Posted by Clint Henderson- FOX News Online | November 06, 2013
"When you really love it, you don’t care about what people say. It’s what they leave with. It’s the true trait for an artist." Tina Thompson Tina Thompson is a growing force in the contemporary dance world of New York City with her Skin Dance Company. The company features a mix of professional and amateur dancers, but has a growing following in the super- competitive world of modern dance. But that's not how I came to discover Tina Thompson. It was through her now-legendary fitness classes. Thompson teaches at 24-Hour Fitness and Crunch. Her classes are packed and have become infamous for their rigorousness and toughness. I can attest to the difficulty. I've never had a better workout, and Thompson is a demanding teacher. Her classes are not for the faint of heart. In fact, she has ignited much debate in the fitness world. It is her unique background in dance that makes her fitness classes such an intense workout. Tina Thompson was discovered fairly late for a professional dancer. She was ten years old before she went to her first dance class. But Thompson told me she's been a performer since she was five years old, "My mother knew something wasn't right. When I was singing Frank Sinatra in the morning.. not normal for a black child. I didn't know. When his music came on I felt happy. I would get a kick out of it." Thompson may have come late to the dance world, but she was quickly picked out for her innate talent and her nerves of steel.
By the time she was in her early teens, Thompson was dancing in a company in New York City. In fact, Tina told me she skipped her high school prom in order to dance. She knew then it was a calling. While still in high school Tina was dancing with two of the most important companies in the world. Thompson danced with the Alvin Ailey company and with a Martha Graham ensemble. Tina told me she was going to school, dancing five nights during the week and weekends, and getting very little sleep. She even got to work alongside the renowned Martha Graham. (Graham died in 1991) Eventually Thompson got a scholarship to attend the prestigious Juilliard School. While dancing at Juilliard, Tina found work as a fitness instructor at a New York Sports Club on the Upper West Side. Tina incorporated some of her dance moves into fitness routines and attendance at her classes exploded. Thompson said, "Those worlds weren’t supposed to be meshed. Every dancer wants to teach now." She says putting dance moves into a fitness classes was unheard of then - in the early 1990's. And it was controversial. But it didn't matter. Gym-goers couldn't get enough. She became something of a phenomenon in the New York Fitness world. Tina started to really gain notoriety with step classes.. even picking up the nickname "Diva." Eventually she gave up dancing to teach full time. She said that's where she found herself. Thompson told me "I wanted my voice to be heard. In the fitness field, I got happy. I would get high off watching people feel as if they were on the stage." And over the past 20 years Thompson's list of classes and loyal students has expanded dramatically. She hosts fitness boot camp weekends where she drags out her alternate persona "Sergeant Diva," and hosts intensive 3-day dance and fitness marathons.
Tina has also developed several branded classes including "Legendary Step", "Buff Diva Workout", "Body Wrapp" and "Lyrical." Thompson also has a long and trophy-laden history with the Ms Fitness world. But her real push right now is the dance company.. "My dream is for Broadway," Tina said, "to bring the SKIN Dance Company to Broadway. I’m in the process of writing a show called “Amethyst” The Purple Planet. That’s my baby. There’s going to be a lot at this year’s show." Thompson is raising money for the dance company and a behind-the-scenes web series about her dance company. - Clint Henderson
*MONDAY'S SEPT 17, 2015- DEC. 2015
CRUNCH UNION SQUARE
6:15PM CHISEL FUSION
Tina Thompson's Signaure Class: PILABALLET with Strength FUSION
Come on, let’s be Fabulous! Combines strength, pilaballet, bootcamp and Cardio moves for one great workout. Create a long lean sexy body.
David Barton Gym (4 Astor Pl at Broadway; 212-505-6800, davidbartongym.com ). Membership $125 per month; initiation fee varies.
Length: 45 minutes
Type of activity: Dance-infused aerobics
What to expect: A very brisk two-minute warm-up that goes straight into a series of high-energy movements. Each chunk of choreography steadily builds on the last to create a full dance routine at the end of 45 minutes.
How in shape you need to be: Gym regular; some basic dance experience helpful but not necessary.
