Joy in Motion, 4800 Baseline Road, Suite D206, Boulder, 720-428-8612,

Instructor: Kristina Sutcliffe, of Lyons, best known around town as a hula-hoop queen. She teaches hoop classes, but also has a dance background (eight years of Latin dance) and teaches Zumba. She's the founder of O Dance.

What is the workout? Latin Soul Play is a dance class that gets your heart rate up, while teaching you foundational moves of various Latin dance styles. Sutcliffe created the class this summer.

What's different: Although the moves are Latin, this is far from Zumba. Music is less trendy and the moves are a little more dance-based than simplified for fitness. In fact, Sutcliffe takes short breaks between the songs to go over techniques that will be in the next song.

This allows for more "mindful" and safe movement, she says.

Even so, those moves do repeat a lot, so you don't need a dance background to do this. You will, however, leave with a dance basis -- even if you just came for the cardio.

"It's a lot of playfulness. There's a lot of give, there's a lot of take, there's a lot of hips," Sutcliffe says. "It's about keeping movement in people's lives, and if they enjoy it, they'll come back."


This is not a partner dance.

Part of what makes Latin Soul Play different is also where it's offered. Joy In Motion is a year-old studio run by husband-and-wife NIA duo Marty and Jackie Diner. The studio is designed as a "wellness studio," with a variety of classes that promote "healing through movement," such as Feldenkrais, the Melt Method, yin yoga and functional fitness. The studio also has massage rooms.

Studio co-owner Marty Diner follows instructor Kristina Sutcliffe’s lead in the Latin Soul Play class at the Joy in Motion studio in Boulder.
Studio co-owner Marty Diner follows instructor Kristina Sutcliffe's lead in the Latin Soul Play class at the Joy in Motion studio in Boulder. ( Paul Aiken )

Joy In Motion aims to have a strong social component, with a large community room in the front, with an oversized table and couches. The wall between this room and the dance studio is soundproof, so people actually do hang out here between classes. The studio also hosts many NIA trainings and workshops.

What does it cost? A one-time drop-in is $13. Various punch cards available. Tip: Try $29 for two weeks for unlimited classes.

When: 10:15 a.m. Tuesday morning and 5:30 Thursday evening for an hour.

Level: Class can be modified for various fitness and dance levels. Participants range from their 20s to 80s (although my class seemed to be more middle-aged).

Marty Diner says you do need to be a little more agile to participate in this class, and I agree; it's pretty quick. But if you can get over the desire to jump in and do every move perfectly the first class, you won't get frustrated.

I found the class a six on a 10-point scale, in terms of fitness exertion, but a little harder for my brain. And I do have a dance background. However, because of the "play" atmosphere, I never felt frustrated or out of place. Everyone's just having fun and jamming out. Do what you can and you will keep improving.

"It's just like learning a language," Sutcliffe says. "You need to give it time."

The key is to stop thinking. Get out of your head and into your body, Marty Diner says.

Class draws four to 18 people. My class was on the fuller side.

What to prepare: Comfortable clothes. Preferably barefoot. Joy In Motion is a NIA-influenced studio that advocates for barefoot dancing, for health reasons. You dance on spring floors, too, so it's kind to your joints.

Bring a water bottle, although the community room is stocked full of tea, filtered water and more.

Muscles worked: Full body, from fingertips to toes, with an emphasis on core and hips. I felt it in my glutes, thighs and arms, too.

What I loved: The studio itself is pretty incredible, with a dramatic view of the Flatirons. The atmosphere was friendly and cheerful, and that rippled into the class. I also felt like I learned a lot, while working up a sweat.

Sutcliffe taught us one move that she said was Alzheimer's-prevention, because it was tricky to coordinate and required good focus. I loved the challenge and could feel my brain working as I practiced until I was able to do it in the routine. That was very satisfying.

I think it'd be fun to take this class once or twice a week for a few months and then take my new moves to a salsa dance party in town.

What I didn't like: Being on the second floor is a blessing (for the view) and a curse -- I couldn't find the studio and drove around the parking lot for a while. My tip: Look up. It's above you.

How I felt after the class: Sweaty and smart -- is that weird to say? My brain and body both felt like they'd been challenged. Ultimately, this left me feeling satisfied and energized for the rest of my day. No muscles were sore.

-- Reported by Aimee Heckel.

Know of any interesting workouts? Tell us about them so we can check them out: heckela@daily or 303-473-1359, and on Twitter @Aimeemay.