Sexy, Sultry, Strong
When I started my journey, I had a few goals in mind. True to Chontel form, in walking before I crawl, I decided that I wanted to become a certified dance fitness instructor. I loved to dance, and dance fitness classes are how I got started participating in fitness activities, so it just seemed like a natural decision.
I have been to several Zumba classes that I thoroughly enjoyed, but I wanted to do something “different”. I considered a few local options but it wasn’t until I went to Detroit in August of 2014 that I met Nadelle who introduced me to Socacize and Caribana. My initial response to when she asked me if I was interested in Socacize was “What is Socacize”? She briefly explained and my interest and curiosity were piqued. Once I returned to Louisiana, I immediately called Ayanna, the founder and decided at that very moment that I would be going to Toronto, Canada to become a Socacize instructor.
The time finally arrived and my family and I took a 24 hour pilgrimage to Toronto. Initially I wanted to fly alone, but I figured it could be a nice family vacation and the kids would get a chance to use their passports and visit a different place. The drive was long, but the experience was worth it. During the training class, we met the founder, learned the mission and history and were critiqued by our instructors and peers. I made some great connections and had an amazing time.
While I was there, I wanted to attend as many classes as possible since there wouldn’t be any local classes once I returned home. The most memorable was a 3 hour boot camp. I left there feeling sexy, sultry, and strong but also sweaty and sore. Socacize combined almost every type of dance that I had taken inclusive of African, Latin, Hip-hop, Dancehall, etc.. I was like YES!!!! I can’t wait to do this.
I spoke with Ayanna several times throughout the week and she encouraged me to teach a class before I left Toronto. The pressure was on, but I was up for the challenge. I spent the Thanksgiving break creating a routine, inclusive of signature moves to teach at a local facility.
The time had finally arrived and I admit that I was nervous. There I was prepared to teach a fitness class, something I had never done before, but I did it anyway. First off, I didn’t have a CD and my music wouldn’t play on the computer, so my routine was basically sabotaged. However, attendees were there, the founder was watching and I had traveled to another country to do this, so I put my game face on, smiled and taught my very first Socacize class.
Once the class ended, Ayanna commended me for persevering in spite of the circumstances. She said that she thought that I had what it took to be a certified instructor and I received a certificate, a hearty congratulations and I was official. I couldn’t wait to get home to teach. But time passed and I never made time to create another routine or find a venue. A part of me thinks that it was out of fear of ridicule due to my fuller figure, but in introducing myself and the idea to others, I’ve received nothing but positive responses.
But I still procrastinated and it wasn’t until I went to the Purpose Fest and met Howard White that I made up my mind that I would no longer put it off. As I stood in front of a room of people, I declared that I would no longer defer my vision and actually utilize my investment. I had two people who volunteered to be accountability partners, Maylia and Soroya and to date, they’ve held me accountable. I taught my first class at Maylia’s Young Living event in November and dropped the ball again due to knee problems. But as fate would have it, I was given another opportunity to teach at a local dance studio, so I happily accepted. Soroya was excited and we even met to practice create and practice my blossoming routine.
I’ll now digress from the preface and get to the question that is always posed, “What is Socacize?” Socacize Fitness is a creative blend of Caribbean and African dance movements set to calypso, soca, chutney, zouk, reggae, salsa, dancehall and on occasion drum music. This exhilarating dance fitness workout is broken down into four sections: Bachannal Warm-up, Cardio Soca Jam, Wine & Tone and Groovy Stretch. This combination targets all age group and sets the platform for a fun-filled total body workout burning up to 1000 calories per hour. I could go on and on and on about what it is, but it’s something that you just have to experience.
I’ll be teaching this class every Wednesday from 5-6:00 pm at Violet Lotus Dance Studio (4213 Government Street). I’m excited to share this workout with the people of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. If you’re reading this then I hope to see you one day at a jam session. Check out the Be Phactive Facebook and Instagram pages to stay abreast of activities, inclusive of future Socacize classes.
Chontel J. Parker, Ph.D.