Even dancers who train regularly need additional cardio and strength training, and many non-dancers are looking for a way to get the benefits of regular exercise alongside the feeling of expressive movement. Lucky for everyone mentioned, BETC LA and Benjamin Millepied’s L.A. Dance Project just introduced LA Dance Workout. For $14.99 a month or $35.99 for three months, the online subscription platform provides elegantly crafted workouts, choreographed and led by the energetic and creative dancers of the L.A. Dance Project. Users connect with the art of dance and the joy of fitness, working with – not against – their body. The workouts focus on the benefits of dance to obtain a leaner and stronger figure, as well as improved posture, flexibility and endurance.
Dance Informa spoke with Rachelle Rafailedes, L.A. Dance Project dancer, and Clarisse Lacarrau, MD of BETC LA, to learn more.
What inspired the creation of LA Dance Workout?
“The idea came from Benjamin’s strong belief that dance could change your life, allowing you to reconnect with your body, and also bringing joy and pleasure. We wanted to spread the word, but we were very aware that dance is very intimate for most of us. So we thought about what might happen if we brought dance to the thing that people are doing most with their time: working out. It is a way to re-invent fitness though dance, though the joy of movement, and ride this new trend where the body is no longer just a performance machine.”
Who is an ideal user of the LA Dance Workout, and what skill level is recommended for utilizing these workouts?
“It could be anyone, but we designed it for people who love to add a cultural layer to anything they do. Mostly women under 40, tech savvy and who crave something inspiring, not just efficient. The workout platform has been designed for everyone; no skill level is needed. You just jump into it and let yourself enjoy it, and slowly you’ll see progress.”
Describe the online interface and how it impacts the experience.
“The interface has been designed so you get the feeling of being with a dance coach. In addition to the voiceover, each move is chapterized, so you can learn the way dancers do – through the art of repetition for more precision and therefore more impact on your body. It’s a unique, easy-to-use and playful interface that gives users a lot of freedom. We thought it was time to challenge the fitness world of bossy apps!”
How did the partnership of BETC LA and LA Dance Project transpire?
“It’s a unique partnership between a super artistic and creative mind, Benjamin Millepied, and us (BETC LA); we’re very like-minded. The idea was to apply our strategic and creative communication savoir-faire to L.A. Dance Project, to support Benjamin’s message that dance can change your life. We co-created the entire platform together. The partnership is tight as we are sharing the IP of the platform.”
Describe the choreographic process for the LA Dance Workout.
“We talked and shared our point of view and expectations and then offered the L.A. Dance Project team one week of prototyping phase. From there, the dancers, the music and most of the talent worked their way through it, and it was pure magic. As if it was effortless.”
The videography and locations for the LA Dance Workout videos are beautiful. Why was the choice made to shoot all the videos on location, rather than in a traditional studio setting?
“As I said, there is nothing more intimate than a dance studio. We wanted to inspire movement, to unleash some kind of joy and energy and use the city of LA as a set. Not just because it’s where Benjamin’s company is settled; it’s also the most inspiring place ever. Also, as you might do these exercises at home, we thought it would be great to give a feeling of openness, especially in the winter days, when nothing motivates you to work out.”
What most excites you about this project?
“What excites me most about this project is that LA Dance Workout is going to bring the joy of dance to those who otherwise might not experience it. I often hear ‘I can’t dance’ from friends, and I think to myself, ‘That’s not true. Everyone can dance!’ LA Dance Workout isn’t about achieving a specific body aesthetic through hours of monotonous labor; it’s about the joy of moving your body to music. The participant will no doubt get a workout, but they will also experience the feeling of freedom and self-expression that comes along with dancing. I think that is a very special thing.”
What was fun and/or challenging about the process of choreographing for and filming the videos on location?
“It was such an amazing experience filming these videos all around Los Angeles. The city is so varied in the locations it has to offer, and it was a treat getting to dance and workout in all of them. The filming was so fun, even when I struggled to find my balance on a slightly uneven path in Echo Park or on the sand in Malibu. Getting to dance in locations that aren’t typical venues for the art form is always an exciting thing. It really brings a full experience to the workouts.
When we began to design the individual workouts for LA Dance Workout, we thought about our own routines when we are preparing our body to dance. We decided to base some of the workouts on targeting specific body parts such as legs and arms while having others be focused on a full-body workout experience. Letting the music guide us, we took elements of ballet, modern and contemporary dance to make movement phrases that are unique and fun but also push the participant physically.
I believe LA Dance Workout is about changing up the monotony that can come along with other at-home workout programs. As dancers, we often use our surroundings as sources of inspiration for movement, so taking the participant outside of the studio and into beautiful locations shows that dance can happen anywhere and for anyone. Everyone can benefit both physically and emotionally from dance; it isn’t solely reserved for professionals in a studio.”
View a few LA Dance Workouts below.
By Emily Yewell Volin of Dance Informa.