Socacize brings a Caribbean style to exercising

Teaching the steps: Socacize instructor Simone Warner, has been teaching socacize classes in Brooklyn for six years.
Mortimer Visuals

Forget the gym and get fit for carnival to soca music.

A dance workout that combines soca music and exercise, better known as socacize, gets participants physically active to a sound they know best. That is the concept for the high-and-low aerobic workout instructed to Caribbean music. With the Labor Day parade approaching, dance instructors want you to get ready for carnival and encourage more health-conscious attitudes in the Caribbean community.

“Initially when we started we kind of used to fuse Caribbean dances and a workout,” said Simone Warner, a Brooklyn-based socacize instructor. “A lot of Caribbean people don’t like to workout, so we fused them together to make people work out and prepare for carnival.”

Socacize shares a few things in common to the popular Latin music-inspired workout called Zumba. But mostly, there are specific differences between Zumba and socacize, according to Warner.

“It’s similar — but socacize strictly and only uses Caribbean-based music,” said Warner. “Zumba used to be Latin-based, but now they use everything — every style of music.”

Socacize is offered in classes and keeps students fit with a one-hour workout divided into different sections. Warner says the classes are typical workout moves and popular Caribbean dance rhythms.

“There are four different dances — the bacchanal warm-up, cardio soca jam, whine and tone, and groovy stretch,” said Warner. And there is even a bootcamp session for more intense exercising. “Socacize is fun and it’s different. In each session you never know what you might get.”

By mixing the soca dance styles and common exercises, just one class offers a full body workout. The bacchanal warm-up is a slow-paced stretch session, the cardio soca jam — a soca-only workout to fast-paced songs. Then the final parts — the whine and tone, a toning focused session to which incorporates reggae and soca, and the groovy stretch which finishes off the workout to slow Caribbean music, such as calypso.

“Everything is worked out,” said Warner. “With the whine and tone, it’s abdominal, and with the cardio jam — it’s everything. It burns calories all over body and then you stretch everything you just worked out.”

Socacize was founded in Canada in 2011 by Ayanna Lee-Rivears, a Trinidadian dancer and instructor. The dance studio and class has locations in Canada and instructors all over the world to teach socacize classes in the United States and the Caribbean.

Warner says that socacize classes offer an environment that is so interactive and supportive, that many friendships have been formed.

“At the end of the day, my clients have turned into friends — that’s something I like about socacize,” said Warner. “I have friends who have been with me since the beginning because while we work out we build strong relationships.”

“Socacize” at Augustine’s Episcopal Church [4301 Ave. D bet. E. 43rd Street and Troy Avenue in East Flatbush, www.socacize.com, Tuesdays, 7 pm.

Reach reporter Alexandra Simon at (718) 260–8310 or e-mail her at asimo[email protected]local.com.
Socacizing it: Students at a socacize class in Brooklyn. The dance combines exercise with soca music, for a high- energy workout.
Simone Warner

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