The room is steamy and dark. Magenta and blue spotlights contour sweaty, gyrating bodies as grimy hip-hop rumbles through bass-heavy speakers. And no, this isn't a seedy sausage fest at a club on South Beach. It's a gathering of the Vixen Army.
"Imagine LIV on Sunday without the drinks and without the men and enough room where you can dance your ass off. That's what the Vixen Workout is," says Janet Jones, a Miami native, former Heat dancer, and founder of the fitness sensation that's taking over the Magic City.
The Vixen Workout ain't no Prancercise romp, though. You can actually take these moves to the floor. So slip on a pair of your favorite pumps and twerk.
Janet isn't talking about cumbersome, spread-eagle-against-a-wall booty pulsations. Women unleash their inner video vixen (move over, Superhead) during this swift, 90-minute cardio sesh, done completely in heels to the latest hip-hop bangers.
"You're doing squats and abs and arms and doing it to your favorite songs that you love to dance to in the club, so you don't realize what you're doing," the twerk fitness guru says.
About a year ago, the Vixen Workout was born out of Jones' disenchantment with her everyday routine. After trading a dance career for a job in the cushy corporate world, she felt invisible amid multiple roles, having to be fantastic in the workplace while fulfilling domestic duties as a new mom and wife at home.
Then Janet was laid off, and she returned to her first passion: dance. She opened a studio, Street Jamz, but it wasn't until one ratchet night at the club when she discovered her true calling.
"One weekend, I went out with my friends," Jones recalls. "They're all VPs of companies or lawyers, and we're moms. So we went to a nightclub, and they put on some Rick Ross and they put on some Future, and all of [my friends] were itching to dance."
Like video vixens.
Janet thought, If these 9-to-5, straitlaced mothers are thirsty to twerk, all women must be. She decided to help provide females of all ages, sizes, and backgrounds with the confidence to let loose, so when "they go home, they don't need their husbands to compliment them, and they don't need to be praised at work, because they feel like they just praised themselves for an hour. Through twerking."
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Still, it wasn't easy for Jones to build her Vixen Army. Two people attended the instructor's first class: her cousin and her best friend. But after a month, eight girls showed up. Eight grew to 16, which grew to 24, and in the eighth month, there were close to 100 vixens at every session. Now the Vixen Workout and its devotees are twerking everywhere, up and down the East Coast, from the MIA to Tampa to NYC.
Oh, and clappin' that derriere like Buffie the Body definitely provides some serious health benefits. Students can burn 500 to 1,000 calories per class. Jones says one of her regulars shed 60 pounds. And a woman on anxiety medication for ten years now gets her natural release from "p-poppin' till she percolates," a class staple.
As Cristina Comendeiro, a weekly attendee, articulates the appeal of twerking toward total fitness: "You don't get to be ratchet anywhere else without being judged."