Mariah Carey “All I Want for Christmas” dance workshop

For the last couple of weeks it’s been a chilled vibe for my new fitness finds with sleep yoga and meditation, so I’ve changed it up; this week we get festive and high energy!

“See It. Dance It. Own It.”

I don’t even know what this slogan means but I want in! Seen On Screen teaches choreographed dance routines that help you get fit without feeling like you’re working out.

Their signature classes have names like “diva knockout” “hip pop” and “abs-solutely” but one in particular jumped off the screen at me as I browsed their website: Mariah Carey “All I Want For Christmas” heels workshop… what could be more festive? I signed up immediately!

What they say:
Grab your heels and get ready for an afternoon of festive sass with #SOSHaley and Mariah Carey!

Christmas wouldn’t be complete without Mariah’s ultimate Xmas tune that makes you want to curl up by the fire and whip your hair all at once! Expect choreography that hits those Christmas beats just as hard as any Beyoncé routine, while having loads of festive, strutting, posing and dancing 6 inches taller!

SOS Workshops are an epic 90 minute dance workout focusing on a particular artist and/or theme. You’ll begin with a 10-15 minute warm up to a mega playlist, and then get straight into learning the routine. The choreography will be broken down into bite sized segments so the routine is accessible and easy to learn. You’ll then have 10-15 minutes at the end of your workshop to dance ‘full out’, burn serious calories, and pretend you’re on stage at Wembley in front of thousands of adoring fans – as you do!

My experience:
I love love love this time of year and like to cram in as many festive activities as possible, so a Christmas themed dance class was right up my street and my sister Phoebs signed up too.

Seen on screen has four studios across London and we were booked into the Farringdon site. As we got the train across town we were treated to a rare sighting of the Orient Express on the platform at Victoria, preparing to depart on a Christmas adventure; little dining tables in the windows and steam billowing – it looked so cosy! It was a lovely day so we got over to St Pancreas and decided to walk the mile or so to the studio rather than take the short tube ride. I like discovering different parts of London and you nearly always see something new with each trip. St Pancreas and Kings Cross is just so lush; the bright orange stone, huge plaza, cheerful festive bustle and impossibility not to think of little wizards running to platform 9 ¾. As we headed away from the station, though, it would be fair to say the nearby streets are a bit grotty with shabby hotels, boarded up townhouses (which were probably glorious back in the day) and a few drug addled crazies weaving around. It’s amazing how different a place can be from one street to the next. The walk wasn’t scenic, but we strolled chatting and – all of a sudden – turned a corner and came across a delightful little street, Exmouth Market, where we stopped for a delicious coffee to warm us up before class. If we hadn’t been on a schedule we’d have stopped for brunch, there were lots of warmly inviting cafes and independent shops.

The dance studio is within another gym, MOB45, right next to Farringdon tube. The space is vast, with at least 3 floors and ginormous changing rooms complete with saunas, make-up artist mirrors and hair straighteners. The dance studio itself is mirrored on one wall and glass fronted on another, so we could watch the previous class finish while we waited. The room was soundproofed so we couldn’t hear what they were dancing to, but they were sassville! I assumed this was an advanced class as they were dropping into the splits and all sorts. Right outside the room was a boxing bag and round the corner was a pretty cool weights area with loads of space and a big rig. The place was deserted though.

As the previous class filed out we entered and our teacher, Hayley, gave us a cheery welcome. There were 7 of us in the class, all shapes and sizes, and Phoebs and I nabbed spots in the back. We started off with a warm up – some jumping and mobility – and after a few minutes Hayley told us to get our heels on. OMG… I didn’t realise we’d be wearing them for the whole 90 minutes class. I used to wear heels all day every day, no probs, but those days are long gone… this would be interesting.

First up, we had a crash course on how to strut in heels – there is actually quite a lot to think about. We were instructed to check ourselves out in the mirror as we did this; suffice to say the catwalk is not going to be calling any time soon.

Once that was ticked off, it was straight on to learning the routine. Everything was broken down into little chunks, which we’d run through a handful of times before moving on to the next line. The concentration was FOR REAL. I was there just trying to remember which direction to twirl… meanwhile everyone else in the room was nailing it and adding sultry hair flicks for good measure.

Hayley was great, fabulously talented, high energy and encouraging. While we were busy perfecting our hip pops without going arse over tit, a couple of guys were hammering away on the boxing bag on the other side of the glass. It was a little surreal. I kept catching Phoebs’s eyes and nearly getting the giggles.

As we neared the end of the 90 minute class, I could just about remember the moves and the song hadn’t even got annoying! My shoulder rolls and hip pops were not quite the sultry look we were going for but it was fun. We spent the last 10 minutes going through the whole thing a few times through and the sassy girls in the front row all had their phones out to video.

Yeah, the moves were kinda slutty but there was a really nice empowered-girl vibe to the class. I’m all for girls doing what they want, wearing what they want, loving their bodies and generally having a good time and feeling confident as they stride through life. If dance can do that, awesome! The girls in class weren’t all teeny bodies and hair extensions… they were normal girls owning it and loving themselves, it was pretty cool.

By the end of the session I was exhausted. Not only were my hammies, glutes and feet on fire from wearing those bloody heels, but it was serious work concentrating for that long. Most of the other girls seemed to find it a breeze and I felt like a fish out of water. I’m so impressed by good dancers, especially group choreographed stuff, wow they make it look easy.

Back in the day I remember going to the Clapham Grand (pretty much every weekend) and at Christmas they’d play “all I want for Christmas” whilst fake snow fell from the ceiling onto the flashing dance floor. Ahhh, those were the days. I’m pretty sure the rest of the class will have been out that night demonstrating their newfound moves somewhere around town. As for me, I was totally pooped. I got home, curled up on the sofa and napped for the rest of the afternoon while watching rugby and Christmas movies – what a perfect winter Saturday!

In Summary:
I reckon if you went to a few classes you’d quickly get the hang of things and be able to knock out some killer moves on the dance floor. Next time I’d choose a non-heels class as simply tottering around on 5” of stiletto was killer!

It’s not a sweaty workout but you’re definitely working and don’t even realise it at the time.

Where: SOS at MOB45, Farringdon
Cost: single workshop £20, packages available
How to book: http://www.seenonscreen.dance


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