Is there anyone out there that doesn’t fantasize about dancing backup for Queen Bey or RiRi? There’s something so incredibly cool about female hip-hop dancers—it’s their ownership over their artistry, unapologetic self-confidence, and sense of individuality that makes them so alluringly sexy.
But as much as I wish I could be part of the girl gang in Bieber’s “Sorry” video, I’m no hip-hop dancer … and super intimidated by the thought of taking a class with a bunch of professionals.
“I was craving a class where I could let my hair down and just dance and have fun after my 9-to-5 job—but there was nothing out there,” explained Tiffany Chao, the founder of MVMT Theory, a pop-up style hip hop class that melds mindfulness, fitness, dance, and music.
Unable to find anything that worked for her schedule—and that she enjoyed taking—she created her own pop-up. The result is MVMT Theory, a collective that’s quickly grown in popularity since its January 2016 launch.
Take a class and you’ll get why the MVMT Theory is absolutely blowing up: Held in a dark, moody space that feels like a dance hall, the DJ-ed classes move fast enough for you to break a sweat, but not so fast that the moves go over your head. The instructors are kind and patient; of course, they look effortlessly cool (“So dope,” Chao calls out while watching our instructor demonstrate the combo), but they break down each movement in a way that even beginners can understand.
The thing that makes MVMT Theory different than other dance classes—or workout classes, for that matter—is the actual energetic transformation that takes place during the 60-minute class. Participants walk in one way, and walk out looking totally differently.
“It’s actually amazing to see people after just one or two classes—they have this confidence and swagger that follows them out of the room,” admits Chao. I witnessed it IRL when I took class and saw a crowd filled with somewhat tentative women turn into a fierce army of badass ladies—the MVMT Theory effect is real, and powerful.
Wanna know how to translate what you learn in class to those situations in life that make us feel uncomfortable and unconfident, like when you’re walking into a crowded bar to meet a Bumble date, or when you head to a party solo? Here are three lessons from MVMT Theory that’ll make you be the sexiest woman in the room, no matter how you look.
No matter what, even if you think (or know) you’re going to look stupid, Chao encourages newbies to commit to whatever’s happening in the room. “Just feel out your body, feel out your movement. Look silly—who cares? Because then you find what makes you look good and what makes you feel good.”
At the beginning and end of every MVMT Theory class, the instructor takes the time to lead the group through a centering warm-up and a meditative cool-down. It helps you get out of your own head (stop judging yourself!) and gives you laser-pointed focus so that you can quickly learn the moves that come later in class. “MVMT isn’t just about dance or fitness—it’s mental well-being, too.” says Chao. Nervous energy isn’t sexy. Instead, take a little extra time to find calm, be cool, and get collected.
Chao defines swag as this: “At the end of the day, swag is you owning you. My swag is different from your swag is different from her swag … How dope are you, how do you own your weirdness, that’s the thing that makes you different. It’s an attitude. That’s what we try to leave space for in class—we want to create a non-judgemental place for you to do your thing.”