Ballroom Burn: It’s a ‘joyful’ workout that blasts calories

People doing yoga poses on mats on grass next to trees and a mountain at Wanderlust Squaw Valley.
Yoga, sports, hikes, meditation and talks are all part of Wanderlust Squaw Valley.

A midsummer yoga retreat, a fitness and music festival, getting in a ‘Ballroom Burn’ and affordable barre — these are just a few ways to stay active as we delve into the heart of summer:

Are you up for a last-minute getaway? You need to act now: A new offering at the upcoming Wanderlust Squaw Valley in North Lake Tahoe is a series of “immersion” classes, eight-hour sessions predicated on yoga, meditation and self-development. These are in addition to dozens of shorter yoga and mindfulness classes, talks and musical events that are the hallmark of Wanderlust. Another change to the annual event, said spokesperson Elliot Jeffords, is the addition of stand-up paddle boarding and aerial yoga as part of the regular repertoire instead of being add-ons, and a talk by Chris Underwood, who in May won “Survivor: Edge of Extinction.” There are also farm-to-table dinners, opportunities to zip-line, hikes, cardio classes, Pilates and, of course, “forest bathing.”

Info: Through Sunday, 1960 Squaw Valley Road, Olympic Valley. One-day tickets start at $121.08, which includes three activities. Accommodation and food extra.


In its fourth year, the Propel Co: Labs Fitness Festival has moved from its previous West Hollywood location to more expansive digs in Santa Monica.

“It’s our biggest festival yet in terms of scale and size,” said Laura Barnett, senior brand director of Propel water. “We wanted to create that true festival experience, where attendees can bounce between different workout lounges and studios, relaxation zones and wellness tents.” More than 50 classes will be held over the two days, including those run by A-list trainers such as Gunnar Peterson and Harley Pasternak. Celebrities such as Lucy Hale and Ciara will also co-lead classes with their respective trainers, and there will be panels led by former model Katie Wilcox and SoulCycle instructor Akin Akman and mindfulness sessions by Mario Godiva.


“We’re offering a wider variety of programming, so there is something for everyone, at every level,” said Barnett. If you want a super sweaty workout, you can get it, but if you want to do a more reset and relaxation, that’s here too.” Food trucks from Amazebowls and Sweetgreens, a meditation dome and access to massages and hair braiding will round out the weekend.

Info: Saturday and Sunday, July 20 and 21, at the Barker Hangar, 3021 Airport Ave. Tickets are $65 to $190 for unlimited classes inside the hangar and from three to five classes per day on other stages.


Using traditional ballroom moves including the cha cha, merengue, mambo and samba, an upcoming “Ballroom Burn” class will burn calories and get every muscle working, says organizer and instructor Steve Valentine.

“With ballroom dance, you average 600 steps per hour and are constantly moving,” said Valentine, a former competitive ballroom dancer. “But it’s a joyful kind of exercise because you’re dancing to cool music like the Supremes, Shawn Mendes and Lizzo.”

Attendees at the 75-minute class won’t need a partner and can be at any level of fitness, said Valentine. The session starts with a warm-up and then dancers will be led across the floor “like an old-fashioned line dance,” incorporating ab, leg and hip work. The class ends with three choreographed pieces. After, attendees will have the option to stay for brunch.

Info: 10 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. July 28 on the rooftop of the Kimpton La Peer Hotel, 627 N. La Peer Drive. $25 per person; a portion of proceeds go to the American Cancer Society. Brunch additional. Tickets at


Wanting to bring barre-style classes to everyone was the primary goal of Corinne Wainer, co-founder of Shaktibarre, which has three locations in New York and launched its first Los Angeles pop-up series this month.

Too often, Wainer said, “barre is quite homogeneous in its pricing, culture and body type. In yoga, there is a more welcoming attitude. ... Barre has taken a lot longer to transition into an inclusive space. It doesn’t feel accessible.”

So, she said, she’s trying to change that: She’s brought Shaktibarre to yoga studios in Echo Park and Santa Monica; classes present the typical barre-type workout — inspired in part by ballet moves, and small movements focus on specific sets of muscles — but also include yoga asanas, or postures. (The workout does not require the special socks that most barre programs do.)

“Barre is about toning and lengthening, but we also want to awaken your body and mind,” said Wainer. “It’s about being kind and present, and not getting lost in the headphones and mirrors.”

Info: Classes run until end of August at Yogala Studios, 1840 Echo Park Ave., and the Space Santa Monica, 3009 Lincoln Blvd. New clients pay $35 for one week of unlimited classes; thereafter, $24 per class. (Discounts available for those on a limited income.) Additional packages available.