A introduction to the course will be from 2 to 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 27, at St. Mark's Episcopal Church's Parish Hall. The class is a joint effort with FIT Boonsboro and St. Mark's. Cost for the one-day class is $10.
Anita Binder, a licensed Zumba instructor with FIT in Boonsboro, said she discovered Masala Bhangra four years ago when she went to her first Zumba convention in Orlando, Fla.
Masala means "spicy" in Hindi and Bhangra is a traditional folk dance from Punjab, India.
"I like the excitement of (Masala Bhangra), and the energy that came from it," she said.
The class she took was led by Sarina Jain, creator of Masala Bhangra. Jain has been devoted to fitness since her father died of a heart attack at age 47, according to www.masaladance.com. She created Masala Bhangra, combining her fitness background with her Indian culture. Today, Jain's program is taught worldwide.
Since that meeting, Binder has spent two years trying to find a certified instructor, or what they call ambassadors, to come to the area.
"I thought it's different from Zumba. It's an amazing cardio workout," she said. "And with the popularity of 'Slumdog Millionaire' and bhangra is now really coming now into the forefront. I thought this would be perfect to add for something new and fresh."
Binder said she loved the excitement and energy that came from Masala Bhangra.
"The steps aren't complicated to learn; they teach them very simply," she said.
And Binder, who has been teaching for years, found she was getting a good workout while having fun.
"I found my heart rate was really getting up and I was really sweating," she said. "I thought, ‘Wow, this is really great.'"
She said what she also found was that for some people Zumba can be hard on the hips and knees, while Masala Bhangra is a great upper-body workout. Prevention magazine recently touted the program as a way to tone arms and help banish back fat.
Leading the introduction class will be Ashley Douglas, master instructor, for the Jan. 27, Masala Bhangra program.
Douglas describes Masala Bhangra as a "high-energy cardio fitness class." Bhangra, she said, is a dance that is done at festivals and weddings.
"Anytime they're doing a celebration, they're dancing the Bhangra dance," Douglas said. "We've taken those steps and added in a little bit of Bollywood flair."
Douglas said she danced growing up and so she always had an appreciation for dance and music. And, just like Binder, she saw Jain at a fitness convention demonstrating Masala Bhangra.
"I instantly fell in love it. The way you move your body, the way it's driven by the beat of the drums and the music — iit connected with me," she said.
After that, Douglas said she pursued becoming an master instructor with Masala Dance & Fitness Inc. She became certified in 2009.