By Claire Stern
May 12, 2016 @ 7:30 pm
Courtesy TIdal

I once memorized the dance sequence from Destiny Child's "Survivor," so I walked into DivaDance's New York City studio feeling confident and ready to channel my inner Sasha Fierce during its "Dance & Sweat" class dedicated to Beyoncé's new album, Lemonade. But I never could have prepared myself for what was about to transpire over the next 45 minutes.

Each week, the company holds a session to learn the choreography from a different Bey song. Cued up this week: "Formation." And the room was packed with women ready to slay. (Literally. Everyone wore T-shirts emblazoned with "Slaying Is My Cardio.") After assuming our position on the dance floor, we were instructed by DivaDance's peppy blonde founder/instructor Jami Stigliano to turn to the person standing next to us and ask them what type of hot sauce was in their bag (my neighbor, a self-professed member of the Beyhive, responded "swag"). Next, we began with a series of warm-ups, which consisted mostly of strutting and posing. Then we grouped into small clusters ("squads") and started learning the choreography from the actual video.

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Stigliano kindly broke down the beginning of the dance into three parts so it was easier to process. We'd repeat each section at least three times, adding bits until we had the first minute of the song down pat. If a move was too difficult to pull off, she was happy to modify it. The chief goal, she said, was to have fun. "If you're not having a good time, you're doing something wrong." After approximately 40 minutes of instruction, my routine had reached a new level of flawless (pun intended). I even proceeded to dance on my walk home.

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The Verdict: While it's impossible to learn the entire "Formation" dance in 45 minutes, I'm inclined to go back for another class to master the rest of the song. And although DivaDance's choreography wasn't exactly like the video, I appreciated the beginner's approach. I will admit, though, it wasn't a very cardio-heavy workout, so if you're really looking to burn some calories, it may be worth supplementing with a stint on the treadmill.

DivaDance has locations in New York, Austin, and San Francisco. Learn more here.