Photo Credit: Simone Sobers | Photo by Matt Pendleton
‘Twerking Is Therapy’: Black-Owned Dance Workout Program Empowers Women Worldwide
Meet Simone Sobers, Founder and Creator of The Boss Chick Dance Workout®. The global twerk fitness program combines Hip-Hop, Dancehall, and Afro-Caribbean dance choreography with HIIT, cardio, and core strength-training to inspire body positivity and build strength and confidence in women.
Sobers designed the program to celebrate black artists, music, dance, and culture. BCDW® is a safe space where like-minded women from all walks of life, including transgender women and those who identify as women, can come together and focus on their mental and physical health and wellness.
A classically trained dancer with 30 years of training, Sobers started this venture with a fitness vlog in 2012. After growing interest and the encouragement of her booming fan base, she decided to take her passion for fitness to the next level. Today, her class offerings span the entire globe.
I reached out to Sobers from her home in Miami to learn more about the evolution and impact of her growing brand.
Why did you decide to take BCDW worldwide? What has the response been in other countries?
I have Trinidadian blood, was born in the UK, and grew up in Miami. I’ve always had a passion for traveling and experiencing growth by immersing myself in new cultures. Growing BCDW® naturally allowed me to combine two of the things I love most. Dancing abroad is such an amazing way to get to know a destination and its people, and get a real sense of its local flavor. The program is now in more than 50 global cities including Florence, Lisbon, Amsterdam and Dublin. The response to the program has been overwhelmingly positive. We’ve gotten feedback that it’s refreshing for people to experience twerk classes and the history of twerk from a black woman, especially since lately in mainstream white women who twerk well are idolized and given the spotlight in the twerk scene.
It seems a big part of the mission behind the brand is about empowering women and celebrating the female body through movement. It must be rewarding to create this type of safe and freeing space. What are some of the other rewards as well as challenges in running a global brand?
Every class I witness women finding a healthy way to cope with life’s daily stress and challenges (we get plenty of this lately!). The program encourages them to open up to themselves through the expression of dance and movement. You know that feeling you get when you’re just dancing to your favorite song. I’ve been so proud of my instructors who mostly started as class participants and turned a passion into a living. BCDW® has afforded women to have families, careers, and flexible schedules without sacrificing the things they love. When you think about that, the rewards are really countless.
I think every business comes with its challenges. Maintaining the integrity of the brand while growing on a global scale is something I’ve always prioritized. Standing out as a boutique brand and holding space as a black, female brand/program creator in the industry has also presented challenges, but the long-term effects of the work I am putting in to hopefully help the women coming into the industry make it well worth it. I have an amazing team on board and am grateful for all the BCDW® supporters who’ve given us the ability to grow globally.
Can you really twerk your way to a fitter body? What are some of the benefits of dance as a workout and do you have to be a dancer to take a class?
You 1,000% can! Dancing is cardio-intensive and uses all the different muscles in the body, so you can shed weight and tone up at the same time. Twerking requires a particular body posture and movements that work the lower body, similarly to doing squats or a lower body weight training workout.
You definitely don’t need to be a dancer to take the classes. I recommend starting with a Twerk 101 class that breaks down some of the basic movements we use extensively in other BCDW® classes. We also offer HIIT-specific workouts, cardio workouts with themes like ‘Bey Slay’ or ‘Soca Twerkout,’ and ‘Sip & Twerk’ events on Friday nights and weekends where we break down the steps at a slightly slower pace and enjoy a little of our favorite beverage (mine is Rosé!). Dancing also requires a mind-body connection. You can’t go into auto-pilot while you’re dancing as opposed to being on a treadmill or elliptical. You have to stay present and engaged with your body and how it’s translating movement. This is why, unlike other forms of cardio, dance has the ability to be therapeutic. And we are firm believers that twerking is therapy! Women hold tension, stress, energy, and power in their hips region and when we pop, shake, and bounce that region there’s an empowering release taking place.
How can we try a class with social distancing in place?
BCDW® classes are currently virtual and affordable for everyone. You can view our class schedule and book via the Mind Body App. You can also check out our website to support an instructor in your city and connect with your local #twerktribe.