Don’t be tired when you show up to Grit Fitness. I knew this because of a previous class, and yet, here I was, exhausted after a long day at work as I drove down SMU Boulevard for a Dance Club Cardio class.
The explicit version of the dance class requires you to be 18 or older, and I had no idea what that meant. Would it just be the non-radio edits of music? Or are we twerking?
The class started normally enough. The instructor led us through stretching and gave us a pep talk about releasing stress and frustration through our movement. She also asked us if we were aware of the class’ reputation. She warned that it would be “a lot.” My stomach twisted.
Once we got started, I understood why this class was age 18 and up. It was so NSFW, I fretted how I was going to write about it—omg, my boss is gonna read this—in the middle of class. Some of it was PG: we did grapevines in almost eight-count, we ran and hopped up and down the room. We struck poses and shadow boxed. Some of it toed the line to PG-13: we did enough bend and snaps to make Elle Woods proud.
Then it gets rated R: there was twerking in pretty much every combination. “When in doubt, shake that ass out,” the instructor called out. And, well: I. Can’t. Twerk. I don’t know if it’s a disability thing or an “I’m awkward” thing, but it’s a move I cannot nail. I wasn’t alone. Most of the other women in the class couldn’t really twerk either. My embarrassment disappeared quickly, and I just enjoyed the dancing.
We danced to a hip-hop and trap playlist that was so loud, I wasn’t registering the actual lyrics until the instructor changed one of the songs. My ears were ringing, and I could barely hear the instructor, even though she was mic’ed. Sometime in the middle of class, the instructor had to turn it down to make sure we understood the combination she was teaching us. But she later cranked it back up for a remix of Sam Smith’s “Body Shop,” and it was a lot of fun.
You need an excess of energy to get through this class. I did not have enough to do everything at full power. But the instructor hyped us up. She’d shout out encouragements and egged us on to push harder. She’d also stop in front of individual dancers, myself included, to gas us up.
That helped, but the class got even more intense at the end. It’s like the instructor had a hidden surge of adrenaline. I don’t know how—I could barely grapevine at this point—but she was literally bouncing all over the place. At one point she did an impressive roll and side move across the entire studio, and then did handstand twerks off the walls. (We were not expected to match her gymnastics.)
Despite the intensity, and the twerking, this class was all about joyful movement. At times, we were just flinging our bodies around, like that episode in Friends, when Phoebe and Rachel go running. We were encouraged to let go of our inhibitions. It was freeing. The class also happened to be all women. I appreciated this. It made the class feel more about women accessing our own power and joy without worry or reticence, and it was exciting.
When the 45-minute class finally ended, I felt weirdly energized and exhausted at the same time. As we filed out, the instructor called out, “You better wash your hair tonight!” It wasn’t a hair wash night for me, but when I staggered back to my car, I felt my nearly soaking scalp. I knew she was right.
While this location isn’t as big, shiny, or new as the Design District Grit Fitness, it has an attic feel, which is cool. The studio itself has lots of mirrors to check form. This block of SMU Boulevard also has tons of restaurants and bars, if you want to partake some Torchy’s Tacos or a drink after class—just drink some water first.
Like the other Grit Fitness class I took, the biggest issue I faced was the pace. The dancing is nonstop, and you’ve got to be full energy the entire time. You don’t have to worry too much about memorizing dance combinations. The instructor would teach us a few eight-counts in a row, then we’d do a few more. Instead of making us do everything we’d learn from the beginning, like most of the dance classes I’ve taken, we just moved on after the count was done.
I’ve been more to more accessible classes, but I’ve also been to less. A nice thing about this class is that there isn’t any equipment, weights, or machines you must use—it’s just you and what your body can or can’t do. The instructor also seemed in-tune with our abilities and how we were feeling. She offered a few modifications, turned the music down when we needed, and cranked up the fans when she saw us struggling.
The Cost of It All
A drop-in class is $28. Grit Fitness also has a variety of class packs and membership packages. Monthly in-studio memberships start at $79 and virtual memberships are from $49. The intro offer has changed some, though. Now, you can get two weeks of free classes for $39. Remember, if you’re late/miss class, there’s a $15 fee. But I had to reschedule this class several times—as long as you cancel early enough, you can transfer your credit to a new time easily in the app.
Would I Go Back?
Yes, but I’d probably chug a Red Bull first.