By Lauren Black
Grab your friends, unlace your sneakers and ditch the weights for a day; there’s a new workout in town and it’s the perfect break from your routine. New Yorkers, we’ve once again been treated to a new, eclectic way to work up a sweat, and this time it comes in the form of dance–Yogance to be exact.
Former Olympian Tamara Levinson-Campos took her two loves, yoga and dance, and merged them to form a new, social workout that you can do wherever you are and whoever you are with. “The movements have been in me for my entire life. The only difference now is that I have a name for it.” Levinson-Campos said of her art form.
A gymnast since age 5, Levinson-Campos has been performing and moving her entire life. At 12, she started taking rhythmic gymnastics very seriously and later competed for USA in the Olympics. After her Olympic career, she moved to the city to pursue a career in professional dancing. You may recognize her moves from performances like “De La Guarda” and “Fuerzabruta,” performances which she co-choreographed. She also performed on three Madonna world tours, and danced with many other iconic artists and creators. Now, she still choreographs and performs, but she is also focusing on spreading Yogance.
Yogance isn’t necessarily dance or yoga, it’s a “yoga inspired class that uses techniques, elements of style, and discipline achieved within a professional dancers foundational practice.” When Yogancing, you move rhythmically to a song, but perform both yoga poses with proper alignment as well as dance moves. It’s energetic, sweaty, difficult and an absolute blast.
Since Yogance is still in it’s infancy, there’s only one teacher, but more are on the horizon. “I’ve worked extremely hard to create Yogance and develop a very effective teaching format for dancers and non-dancers alike,” Levinson-Campos said. “Teacher training is definitely something on the horizon.” Once Yogance teacher training happens, you can expect to see new teachers and classes popping up around the city, but for now, your options are limited, yet accessible. Levinson-Campos teaches workshops and classes whenever she is in town (check out her Instagram @Cuchira to see when she’ll be teaching outside of LA). Classes are cleverly and intelligently structured nearly 50/50 between yoga and dance and generally run for an hour and a half. The structure helps the student intuitively trust their mind and body alike. For more information, go to yogance.com.
If you’re dying to get moving on Yogance before Levinson-Campos gets back to NYC (and you should be, because it’s so much fun), you can start by checking out her videos on YouTube and Instagram. Let her movements inspire you, then try to replicate them and piece them together to some music. Getting started is actually pretty simple: forget any pressure and just move! Move how you see fit and how you want to move. Levinson-Campos says that when creating her own Yogances, she finds herself inspired by everything around her. “I start with one idea I usually dream of and that idea sparks another and another. It’s endless in my mind!” she said of her creations. Any song could be Yoganced to, and Levinson-Campos herself says it would be impossible to pick one favorite song to get moving to.
You can Yogance alone, but every dance is more fun with a friend! Keep your feet on the ground, or if you’re feeling adventurous, take your movements outside and help each other fly! Find inspiration through other art forms like acro, aerial, parkour, or jiu jitsu. The possibilities are absolutely endless when it comes to Yogance. “Passion is the best teacher you can have,” Levinson-Campos told me.
Levinson-Campos is always encouraging people all over the world to try out her dances by posting through her social media accounts. She hosts monthly challenges on Instagram that encourage users to grab a buddy and get dancing. The challenges vary in number of days and themes, and sometimes are in support of social causes (such as “Stop, drop and yoga for Nepal” during the month of May). Through her multiple social media accounts, Levinson-Campos has been able to teach new Yogancers around the world, and has gained a fanbase of over 64,000 people. Her posts are filled with fun Yogances to watch and try, plus inspirational words for her followers. The Yogance motto is “BeYOUtiful. The most beautiful thing you could ever be is you,” she said. “All love starts with self-love. And Yogance is all about individuality and accepting our YOUniqueness.”
Personally, I am an avid yogi and have been teaching Vinyasa for around five years. When I found @Cuchira on Instagram, I was absolutely blown away. Her movements have inspired my own personal practice to be a little more free, a little more dancy. I’ve also seen a few new, flowy transitions of hers pop-up in my Vinyasa classes. I love seeing my students let loose and be able to move around in their own space. It’s innovative, inspiring, and incredibly enjoyable. I hope that you will check her out and be inspired to grab a friend and try a Yogance. “Let your mind play freely. Allow your own movement to flow through you to create your YOUNIQUE art of self expression.”
There are so many things to learn from Tamara Levinson-Campos, but her inspiration to be beYOUtiful has to be the most essential. So kick off your shoes and your fears and get Yogancing.