THE BASICS: JeKaJo. What on earth am I on about?! It’s dancing, plain and simple! Allow me to explain….The brain child of founder Tanya Bright, the word JeKaJo means ‘Lets Dance’ in Yoruba, a Nigerian tribal language. It combines music genres and dance styles from Afro-Beats, Hip-Hop, RnB, Soca, Reggae and Dancehall. There are some absolute CLASSICS during the class! Sessions are held in London (Covent Garden) and Bornemouth currently. Check HERE and then on the “locations” tab for details of where to find a class.
THE BITCHES: Carly
THE CLASS: So this wasn’t just class- it was day 2 of a blogger and press taster session! We got to meet Tanya, learn more about JeKajo, and then have a mini-class where we tried out the moves. I don’t work out in Real Gyms very often, so it made a nice change to go into a big shiny members gym (Fitness First, Baker Street) and see how much the brand has changed for the better since I last found myself in one.I had a chat with PR lady Laura and founder Tanya before the class. I found out that each class lasts 1 hr, and you learn dance routines to 13 tracks in that hour. The music and routines change every 3 months- so you have 3 months learning the same routine to the same tracks- meaning you’re probably good enough to run away from home and join Madonna’s backing dancer troupe- before you’re onto the next “edition” of JeKaJo. Whichever teacher you have, in any class across the country, you’ll all be learning the same steps to the same tracks, for each 3 month period.
Tanya told me to expect to feel a bit confused by te steps when I started, and imagine how much more competent I’d feel once I’d done a few sessions. Being the least coordinated person on earth (or certainly in the gym that day) I was pretty certain I would manage to turn this exotic routine into some classic Wedding Dad Dancing.
Several other girls joined us and we were shown down to a big studio in the belly of the gym. A bit of techie time getting the lighting and music right, and we were off. I was kind of separated from the rest of the group by a massive structural column in the middle of the studio. It was a bit annoying having this big column in the way, but it certainly didn’t impact on the class- and y’know, I kind of assume the building would have fallen down without it. Anyway- why am I going on about a pillar? Oh yeah- because it was actually a GOOD thing that I was kind of sectioned off from the rest of the girls- I ruined those dances and it was a good way to hide!Tanya our instructor was so lovely- she was brimming with enthusiasm and had some serious rhythm! She talked us through each routine slowly and then we put several learned moves together, repeating them and shaking it like Beyonce for each track. As this was a taster, it was a bit more stop-start than how a usual class would go; I imagine that classes early on in the 3 month period would be similar to this- less fluid as people learned each routine. I liked the slow pace while we learned- it’d have been impossible to launch straight in without any practice. We bumped, grinded (ground?!), and shook our tail feathers to some classics from a mash-up of JeKaJo editions. I flailed around, completely unaware if others were having as much coordination trouble as me because I was concentrating SO HARD on watching Tanya and getting it right. I did not get it right. I was concentrating like it was a possibility though…. God loves a trier! I wasn’t TOO bad in the end- I managed to remember what arms and legs should be where by the end of each track (just about!) It was a LOT of fun if you just let go and relaxed a bit though, which I definitely was towards the end. If in doubt, I just…. twerked! And it worked! A good, well-judged twerk and I was JeKaJo-ing out of time but definitely in spirit!
Just time for a quick pose for piccies with the other girls before it was off to enjoy the lovely Fitness First changing rooms at the gym. Although, unfortunately my hair decided that today it was in a lion’s mane mood. I think it was just feeling wild and free after such a liberating class!! Pahaha!THE VERDICT: A funky fusion of music and an unber enthusiasic, active and engaged teacher- well worth a try! My advice if you fancy trying a class- be prepared to twerk, grind and enjoy the rhythm if you end up lost during the actual routine. Oh- and one other observation- I was genuinely out of breath and sweating by the end of track three. Impressive when I consider some of the more lacklusture R&B dance classes I’ve been to in recent years. Great work, JeKaJo!
THE EXTRAS: A video! I am almost in time! Check it out (and don’t you dare laugh!) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hV-1mRqpD9w&feature=youtu.be