The best dance cardio classes always have high-energy music, motivating instructors, and easy-to-follow moves - because no one wants to be lost or uninspired amid all the fun. Twins Danielle and Dominique Gillyard, founders of and8 Fitness, check all of these boxes. Their latest session shared on YouTube (and seen above) adds one more element that makes this whole package even better: "Hot Girl Halloween."
The warmup track, a trap remix of the Ghostbusters theme song, had me sweating from the start. And many of the heart-pumping dance moves target your core and legs thanks to various squats, high knees, standing abs, and some twerking action. I personally was a fan of the monster drop squats during the remix of "Monster Mash;" the explosive knee drives in "Calling All the Monsters," where I felt my stress flea my body like ghosts; and basically all of the Joe Maz remix of Travis Scott's "Goosebumps." The Gillyards even snuck in Backstreet Boys' "Everybody (Backstreet's Back)" as an ode to the haunted house music video - and you'll be screaming over the throwback choreography!
Danielle, who is certified as a group fitness instructor through AFAA, told POPSUGAR that the choreography she and twin Dominique come up with sets and8 Fitness apart from other dance fitness classes because "people always say that we push them to move their bodies in new and unique ways." She and her sister usually choreograph the sequences they lead separately but also review with each other for feedback prior to filming the workouts. They have a background in cheerleading, then joined dance teams throughout college, and were both Zumba instructors post college as well.
As for the music, which typically is a selection of popular hits and hip-hop and trap, Danielle said they take their time determining the playlist for each workout "to get just the right balance of intensity, dance, and fun" - and it sure shows! "A lot of workout programs have been focused solely on looking a certain way or burning calories," she continued. "With our workouts, we prioritize feeling confident, having fun, and celebrating what our bodies can do!"
Danielle added, "The workout is effective so physical changes will come, but we hope for a mental glow up for the people who dance with us." I certainly felt the mental benefits upon following along to the "Hot Girl Halloween" video - PMS symptoms were making my day extremely difficult, as was a bad mood I can confidently attribute to my cramps, and they all but faded away while dancing with Danielle and Dominique and enjoying the high-energy tracks. It's also worth mentioning that dance cardio isn't my go-to exercise of choice, so the fact that I found this session as enjoyable as I did is quite the notable feat.
What started as a small virtual class in May 2020 is now a fitness program that offers both live, on-demand, and in-person sessions. They have a YouTube channel with over 189K subscribers, where you'll find classes such as a Megan Thee Stallion-themed workout that has amassed over a million views, and an Instagram following of almost 25K. YouTube sessions are free versus the on-demand sessions via Vimeo; these are subscription-based or available for rent or purchase. Danielle and Dominique do teach weekly classes in person, but they hope to get a permanent space of their own for workouts soon.
"As a women-owned, black-owned business, our mission is to increase access to fitness for people like us who are often not acknowledged by or reflected in the 'mainstream' fitness community," they write on the and8 Fitness home page. "We are driven by our belief that we are enhancing the representation of [women of color] in fitness and wellness spaces - as well as promoting inclusivity for diverse body types. So join the party, and get your best workout in 5, 6, 7 and8."