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Dance Like a Star at Haven on the Lake

By Tracy Dye

It doesn’t matter if you consider yourself a wallflower or the owner of two left feet ﹘﹘ an exciting new fitness program can make you dance (and feel) like a star. Created by world dance champion and Dancing with the Stars pro, Louis van Amstel, LaBlastⓇ is a unique, partner-free dance program that caters to all backgrounds and fitness levels.

“The class is a workout in disguise,” said Megan Cooperman, Columbia Association’s assistant director of group fitness. “It’s very easy to follow and fun. People should come prepared to move, de-stress and have a blast!”

In 2014, van Amstel came to CA to introduce LaBlastⓇ, teach a master class and lead an instructor training. Cooperman was a part of the training and went on to become a LaBlastⓇ Master Trainer. Last May, she assisted van Amstel while he created a LaBlastⓇ Splash program, which involves dance moves in a supportive aquatic environment and is currently available at Haven on the Lake.  

Along with LaBlastⓇ Splash, a LaBlastⓇ and Stretch class is also featured at Haven. LaBlastⓇ and Stretch incorporates the use of weights along with a soothing stretch and cooldown at the end of class. Whether you prefer to take one or both, you can look forward to learning dances showcased on Dancing with the Stars, ranging from the jive to the Viennese Waltz.

“Louis van Amstel believes anyone can dance,” Cooperman said. “LaBlastⓇ is easy to use and easy to follow. It uses basic, simplified moves that anyone can master.”

Like other classes at Haven, LaBlastⓇ is a workout that aims to do more than just boost energy and burn calories. LaBlastⓇ ﹘ and other forms of dance ﹘ can significantly affect mental health.

What does the research say?

Studies have shown that you can literally shake off your stresses through dance. Researchers at the Centre for Health Care Sciences in Sweden found that dance improved the mood and mental health of 112 adolescent girls who exhibited symptoms of anxiety, depression, stress and pain.

In the study ﹘ which was originally published in Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine ﹘﹘ a majority of the participants who were assigned weekly intervention that included dance training reported improvement in their symptoms. The participants also reported that they noticed improvements eight months after completing the study.

Cutting a rug can also strengthen your social skills. According to a study from Oxford University, exertive dancing can trigger the brain to release a generous amount of “feel good” chemicals known as endorphins, which caused participants to feel more engaged with others. Of the 264 Brazilian students who participated in the study, the group who exerted the most energy while dancing also showed signs of the highest endorphin release.

Other studies have shown that dance can be used to improve cognitive functioning by increasing muscle memory and alleviating certain conditions like chronic dizziness.

Get started

Ready to dust off your dancing shoes? Check out a full list of classes here or call 410-715-3020 for more information. Don’t forget to like us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep up with the latest happenings.

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