By Dawn Aerts
Iron County Today
CEDAR CITY–Yes, you can burn between 500 to 800 calories in each class. While most exercise enthusiasts are accustomed to the basics of such popular programs as Silver Slippers, Jazzercise, along with the hops, skips and squats of a music workout, there is a new program in town called ‘BollyX.’
It is the Bhandgra dance movements inspired by the ‘Bollywood’ movie industry that mixes international choreography with the movements and music rooted in India. Stephanie Clancy, a BollyX fitness instructor, earned a minor in World Dance, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Recreation Therapy at Brigham Young University before teaching classes at VASA and Spirit Wellness.
“I love that this particular fitness program helps people exercise without feeling like are exercising,” said Clancy of students. “I am raising a small family that keeps me busy, but I find that this is a creative outlet for me as a full-time ‘Mom’ and is energizing in terms of mental and physical health.”
Clancy’s classes take her and the class into the world of Bollywood for a few hours each week.
“Since recreation is a form of therapy,” said Clancy, “I taught classes at the Utah State Hospital where my job focused on providing fitness, drama, social skills and community integration for people with disabilities.” She likewise volunteered at Primary Children’s Behavior Health program before offering fitness class here.
According to Clancy, the CEO of BollyX is a man who co-founded the idea among fitness programs dominated by women. “The choreography is gender-neutral so men and women can enjoy the movement,” said Clancy. “The catch phrase for our class is to ‘unleash your inner rock star,’ so it’s really about the fitness ‘swagger’ and how to enjoy dance-movement.”
Each session includes a series of squats, and extensive arm choreography to help strengthen leg and upper body muscles, along with some high-impact movements to include hops and skips for a high-intensity cardio workout.
As a BYU student, Clancy performed and toured with the International Folk Dance Team that visited up to 50 elementary schools each spring to demonstrate folk dances from around the world.
“Many of these movements express the unique aspects of a culture, through dance,” said Clancy. “For example, India has a harvest dance called ‘Bahangra’ that reflects people throwing seeds and then harvesting crops. They are also known for a dance that represents the movement of elephants as a sacred element.”
According to Clancy, BollyX movements are upbeat, percussive and energetic, with distinct instrument sounds like the Dhol drum of Bhangra. “There are pieces of a song that have English words, but most lyrics are in the native Indian tongue,” said Clancy, “Some Bollywood movements are similar to the Latin genre, but Bhangra is a dance style that uses the left leg to lead, paired with the right hand.”
When Clancy is not focused on family or offering BollyX classes, she enjoys music, singing, hiking and preparing health-conscious recipes. “You will find a lot of energy in this fitness room,” said Clancy with a smile. “Sometimes it’s hard to get people out of their shell. But by the end of class they are smiling, and I love to see that enthusiasm.”
Caption: Stephanie Clancy, a physical fitness and class instructor since 2015, holds a Bachelors’ degree in Recreation Therapy and a minor in World Dance, and currently offers a weekly class in BollyX exercise movements at VASA and at Spirit Wellness in Cedar City. From left are Janice, Dayna, Setu Lama, (instructor Stephanie Clancy), Pam and Shannon. (Courtesy Photo).