ROYAL OAK, Mich. (WXYZ) — You may have seen it pop up on your social media feeds – AKT – a dance-based workout that started in New York City. It’s all the rage among some of the hottest celebrities. And now it’s made its way to metro Detroit.
Get ready to sweat! The Anna Kaiser Technique is the same Big Apple-based workout that’s drawn stars like Kelly Ripa, Sofia Vergara and Shakira.
Now AKT is in Royal Oak, Michigan, at a new studio at Woodward Corners by Beaumont on 30955 Woodward Avenue, #515 in Royal Oak.
“It’s so exciting to bring this New York-based brand. On a Tuesday at 9:30 on the upper east side of Manhattan, if they’re in a dance class, and we’re in a dance class, we’re doing the same exact content,” said owner Deanna Alfredo.
"For me that's one of the exciting points is bringing a brand to Michigan before the country has seen it and have that New York and LA or Orange County vibe," she added.
So, who is Anna Kaiser?
“She is a professional dancer-turned-fitness trainer. So, her passion is dance. So AKT is founded off of dance principals,” explained Trainer Caity Rose.
Rose is a professional dancer herself. Just married to WXYZ Sports Anchor Justin Rose, Caity is now managing the Royal Oak AKT studio and soon-to-open Rochester AKT Studio. She’s also teaching classes.
“Here we go!” she announced from the headset she sports during a free 45-minute preview class – which I decided to take since it is a mash-up of AKT’s signature classes.
Yes, it was my first AKT class ever, so I was excited and – truth be told – a little nervous.
We started by pulling bands hanging from pipes overhead for some warm-up stretches.
Then Rose ramped it up with for full body conditioning.
Soon, we incorporated the padded box for stepping and holding planks.
Before you know it, your heart rate is hopping, and so are you.
There are four types of classes:
- Dance - The hour-long class pairs dance cardio and toning.
- Bands - This interval workout uses the overhead bands and the box for a full-body workout.
- Tone - This is a strength focused low-impact muscle endurance class that ends with a guided foam roll session.
- Circuit - The timed full-body power and strength class includes timed intervals.
So, how is this different from jazzercise or aerobics?
“I would say it’s a little bit more challenging, and you’re getting strength elements in this class,” said Nicole Moffatt, also a manager at the AKT Studios in Royal Oak and Rochester.
Natalie Smith of Berkley was one of the first members to sign up for AKT after trying a pop-up class last spring.
“It’s a great workout! I use a heart rate monitor so it’s really challenging me, especially with the New Year’s resolutions,” said Smith.
Liz Shafer of Birmingham now comes to four classes a week.
“I’m hoping [to see a change in my body],” she said. “I totally feel like my stamina has improved.”
Halfway through our preview class, we move the boxes and bands out of the way. Then spotlights hit the two mirror balls above. It was time to dance our hearts out.
“Here we go,” Rose announced energetically.
Step-by-step, she taught us an upbeat dance routine. After some repetition, we put the steps together. The whole room was dancing in unison to choreography we'd just learned.
“Learning the routines, it works your mind just as much as it works your body,” said Katey Wagner, a new AKT member from Huntington Woods.
“So of all the workouts you’ve done in your life, where does AKT rank?” I asked Wagner.
“High up there. High up there. You get everything you want in the class. You get the stretch, you get the cardio. I was a previous dancer – so you get the dancing – and you sweat. You feel like you had a really good workout,” she answered.
We topped off the routine with some fun hip hop moves, and then our 45-minute free preview class was in the books. High-fives and cheers followed before a cool down. Fresh damp towels were passed out at the end – which was a welcome touch considering I had sweated my butt off!
Good news if learning dance moves intimidates you. Trainers teach the same steps for three weeks before moving on to all new material. So, the more you go, the better you'll get at the routines.
Bottom line, if you like to dance and want to change up your exercise routine, this high-energy workout would certainly be worth trying.
And if you want a workout that will really make you sweat, these classes will not disappoint.
Right now, there are about 80 AKT locations in 13 states. The Royal Oak studio was the second AKT franchise signed in the country. Three more AKT studios will soon be opening in Rochester Hills, Novi, and Ann Arbor.
If you’re interested, Thursday through Sunday (January 16 – 19, 2020) during the grand opening for the AKT Royal Oak studios, you can get a 10% discount on class membership If you mention that you saw this story on WXYZ.com.