New Kid on the Block: DanceBody

“I was the first client—it started with me,” says Katia Pryce of DanceBody, the fitness company she founded in 2013. “I was a professional dancer, and after getting injured, I wanted to find a way to be stronger. But there weren’t any athletic dance classes available, so I began training myself.” Her personal-training clients liked the dance aspect she was introducing, and before she knew it, she had as many as ten in a session. “I realized that this wasn’t private training. It was a class.”

For several years, she ran DanceBody sessions out of the Battery Dance and Downtown Dance Factory spaces on Broadway. When her plan for a dedicated DanceBody outpost on Warren was thwarted, she kept an eye on Tribeca—easy enough, since she lives here—and instead opened in Nomad last February. Then Alexandra Bonetti Perez of Bari Studio told her that 23 Leonard would soon be available. “I actually began doing personal training here when Bari opened five years ago,” says Pryce. “We’re coming back to the community where we started.”

After a fair amount of work—including removing barres so that students can seem their reflections and adding “little whispers” (such as “Screw perfection” and “Damn you look good”) here and there—DanceBody’s second location opened for business. The Mainstage studio on the ground level has room for around 16 students at a time, while the Backstage one downstairs can handle a few less. “Classes are smaller than you might think because we move around so much,” says Pryce.

All of the trainers are also performers: Pryce tried using trainers who like to dance, but clients found it wasn’t the same. DanceBody mainly draws women; the men who attend generally prefer the Sculpt classes, which are more about toning than dancing and work muscles that normal gym stuff doesn’t. As for the dancing, students learn a new routine every quarter, using a numbered hexagonal mat, patented by Pryce, that she likens to “Twister for adults.” And people of all abilities are welcome: “Like we always say, ‘If you can’t do the move, just keep moving.'” Private sessions and parties are also available.

DanceBody is at 23 Leonard (between Varick and Hudson);

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