If you want to combine some fun with a good workout, try LaBlast. It’s a dance fitness program created by choreographer Louis Van Amstel, of Dancing with the Stars fame. Amstel likes to say, “If you can clap it, you can dance it.” Clapping the timing of the dance is the first step in understanding the rhythms and being able to execute them correctly, according to him.
That’s exactly what happens during Cindy Beaver’s LaBlast class at the Lewes Senior Center on Wednesdays and Fridays. It’s clear that her students (mostly women) are having the time of their lives, judging by the expressions on their faces and the fact that many of them feel compelled to sing along with the tunes being played like “You Make Me Feel So Young” and “Bye, Bye Love”.
“LaBlast is a perfect balance of dance and fitness,” says Beaver. “This ‘workout in disguise’ will get you moving to dances like the Jive, Salsa, Quickstep, Paso Doble, Viennese waltz, Cha Cha, Lindy Hop, Foxtrot, and many more”.
LaBlast is partner free and uses a wide variety of music throughout the class program. Students follow Beaver along to simple patterns and can progress at their own rate. “The premise was simple,” added Beaver: “Create a partner-free dance program that anyone could participate in and learn to dance while getting fit and having fun”.
Van Amslel’s LaBlast web site includes a link to a week of free online classes which is a convenient way for people to decide whether they like if or not.
Beaver started teaching dance fitness in 1981. She got involved with LaBlast after taking a class in her hometown of Lebanon, PA at a local YMCA. In her younger years, she was a competitive gymnast who majored in Health and Physical Education. She taught grades 7-12 right out of college but her dream was to build, run and operate her own gymnastics school/facility that also included a dance and fitness studio. She ran the business in MIfflintown, PA for 25 years.
Beaver says that people enroll in her class “because we dance, we have fun, we sweat and get a great cardio workout. Class is filled with great music from all genres with a small section of resistance training with light hand weights”.
Suzanne Kricker of Lewes, says LaBlast helps her fill out what she calls her “exercise puzzle” that also includes Tai Chi. Her “puzzle” includes doing something active every day.
Beaver also teaches other formats of fitness classes including something called LaBlast Splash. It is an aqua class also created by Louis Van Amstel. More specifically, LaBlast Splash is a shallow aqua dance fitness workout based on Ballroom Dancing. It is partner-free, includes water weight training, and uses a wide variety of music in the program. She teaches this class at the Sussex YMCA and in the summer at many outdoor pools in different communities
Beaver also conducts various classes at the Cape Henlopen Senior Center, Rehoboth Beach Yacht and Country Club and Bay Crossing. She is also a certified Personal Trainer and has started doing in-home personal training sessions for people in their homes. She works with them on cardio training and resistance training which includes light hand weights, resistance bands, balls, and TRX (Suspension Training System).
Contact the Lewes Senior Center for LaBlast and other fitness programs.
By Mary Jo Tarallo, Guest Journalist
Mary Jo Tarallo spent much of her career in public relations with various non-profits and spent 40 years involved with the ski industry as a journalist, public relations director for a national trade association and as executive director of the Learn to Ski and Snowboard initiative. Prior to her ski industry involvement she worked for the Maryland International Center in Baltimore and United Way of Central Maryland. She won a Gold Award for TV programming for a United Way simulcast that starred Oprah Winfrey. She has been cited for her work by numerous organizations. Mary Jo grew up in Baltimore, attended the University of Maryland and Towson University, lived in Washington, DC for 21 years and has been a full time resident of Rehoboth Beach and Milton since May 2019.