The verdict: “Omigod, that’s a gym?!” squeals a passerby outside David Barton’s newest location in the East Village. I can’t say my reaction to the posh quad-level space is much different: Decorated like a trendy Meatpacking club—flattering low lights, thumping club music and all—this space makes you nearly forget that you’re in a fitness center. That is, until you step foot in Tina Thompson’s fast-paced, choreography-intensive class, and the sweat starts to pour. Thompson wastes no time with feeble stretches (just a few head and shoulder rolls at double time), launching straight into fancy footwork worthy of a Knicks City Dancers halftime routine. There are no instructions, simply body language that you are expected to follow. At first, the lack of direction was off-putting as I struggled to keep up, but through the power of repetition, I eventually had every move down pat. Having taken dance the majority of my youth, I forgot what an invigorating full-body workout it could be—in this case probably because Thompson crammed enough steps into 45 minutes that would take weeks to rehearse in a studio. But the point here isn’t to master each move; rather it’s to exercise every muscle, and as my calves, glutes, shoulders and lower back can attest, it’s a fun way to get the job done.—Cristina Velocci
Get Certified in Tina's BODY WRAP &
PILABALLET CERTIFICATION'S MAY 25, 2014 ONLY $99
TINA'S SIGNATURE CLASSES
PILABALLETPilates & ballet Fusion using therabands/ Bar station to help bring out the inner dancer in you. Flexibility and Strength initiatives are primary focuses. Sashay your way to the stage with this New Era athletic ballet class set to fresh, hot music. Tina uses classic ballet positions and basic dance techniques to help bring out the inner dancer in you. Open Level.
SPIRIT FITNESS Series-
Dance based highly choreographed programs designed for group fitness and dance class environments. The choreographed programs showcase multi/diverse dance styles with a ballet based foundation and basic dance techniques to help bring out the inner dancer in you. Flexibility and Strength initiatives are primary focuses. Sashay your way to the stage with this New Era athletic ballet class set to fresh, hot music ranging from African to Classical. Tina uses classic ballet positions and basic dance techniques to help bring out the inner dancer in you. Open Level.
COMPETITION CAMP® by Tina Thompson)
Sport-aerobic and fitness competition moves with based highly choreographed programs designed for fitness competitors and dance fitness environments. The individualized programs showcase multi/diverse dance styles with a ballet based foundation and basic dance techniques to help bring out the inner competitor in you. Flexibility and Strength initiatives are primary focuses. Power movements and speed with agility are coached in this one-hour master class. Intermediate/Advanced Level.
THE BODYWRAP®- Pilates and Core based system Designed by Tina exclusively for those who wish to acquire an athletic and dancer approach to their exercise program. DVD's will target the core and flexibility components of fitness and challenge your total body awareness.
LEGENDARY STEP®- Highly-Turbo choreographed Intermediate cardio workout.One of the most popular forms of aerobic workouts, a step class is an excellent way to get fit. Essentially a step class involves the use of a raised platform on which a series of exercises are performed under the guidance of an instructor. Music is generally played to keep things moving at rhythmic pace. A good step class should be fun, energetic and give you a full workout.
FITCAMPFIERCE® the ultimate cardio endurance workout with 2DAYS of intense specialty training implementing exercises for the arms, legs and back followed by 20 minutes of abs w/effective stretching. This workout will leave you feeling stronger! All fitness levels. ''SERGEANT DIVA' will be waiting!
Despite that whole food poisoning thing I dragged myself to Tina Thompson’s Ultimate Conditioning class at Crunch last night. You may have taken aerobics classes before but until you’ve taken a class with Tina you’ve never truly challenged yourself in a class setting. The woman is a force of nature. She has her own fitness videos, fitness shoe and crazy boot camp in Florida. She pushes her class until you’re floating so high on endorphins you can almost ignore the pain. One class is usually enough to convert any newcomer to the cult of Tina. I dropped an entire dress size in 2 months last year when I started her pilates class. She’s also without a doubt the most irreverent and hilarious teacher you’ll ever have. I remember her advising us at one point to make sure to pack our husbands’/boyfriends’ gym clothes so that we could be certain he was dressed poorly at the gym, (”You don’t want him to look good when you’re not there, I never want to hear ‘I met her at the gym baby.’ Oh no you didn’t! Put him in those purple sweats with the holes, she won’t even look at him. That’s right ladies, you know what I’m saying.”). Most importantly Tina truly cares about her students; she remembers me and pushes me to surpass what she’s seen me do in the past, (”I know you can do better than that! What are you doing with those little weights? I’ll get you some weights.”). This is Tina:
Tina Thompson at the National Ms. Fitness Competition