“This was a universal accident that was really not an accident, but an amazing gift that has made my life so rich and full of community. I have seen medical miracles happen through fitness, lives saved, depression lifted, weight lost, friends made, and so much joy of getting the community together.”
– BX Instructor Tara Allen
BollyX instructor Tara Allen has been active in bringing classes and events to a wide range of groups across her Iowa community. Her creative ability to connect with and motivate participants is truly impressive! Tara recently shared her story and explained how she succeeded in establishing BollyX in an area that was wholly unfamiliar with the format. Read on to learn more about Tara!
Tell us a bit about your background and what led you to Bollywood music and dance.
- I discovered my love for Bollywood, Indian, and Bhangra music after I became a Zumba instructor in 2010. Prior to this, I was teaching and performing Salsa dancing in the Chicago area. The main reason for becoming a Zumba instructor was to continue my love for Salsa and Latin music for fitness instead of only partner dancing. I gravitated most to the Bollywood style and every class I taught for fitness had this rhythm! I opened my own studio at the end of 2010 called “Creative Dance and Fitness, Inc.,” where I taught various forms of Latin and Ballroom dance, and various forms of fitness such as Zumba, Zumba Toning, Belly Dance Fitness, kids’ fitness classes, HIIT training, etc. Often times, I would have theme nights, where ALL the rhythms were the same from warm up to cool down. One of the theme nights we would do at the studio was called “Bollywood Magic.” The energy and intensity of the workout always increased! Not only do I love the music and fun dance moves, but I love the intensity of the workout I receive when working out to Bollywood or Bhangra music!
How did you first hear about BollyX?
- I first learned about BollyX from a promotion running on Facebook that caught my attention, about BollyX and becoming a Rockstar! The training was to be held in Chicago, and that is where I lived prior to moving to Iowa 3 years ago! I decided to sign up for a training and make a day trip. I was trained by BollyX’s very own co-founder and CEO, Shahil Patel, and I had the best time in this training. What set it apart from most was the warmth I received from my new BollyX tribe. Because of the format’s style of encouraging others, the ice was broken right off the bat and we could truly bond. I have been able to keep in touch with my BollyX family and even see them and dance with them at future dates!
What do you love most about BollyX?
- What I love about BollyX is the energy it brings! I like the format because the way the organization sets up their choreography eliminates competition among instructors. There are pre-choreographed songs that instructors must follow. We do not make up our own choreography. This promotes a team-like environment where we celebrate with one another. Also, participants can go from class to class and have familiar moves without judging and comparing other instructors’ choreography or song choices. I think this promotes camaraderie. I feel like BollyX matches society and promotes inclusion and self-love.
- The choreography for BollyX has been extremely fast to learn for me. Compared to other workout formats, it is one of the quickest to learn and create a class for! I was able to learn my first class rather quickly, and the online tools to help create a playlist are amazing. Watch a clip from Tara’s first class!
What has been your biggest challenge as a BollyX instructor?
- The most challenging part was having gyms accept the new program. I was told no everywhere I asked to bring BollyX. So, I decided to quit all the gyms I worked at and go to community centers, parks, and recreation centers, and just start doing my own thing! I first offered BollyX in Hiawatha, Iowa, and we had a large class show up! The energy was amazing and people had a blast! I was then asked to teach BollyX as a spotlight class to the University of Iowa’s CHAARG (Changing Health, Attitudes, + Actions to Recreate Girls) chapter, where we had two back-to-back BollyX classes and we had two large groups of girls dancing! They loved it!
- Next, I offered BollyX to the University of Iowa, and we started adding classes and large events at their recreation center! It has been talked about and well received there. This year, the Iowa City Parks and Rec added BollyX, we continued it in Hiawatha, and I keep adding more and more events!
- This past December, I wanted to celebrate my birthday with the community, and offered a free BollyX Community class that was my “BollyX birthday bash!” We had treats afterward and a black and yellow photo booth with props!
If you could share ONE lesson about the path to becoming a BollyX instructor, what would it be?
- I would definitely do a face-to-face instructor training if you are able to. The bonds you will make will be lasting.
Anything else you’d like to share?
- I was licensed in STRONG and POUND, and certified in BollyX and WERQ all within the same year! I found that BollyX, POUND, and WERQ were similar in strategy, as all the moves were pre-choreographed. The choreography for these three formats has been so simple to quickly learn, and promote teamwork and inclusion among their instructors. I am finding that within these communities, I found a loving tribe of people that have a heartbeat of one that we all share.
- I am happy be a part of such loving communities and wish nothing but continued growth and love for all BollyX instructors, trainees, and staff.
Want to bring BollyX to your community? Click here for information on Instructor training!