Hip-Hopping For Fun And Fitness

Hip-hop dancing isn’t just for people under 30, as MidWeek learned in visiting several dance studios, because it’s a great workout

Zona Jones hits a pose while Allen Farinas
follows along at the Honolulu Club’s hip-hop class

Feel the beat of techno, contemporary or mainstream music blend together for a hip-hop mix of heart-thumping, adrenaline-rushing activity. Let the rhythm move you, because dancing to hip-hop is a great way to stay in shape and get fit at any age.

Just take a look at the ladies at the Honolulu Club. These strong, sexy women ranging in age from 20- somethings to seniors are taking hiphop classes.

Dressed in black tights and a Local Motion baby-T, Salome Sato has been taking classes for a year.

“I love the workout because it’s a challenge to do the routines,” says Sato, who is also involved in square dancing. It may be a challenge, but Sato keeps up with the class, and as a proud senior citizen, she stays trim and fit.

At 5-feet-2-inches tall and 102 pounds, her slim build and toned frame only illustrate that age is just a state of mind and the way you look is all up to you. “I love the workout, and this is a new form of dancing that I’ve never done before: I like it better than aerobics.”

In the Honolulu Club’s hip-hop dance class, Nara Takakawa,
Salome Sato and June Toma-Rose execute the choreography

At 68, Sato is a proud grandma and an active senior citizen working as a substitute teacher and as a line dancing instructor.

Sato says, “Being fit is physical and mental, and I see my generation as being more active.”

Along with Sato, there are several other women who take the class to stay in shape. June Toma-Rose is 55, and at 5 feet 2 inches and 110 pounds, she is in great shape. Her small frame and upbeat personality reveal a woman who’s still on the go. “I
enjoy the class,” says Toma- Rose. “I’ve been doing it for a year and I think it keeps the body young.

“There are not too many places that you can go to dance when you’re my age, but I like to hang out with my friends and have a good time,” she says. “I go to Rumours, maybe once a month and I like to go to private parties.”

Getting into the dance, Frances Shimomura
breaks a sweat

Zona Jones is 36 and she’s also been doing hip-hop for a year. “It’s more creative and if we have the routine down pat, it’s rewarding,” says Jones. “I also do Pilates and yoga and when I get the chance I go out to Pipeline Café or the Wave Waikiki.”

These women prove that you can be active at any age and there is no age limit to having fun or when you can get in shape.

As Hanson Nguyen, a hip-hop class instructor at the Honolulu Club, picks up the steps and counts off, “And one, two, three and four,” they all move in sync to the beat of Goodies by Ciara:

I’m no rookie.
And still I’m
Sexy, independent
I ain’t wit’ it so you already know.

Honolulu Club instructor Hansen
Nguyen keeps beat for the class

These women aren’t rookies and they’re still sexy and independent. But they’re not alone.

Chastity Ferrer, a 21-year-old dance student at Allegra Performing Arts Center, says, “I initially came to dance because I was running for Ms. Asia International and I wanted to lose weight.”

It’s hard to believe that the 5- feet- 3-inch-tall Ferrer could be more than 100 pounds, but she says that working out at the studio paid off. She says she’s in shape now because of the exercise and routines she learned in dance class. “I lost 20 pounds from taking hip-hop classes continuously with dieting,” she says.

Ferrer was a cheerleader in high school and always loved dance.

“Hip-hop class gives me time away from my busy schedule and I can have fun.”

As instructor Gary Rodrigues pumps up the volume and counts off, everyone does twists and turns, along with the upbeat tempo. A young crowd of varied ages and experiences from novice on up fills the room. It is obvious that hip-hop has a wide appeal.

At age 12, Sami Kane has been dancing since she was 3. “The first time I danced my mom made me do ballet, but then I saw my friends doing hiphop and I wanted to try it,” Kane says. “I’ve loved it ever since.” So now it’s your chance to get out there. Feel the beat and get the rhythm down. Learn to do a few routines and the best street moves that make you look like an ace on the dance floor. Toward the end of your first class, you’ll feel like a pro and maybe with one more lesson you could be. You’ll look sassy, sexy and hot, and then all you need is a popular club and your best friends to make it a great night to show off your skills and look good anywhere you go.

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