MERIDEN — Recently I attended a heels and coquito class at United Rhythms Dance Studio taught by instructor Lyzbeth Ramos.
United Rhythms has been at its current location on Powers Drive for 17 years and is known for high-energy bi-annual dance showcases. United Rhythms offers a variety of classes for beginners and advanced dancers of all ages.1. What to wear
The heels and coquito class was spurred by Ramos’ desire to share her passion for Latin style dance and empowering women to feel confident.
Dancers wore a variety of shoes from heeled boots, to peep toe wedges, to stilettos. Ramos welcomed participants who did not feel comfortable in heels to dance in sneakers.
Participants dressed in yoga pants, jeans, and loose-fitting shirts.
Whether you decide to wear athletic clothing or dress up for a heels class, make sure that you feel comfortable enough to dance at a fast pace in the attire you select.2. Choreography
Ramos, a city resident, choreographed the dance we memorized throughout the hour-and-a-half class in real time so that she could authentically learn it along with us.
“I wanted to create a class that would be good for all experience levels,” she said.
She went through movements step by step, with and without music, to ensure that every participant understood the sequence.
Ramos kept the dance moves simple.
“For anybody that is just starting out I always say, just open yourself up to try something new,” said Ramos.3. Culture
Ramos said she was looking for an excuse to make and share coquito, which is a traditional Puerto Rican holiday alcoholic beverage. Coquito contains coconut, cinnamon, and rum.
The taste and texture of coquito is similar to eggnog and it is also known as Puerto Rican Eggnog.
Ramos gave the class frequent coquito breaks while we learned a dance to a song by Daddy Yankee, a Puerto Rican singer.
Ramos shared with us that reggaeton music, which originated in Puerto Rico, is a favorite of hers because it inspires her dance sequences.4. Health benefits
Throughout the heels class my heart rate stayed elevated as I was constantly moving.
“I find the gym boring” Ramos said.
Ramos said she needs to get her cardio through dance because that is the type of exercise she finds most interesting.
“There is a lot of health benefits of dance. For me, one of the most important benefits of dance is mental health” said Ramos.
She added that having a hobby, such as dance, helps with stress relief.
“I see a lot of people come in and their eyes just brighten up when they’re dancing,” said Ramos.5. Future events
United Rhythms frequently hosts workshops in addition to regularly scheduled classes.
“It’s a family environment, we all have so much fun together here,” said Ramos.
For additional updates on future heels classes and events check out the studio’s Facebook page www.facebook.com/unitetherhythm/.
For more information about other class offerings at United Rhythms visit the studio’s website https://unitedrhythms.com/.