Good Sweat

Monday, January 21, 2013

Dancing Queen: Anna Kaiser prepares to open a dance cardio studio

Anna Kaiser cardio dance guru

Anna Kaiser is the fitness version of Prozac. No matter how crummy you might feel walking into her cardio dance class, you’ll walk out feeling like a rock star.

This spring, the preternaturally vivacious Kaiser is set to open her own studio. Once AKT INMOTION opens its doors, she’ll join the ranks of Tracy Anderson and Simone de la Rue as one of New York City’s reigning cardio dance divas. It’s also further proof that the workout is taking off on New York’s fitness scene.

Until now, Kaiser has boogied slightly under-the-radar as a word-of-mouth phenom. Many of her clients, however, are anything but low profile. She trains Kelly Ripa several times a week, as well as Sarah Jessica Parker, both of whom are vocally devoted to the 5’ 3” blonde trainer. In addition to working out privately with Kaiser, clients take class at the Downtown Dance Factory ($35) with her or one of her trainers. Lately they’ve voiced the same complaint: there aren’t enough classes. So, for Kaiser, a studio of her own is a must. (It’ll be downtown.)

What’s cardio dance?

Kaiser’s students all talk about her “amazing energy.” The sun shines a little brighter when she walks into the studio.

Cardio dance, for those who’ve never shaken their booty like Shakira (also Kaiser client), is a white hot of-the-moment style of exercise.

In Kaiser’s case it melds dance, with layers of strengthening, yoga, and Pilates. Think one part old-school Jane Fonda, one part pop-culture choreography, rounded out with strengthening exercise via Thera-Bands, booty bands, light weights, and canonical fitness moves like planks, lunges, and mountain climbers. Kaiser’s classes leave you dripping with sweat and in a state of endorphin ecstasy.

Kaiser’s genius is in slowly building the dance sequences so that even two-left-feet types can follow along. Expect classes that are about 2/3 dance while the sweat flies off you and 1/3 strength and flexibility training. “I’m teaching high intensity interval training using dance instead of plyometrics,” says Kaiser. The dance sequences change frequently as do the strength elements.

The makings of a dancing queen

Her fitness bio seems to have inevitably led her to this point. She was a professional dancer who toured the world and appeared as a principal dancer in Disney’s Enchanted among many other major shows. Ten years ago Kaiser changed her focus to fitness and has racked up the credentials. (That’s something she asks of her trainers, too. All must have their NASM personal-training certificate and more.)

Kaiser’s fitness career started at the Reebok Sports Club/NY. For two years, according to Kaiser, she served as Tracy Anderson’s chief content officer. During her stint with Anderson, Kaiser said she played a key role in establishing choreography, and developing Anderson’s training program. Ultimately their paths diverged: “Tracy wasn’t interested in the integrity of movement,” is all Kaiser will say of her former boss.

These days, Kaiser is training her team and giving her obsessed students an amazing sweat session they can rock out to—and bliss out to. Which, come spring, is about to be a whole lot more people. —Alexia Brue

Classes are 60 minutes (Happy Hour) and 90 minutes (S&M), $35, aktinmotion.com

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