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Sheikh Zayed, Cairo, Egypt.
Jazzercise: Easygoing Workout in Sheikh Zayed
When we headed out to the Jazzercise studio at Arkan Mall in Sheikh Zayed City we weren’t sure quite what to expect. A pleasant receptionist gave us a brief description of the program and directed us to the locker room to drop off our belongings. After enquiring about any past injuries, we were shown into the studio to begin our class.
The ladies-only dance studio is thankfully equipped with a good ventilation system. The instructor leads the class from an elevated platform at the front of the room and there are exercise balls and light hand weights placed on the side.
Expecting a not-so-intensive workout, we were pleasantly surprised to find that we worked up a sweat about 5-10 minutes into the class. Menna, our instructor, is a contagiously energetic dancer who bounces through the choreographed steps effortlessly. Her energy combined with the choice of hip-hop and dance tunes makes it a lot like being at an energetic party – albeit in sneakers.
The workout combines aerobics, dance and resistance training with a little kickboxing. The combination of dance and aerobics will have you sweating, while the rapid pace of different exercise sets requires some degree of coordination.
The class has a minimum age of 11, and sharing the class with young teenagers threw us off a bit at the beginning, but we quickly adapted. Some of the girls were there working out with their mothers, which is an advantage for mums who want to get some exercise without fussing about the kids.
The studio is equipped with a surround-sound system and the music is on full blast throughout the workout. The music is switched off briefly for water breaks, with a water cooler and plastic cups conveniently available for use.
After 45 minutes of ‘jazzercising’, our instructor switched off the music and asked us to collect some weights from the stack; the weights available ranged from 0.5kg – 4kg.
The instructor led the group through a series of standing abdominal exercises. She explained and demonstrated the moves – with a couple of variations for different levels – and then switched on the music for the sets. Once again, the routine was closely choreographed with the music.
After the abs came strength training. Once again, Menna walked us through the different sets, which we then did in tune with the music. Once completed, we settled down for a stretching and cool down routine to some mellow tunes. Breathing deep, our heart rate slowly returned to a semi-normal state before ending the class.
For those seeking more diversity, this is not the place to go, as the program includes only one class – the jazzercise class. There are no classes on Friday but they are offered on all other days at 11AM and 8PM; a 9AM class is also offered Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday and a 12PM is available every day except Tuesday.
Pay-per-class rates are 80LE per person. Their summer promotion offers 25% off packages, with 8 classes at 405LE, 36 classes at 1,010LE, and 96 classes at 2,025LE. A 1-year membership with unlimited access to classes will cost you a whopping 4,050LE.
While the class was fun it was not a 'killer work-out', if that’s what you’re looking for, as it mainly focuses on cardio and coordination. Also, the lack of diversity in classes and low value for money make it somewhat limited.
A few years have passed since we last visited Tawazon. Despite the occasional ruckus that Downtown Cairo has become so well known for, the studio is running as per usual - providing a place for wellness, relaxation and exercise amidst it all.
Not much has changed
on Youssef El Guindy Street besides one, small thing: a wall now stands (covered
with delightful graffiti we might add) at the entrance to the building.
However, it’s only a minor inconvenience if that. There are two simple options
for manoeuvring around it: the first is to come from Sheikh Rehan Street and
enter through the front door. Alternatively, if you’re coming from Mohamed
Mahmoud, enter through the parking garage, weave your way up the stairs and
you’ll find yourself in the lobby. For those unfamiliar with the area, check
out Tawazon’s Facebook
page for maps and directions.
The studio is on the second floor. Simply designed, quiet and cool, it’s a breath of fresh air upon entering. Cosy cushions make for a laid back waiting area and you’re welcome to help yourself to tea, coffee and water.
Tawazon offers a unique blend as far as classes and workshops are concerned. Due to instructors away on business and vacation, group yoga classes are currently only once a week. The Sivananda course, led by Hala Barakat, comes highly recommended and is on Tuesdays from 7PM-8.30PM (80LE for drop-in).
If you’re looking for one-on-one training, private classes are also available and include ballet, modern dance, Viniyoga and ‘soul attunement’ to name a few.
We decided to check out free meditation night this time around. With over 25 years experience, it was soon evident that instructor, Mayana Clerc, has a firm grasp on the subject. For an hour and a half, Mayana created an open and comfortable environment for everyone – leave your shoes and your self-consciousness at the door. The class was led with the utmost patience and wisdom. Included was a basic run-down of mindful meditation including breathing exercises and visualization techniques. To take things further, everyone took part in honest conversation regarding their intention in attending, personal concerns and even goals. For those that have never meditated before, this is a rare and perfect opportunity to give it a shot.
Aside from that, workshops vary month to month and range between 200LE-300LE. For June you can catch a yin and yang workshop, also led by Mayana, on the 20th and dance meditation on the 25th.
Forget the intimidation factor that often accompanies studios like this; Tawazon’s friendly atmosphere and variety of options makes it a great place for paying attention to your mind, body and spirit. Give it a go.