but, over a few weeks or months, your zazz will definitely develop. One of my SOSA class members told me at the outset that she had ‘two left feet’ but a year later at our Christmas party she won a prize for her dancing!

So many people are hesitant about coming to class – for a whole variety of reasons. They are worried they won’t know anyone, that they are not fit enough, that they’ll feel out of place and – I get this a lot – they’re too old to start.

To all those people I would like to say, come to class. You’ll soon know lots of people, the idea is to go to class to get fit and your fitness levels will gradually improve. You certainly won’t be out of place – there’s a warm welcome for everyone – and if your instructor is in her 60s, then you’re certainly not too old.

I offer a lot of options and alternatives for those who are building their fitness. I am not perfect: I have physical issues as many of us ‘mature’ women do. I forget routines all the time – often in the middle of teaching – but it raises a laugh and we move on. In fact, we laugh quite a lot.

Join a class and you’ll find that dance-exercise classes will boost your confidence and self-esteem, relieve stress and help you widen your social circle.

My own, wonderful instructor/trainer, the late Christina Donoghue, once told me to remember that fitness classes should always be about the class members and never about us, the instructors. She said that for some people, it might be the only hour in the week that they get time for themselves; they may be going through a really bad time at home or at work – but in the hour they spend in class they are able to forget everything for a short while.

Joining a class, you might surprise yourself with your abilities and your new-found ‘zazz.’ Over the last 12 years, since I first came back to Huddersfield, a group of my class members have performed with me at numerous shows, galas and festivals. They could never have imagined that they would and most were nervous the first few times but none of us have ever looked back.

My ‘team’ has never questioned the outfits I’ve given them to wear – from Minnie-mouse style spotted skirts to army camouflage and even wedding dresses. They have rehearsed, practised at home and turned up in all weathers. At one show, we were power-hooping, knee deep in mud in the pouring rain, wearing wellington boots. We laughed and danced and sang our way through everything.

Some of those team members are still with me, coming to lessons and performing at our fabulous Christmas parties. Last week some of them joined me for the first public Chichi-Fit performance in West Yorkshire. We’re always looking for new people to join us.

Performing together has been – and remains – wonderfully satisfying. We have so many shared memories and, most importantly, it’s a bonding experience because we really do work as a team. No-one tries to ‘outshine’ anyone else. The professional dancers and seasoned performers ‘tone things’ down just a touch and the less experienced ‘up their game’ just a touch – so we blend perfectly. It’s given us all added confidence and it’s created some truly strong and lasting friendships.

My aim is always to provide a fun-filled exercise class that everyone can enjoy. If you’re worried about coming to class – please don’t be. You’ll be made very welcome. So come along and give it some ‘zazz’ – you may have to fake it at first, but it won’t be long before you feel so confident you don’t need to.

Worried about coming to a dance-fitness class? Breathe deeply, take the plunge and give it some ZAZZ!