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CEO Corner: DanceBody’s Katia Pryce on the Power of Dance Fitness
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CEO Corner: DanceBody’s Katia Pryce on the Power of Dance Fitness

Created in 2013 by Katia Pryce, dance workout concept DanceBody has been growing and thriving for a decade, with a global streaming presence, physical studios in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, and a summer residency in The Hamptons.

At its core, DanceBody remains dedicated to providing an effective and enjoyable workout that evolves alongside its tight-knit community. The brand’s edge lies in its methodology, ensuring consistency across classes and choreography. Its emphasis on community, whether in-studio or through streaming, also plays a pivotal role, underscored by innovations like two-way cameras and chat features that break down barriers between at-home and in-studio clients. The brand also tackles misconceptions surrounding pregnancy and fitness, with a commitment to educating and supporting pregnant clients through tailored pre- and post-natal modifications.

Athletech News spoke with Pryce, who serves as DanceBody’s CEO, to learn more about her background, the DanceBody brand and her future plans for the fitness company.

This conversation has been lightly edited for clarity and length.

Athletech News: Can you tell us about your background and your inspiration for founding DanceBody?

Katia Pryce: DanceBody started very organically. As a professional dancer, I was searching for a balanced workout that combined challenging cardio with functional strength training, while also maintaining the long, lean lines of a dancer’s body. It was a tall order. Whenever I was dancing, I noticed my body looked and felt very different from my typical gym workouts. It became clear to me that dance, when paired with functional strength training, was the secret to athletic strength and the aesthetic result I was searching for. I soon discovered that others wanted that same result. I started training clients one-on-one, and that soon turned into sold-out classes.

I officially launched DanceBody in 2013, and now, 10 years later, we have streaming clients globally and studios in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, and a summer residency in The Hamptons. From concept to launch, DanceBody has always been about an effective and fun workout that continues to evolve with a tight-knit community. 

ATN: What differentiates DanceBody from its competitors in the dance fitness space?

KP: Dance workouts stand out because they are fun while also being wildly effective for your overall health. Not to mention, it’s a workout for both your body and brain. What differentiates DanceBody is the methodology behind the movement. From our classes to our choreography, everything is carefully crafted so that it can be replicated – as opposed to relying on a singular trainer’s POV. Wherever you go to class, you will experience the same moves. Our choreographed dances change out every three months so that our clients get a chance to truly practice, perfect and perform the movement. This produces the best results.

Additionally, we have several classes that are “non-dancer” friendly, like Sculpt and DanceHIIT, that offer a foundational level of cardiovascular and muscle strength, without any fancy footwork. I’ve also created proprietary equipment for our classes that you won’t find anywhere else, such as the hexagon-shaped HexMat and HexWeight. With each side numbered one through six, no matter if you’re taking a sold-out class or at-home via DanceBody LIVE, you know exactly how to move.

Katia Pryce (credit: DanceBody)

ATN: How do you cultivate community in a hybrid fitness environment?

KP: Community is at the heart of everything we do at DanceBody. And that’s easier to cultivate in-person than digitally, which is why we made a huge effort to enhance our streaming experience. I launched our streaming service in 2016, well ahead of the at-home fitness boom. However, everything changed when COVID hit. All of a sudden, we understood that DanceBody is so much more than getting a great sweat, it’s about people connecting with each other daily – no matter what’s going on. That had a huge impact on our community. Plus, my co-founder, Courtnay (Mariani), and I showed up to teach every single day of the pandemic, and that spoke louder than any words. Our clients were relying on us to show up. Now, we have features such as two-way cameras, the ability to chat to trainers before and after class, and the access to build workout “crews” to stay accountable. This functionality has broken down the wall between at-home and studio clients, making our community even more inclusive. 

ATN: What drives the hiring process at DanceBody?

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KP: At DanceBody, we have a saying, “Nice people dancing to good music.” That can only happen with exceptional people leading the way. In addition to a trainer’s ability to dance, move and train, we look very closely at their EQ, Emotional Intelligence. The DanceBody classes demand so much that you really need a friendly face, encouraging you forward. Dance is a new modality of movement for most people, therefore it can feel super intimidating. Our trainers must have a unique ability to nurture new clients along – and that kind of thing you can’t teach. A lot of people talk about community, but we really celebrate ours by spending so much time and attention on our teachers.

ATN: Why do so many misconceptions remain about pregnancy and fitness, and what can those in the industry do better?

KP: Sadly, even today, so many parts of a woman’s health journey are misunderstood. Built on decades of fear, secrecy, and myth – even many women don’t fully understand what their bodies are capable of during an amazing time like pregnancy. I felt it was important for me to share my pregnancy journey openly to show how consistent activity can help relieve aches and pains, boost your mood, enhance sleep, and decrease anxiety and depression.

Of course, every pregnancy is very different and unique. However, movement shouldn’t stop the moment you become pregnant – it’s not as if you turn into some fragile thing. A woman’s body is built for pregnancy, and the fitness industry should embrace and celebrate this more in their classes – as opposed to being afraid of it. It’s a disservice to make a pregnant woman feel “scared” or “less than” during a workout, and trainers in the industry need to be well-versed in pre and postnatal modifications. During my pregnancy, I filmed 30-plus videos for our pre and postnatal category on DanceBody LIVE so that both mom and baby can feel great through every trimester.

ATN: What can we expect to see next from DanceBody?

KP: The landscape of fitness has changed so much in the last few years, however, much of it still remains the same: people want to move TOGETHER. And now, post-pandemic, that sentiment is stronger than ever. In light of that, we’ve been building more in-person experiences to bridge the virtual to in-person gap, such as our annual DanceBody Retreat in Mexico.

Additionally, as our clients continue to evolve, we are evolving with them. In the last year, we’ve launched several new low- and no-impact classes such as Sculpt +, Hip Hop Hits and Strength & Stability. Last, connecting with synergistic media partners, such as Alo Moves, has been a great way for us to spread the DanceBody program.

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