‘Dancing with the Stars’ pro dancer teaches Lafayette classes – Boulder Daily Camera

Getting a good workout doesn’t mean suffering. Sometimes, it can mean dancing with the stars.

The Bob L. Burger Recreation Center hosted longtime “Dancing with the Stars” professional dancer Louis van Amstel and creator of the LaBlast dance fitness program on Monday morning. He taught a fitness class and an aquatic fitness class at the center.

LaBlast class participants gather for a photo with guest teacher Louis van Amstel. Many attendees either attend LaBlast classes at the Bob L. Burger Recreation Center or are “Dancing with the Stars” fans. (Andrea Grajeda—Staff Writer)

Van Amstel, who started dancing at a young age, said that he’s always loved it. His grandparents were ballroom dancers, and van Amstel followed in their footsteps.

Van Amstel was on the first season of “Dancing with the Stars” and has been in 10 other seasons, most recently on season 31 in fall 2022. While he has always loved dance, van Amstel realized that the television entertainment industry can be fickle. Thus, he decided to take matters into his own hands and make a dance program in 2010.

Van Amstel said that being a professional dancer takes more than just skill, it also requires that he stay in shape. When creating the program, he was competing with the dance fitness giant Zumba. Thus, he looked at the gaps in the other dance fitness courses and incorporated that into his program. He said that he got his start in ballroom dancing, so he incorporated that style into his fitness program.

“No matter where you come from, you can do ballroom dancing with LaBlast,” van Amstel said.

He said that dance fitness had a reputation of being fun but only focusing on cardio, and he wanted to change that. He wanted to include weight training, interval training and more stretches into LaBlast.

During his class Monday, van Amstel used the slow songs as an opportunity for weight training. He said that merengue dances were a good opportunity to not only focus on the hips, but to also work out the upper body. He said that a bicep curl is not always an emotional experience, but add in a Cuban dance and it can become a performance.

“Suddenly, you forget about working out and you’re just dancing,” van Amstel said.

The LaBlast Fitness program also includes a water fitness program.  The water program includes workouts above and below the water.  (Andrea Grajeda, Staff Writer)
The LaBlast Fitness program also includes a water fitness program. The water program includes workouts above and below the water. (Andrea Grajeda—Staff Writer)

He said that he has a lifetime of dance experience, but that LaBlast dances are made so that everyone can do them and still have fun. There are many variations to LaBlast classes, such as line dancing and aquatic.

Van Amstel compared dancing in front of a crowd as large as the millions of people watching on television to those smaller LaBlast classes. He said that connecting with the people in front of him is an important part of LaBlast classes.

“You can reach one person but millions of people are watching, or you can reach people in front of you,” van Amstel said.

Lexi Bulich is the fitness coordinator at the Lafayette recreation center and friends with van Amstel. She was trained by van Amstel in 2016. Bulich said that she has no ballroom dancing experience, but she loves the program due to its more relaxed approach.

“It’s a different way to move and everyone can do it,” Bulich said.

Monday was the second year that Bulich hosted van Amstel to teach at the recreation center. He said that he loves traveling for work and is likely to return.

Kelly Wesolosky teaches dance fitness classes in Erie and attended the LaBlast class on Monday. She said that one of her favorite things about LaBlast fitness is that it’s easier to follow than other dance fitness classes, in part because of the pattern and repetition, and is a better workout.

“There are variations of dances for all skill levels,” Wesolosky said.

Van Amstel said that he hopes that LaBlast is a new and different experience for people, and that it stimulates the mental, physical and emotional self.

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