After years of getting Angelenos to jump, leap and kick their way through a cardio workout, celebrity trainer Tracy Anderson is taking it to the floor — literally.
Her new dance class Tava (it's a mashup of her initials and va, meaning "go" in Spanish) ditches the jumps in favor of low-impact, Latin-infused choreography done in a hot, humid room.
But just because it's low doesn't mean it's slow — or easy. The nonstop pace of this 60-minute class leaves no room to miss a beat, delivering a high-calorie burn that will leave you in a Lycra puddle by the time you leave.
Walking into Anderson's spare white club in Studio City, the moist heat hits you like sauna. With humidifiers pumping and a thermostat hovering at about 90 degrees to loosen muscles and improve skin "elasticity and tone," you begin to drip sweat after just a few minutes of moving and shaking on Anderson's bouncy Super G floor.
Most people here aren't trained dancers, but they are serious about exercise, much like actress and lifestyle guru Gwyneth Paltrow, Anderson's longtime client and partner, and performer Jennifer Lopez, the Anderson client who helped inspire this class.
Once you get started, the workout moves quickly. There's no stopping or slowing down to break down the dance moves in each combination, just an instructor demonstrating them on the fly.
Of course, the steps aren't exactly complicated, incorporating struts, chest pops, box steps and hip swivels in mostly four-count repetitions. Even I was able to fake it until I made it. And because each combination is repeated many times, there's good chance that you'll catch on to most of the moves by the end.
Once you run through all of the combinations, they're strung together to make one long routine. This is where the class begins to feel more like a performance and less like aerobics. For me, it required so much concentration to keep up with the steps that I forgot about how hard I was working. However, this pace may not be for everyone.
Anderson, who came from a dance background before developing her signature method of dance cardio and high-repetition, low-weight strength work, co-developed this workout with choreographer Tony Gonzalez, who gave Anderson one of her first breaks, casting her in a bit part as a cheerleader at age 17 in the 1994 basketball movie "Blue Chips."
The fusion of Latin, hip-hop and other bouncy dance moves the pair developed is not unlike Zumba. However, the music, from Pitbull to Justin Bieber, is more pop than pachanga.
$45 a class at Anderson's Brentwood and Studio City locations. A Tava DVD is slated to be released this spring.