The birth of Barn Dance Fitness… (Part One)

So, how did Barn Dance Fitness (BDF) come about?

Well, as the resident caller for the Burdock Ceilidh Band, I knew how much fun a group of people, often strangers to each other, could have dancing together without any previous experience. It was also clear that guests got warmed up very quickly, peeling off layers as they did so. It had been on my mind for some time: could this work as a fitness class?

At a gig, I was joking to a guest about turning it into an exercise class: not only did they say it was a great idea but they went on to explain how I would need to go about it. That’s another story, but needless to say I took up the challenge.

The exercise industry is saturated with dance exercise me-too formats but there is nothing based around group social dancing. Originally titled ‘C-Stomp’, the very first class ran at a typical mirrored dance studio in an upmarket members-only venue: quite a few turned up to try it out, but it was clearly not what they had expected, and the class was abandoned after only a few weeks. Conclusion: wrong time, wrong place, wrong market!

It was a disappointing start and part of the issue was that I didn’t have much confidence in the product or myself. I was happy to abandon the idea, but decided to try just once more.

I changed the name to ‘barn dance fitness’, and looked for venues that didn’t have mirrors in them. I booked up a church hall in Hall Green, walked a few streets posting flyers and, on the first night, one person, Sue turned up. Three years later, at that class, we average 16 dancers and Sue is still a regular.

More classes have followed, and our Tuesday daytime class often has up to 30 people. Feel free to contact Dan on 0121 405 1066 to find out more.

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