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Hey L.A., here are 4 ways to level up your fitness

Hey L.A., here are 4 ways to level up your fitness
Freestyle dance is at the heart of a two-hour movement workshop in Frogtown. (Moved LA)

Freeform dance-cardio, the meaning behind mantras, women's self-defense and a free workout in the park — here's what's happening on the local wellness scene in April.

Moved LA, a "creative movement space" in the Los Angeles area known as Frogtown, will hold workshops in April where people are encouraged to dance like no one is watching.

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"I wanted to take out the rigid feeling of a stereotypical dance class," said Moved LA founder Sarah Rodenhouse. "I like the feeling I get when I'm improvising rather than performing a piece of choreography that someone else has made up."

The two-hour classes kick off with participants compiling a playlist of songs they'd like to shimmy to, followed by 50 minutes of freestyle dance that is sure to burn plenty of calories. After, they can socialize over champagne or — naturally — kombucha.

Info: 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. April 3 and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. April 12. 2926 Gilroy St., Los Angeles. Cost is by donation; $20 suggested. Register at movedla.com

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If you've ever wanted to know more about the hypnotic chanting that accompanies some yoga and meditation sessions, check out "Mantra — Sounds Into Silence," a documentary about kirtan, the style of soulful group singing that has its roots in Indian Vedic traditions. ("Mantra" is Sanskrit for chant.)

The movie, which will have its Los Angeles premiere on Friday, was directed by Georgia Wyss. She charts the history of kirtan, interviews musicians who have made the practice accessible and talks to medical professionals about the physical and mental benefits of chanting.

Info: "Mantra — Sounds Into Silence" premiere followed by a Q&A with Wyss, 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. April 6. Laemmle Santa Monica, 1332 2nd St. Tickets are $10 for children and $13 for adults. After, audience members are invited to nearby yoga studio Bhakti Yoga Shala for a kirtan session. The movie will play at Laemmle Santa Monica until April 12. laemmle.com, mantramovie.com

A still from the documentary shows Grammy-nominated sacred music composer Jai Uttal leading kirtan at the San Quentin State Prison.Credit.
A still from the documentary shows Grammy-nominated sacred music composer Jai Uttal leading kirtan at the San Quentin State Prison.Credit. (Wari Om)

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The Gardens at the Beverly Hilton will be the location of an upcoming self-defense class for women hosted by Nia Sanchez, who holds a fourth-degree black belt in taekwondo. The former Miss USA title-holder will run two separate sessions — on Saturday, March 31, and then again April 14 — showing women essential moves to protect themselves.

"The class is heavily based on escape techniques, both standing up or on the ground," said the Los Angeles-based Sanchez. "If a woman finds herself in a physical confrontation, she should know how to get away safely. It's for women of any size, shape or age." Proceeds from the class will be earmarked for women's shelters. Refreshments will be served, and a photo booth will be on site. The first 50 women to sign up for each session will receive a goodie bag. Dress in workout or yoga gear.

Info: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 14, The Gardens, Beverly Hilton, 9876 Wilshire Blvd, Beverly Hills. $30 if registering online at eventbrite.com. $35 at the door.

Taekwando black belt Nia Sanchez is teaching self-defense moves to women in Beverly Hills.
Taekwando black belt Nia Sanchez is teaching self-defense moves to women in Beverly Hills. (Bobby Quillard)

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Mark April 18 down for an outdoor group workout and health fair — around 500 people are expected. The event, held at an 80-acre park in Sylmar, is organized by 3 Wins Fitness, which holds free fitness classes in public parks, recreation centers and churches around Southern California, in conjunction with nonprofit exercise certification organization, the American Council on Exercise.

Cedric Bryant, chief science officer of the ACE, said the event is also a way to get the word out about the free exercise programs in communities whose members may not otherwise have access to regular workouts. The classes — held in areas including Los Angeles, North Hills, Panorama City and Canoga Park — are run by college students majoring in kinesiology at Cal State Northridge.

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"Health clubs can be viewed as an elite thing, especially in Los Angeles," said Bryant. "They are not within a lot of individuals' budgets." The April 18 event is open to anyone and will also encompass an education summit about fitness and diabetes.

Info: 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 18. Registration starts at 7:30 a.m., and exercise classes start at 8:30 a.m. with separate workouts geared to seniors, beginners, people who are already active and those who are "high fit." El Cariso Community Regional Park, 13100 Hubbard St., Sylmar. acefitness.org, 3winsfitness.com

Regular free workouts are offered by CSUN students of kinesiology around Los Angeles.
Regular free workouts are offered by CSUN students of kinesiology around Los Angeles. (Carmen Anthony)

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