The Jazz Swinger

Speakeasy Sweat takes a Zumba class back to Gatsby’s era


Instructor Alani Kravitz lets her fringe fly while showing off some flapper-inspired steps.

With “The Great Gatsby” in theaters, it seems the Jazz Age is all the rage. Even “Downton Abbey” has finally entered the 1920s. So it was only a matter of time until Washington Sports Clubs followed suit.

What It Is: “Where am I this morning?” instructor Alani Kravitz asked her class last Wednesday. “In a flapper dress.” The attire fit the mood for Speakeasy Sweat, a 45-minute Zumba class with a twist. Instead of the traditional Latin rhythms, cardio seekers shake it to the kind of swing music you’d expect at a Gatsby bash.

Moves: Forget salsa, rumba and meringue. Speakeasy Sweat relies on the classic dance of the 1920s — the Charleston.

“In the ’20s, the Charleston was sort of a liberation,” says Kravitz, who holds a degree in musical theater. “They were broken free of this rigid ‘you have to waltz’ [idea].”

The step mimics salsa’s right-foot-forward, left-foot-back simplicity — but with a serious kick.

“It’s even more cardio than regular Zumba,” Kravitz says.

Don’t get too comfortable flinging your limbs, however, because Kravitz has other ways to hoof it. When a rock ’n’ roll version of “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” started playing, she switched to a prowling style of choreography that looked borrowed from a Bob Fosse number.

“The slow ones let people really melt into the movement,” Kravitz says of the slinkier routines.


The kicks in the Charleston encourage students’ heart rates to spike.

Workout: Like the flappers of the 1920s, attendees at Speakeasy Sweat left class with a flush in their cheeks.

“It was a lot harder than I expected,” said Natalie Draisin, 25, who had planned to go straight to the office from class. “I think I’m gonna have to take a shower.”

Crowd: The time-traveling opportunity lured Blair Coward, 25, who was intrigued by the Gatsby-ish vibe after watching the movie and falling for its soundtrack. She was in luck: Half of the songs came from the Jay-Z-curated album.

Just as Gatsby invited everyone to his house parties, the class welcomes anyone who wants to dance. A background in Zumba isn’t required — and neither is a viewing of the Leonardo DiCaprio flick. (“You can just have a healthy appreciation for the 1920s,” Coward said.)

Garb: Only Kravitz wore fringe, but long strings of pearls and jaunty hats may help you get into the swing of things.

Through June 7; Mondays at 12:15 p.m. at 783 Seventh St. NW and Wednesdays at 7 a.m. at 1345 F St. Free to members and nonmembers. Go to Mysportsclubs.com for details.

Beth Marlowe is a senior editor at Washington Post Express. She has written for The Washington Post, the Associated Press, Bloomberg Television and other publications.
SECTION: {section=express, subsection=null}!!!
INITIAL commentConfig: {includereply=true, canvas_permalink_id=washpost.com/8bvh5zpd9k, allow_comments=true, commentmaxlength=2000, includeshare=true, display_comments=true, canvas_permalink_app_instance=m6yzjj840m, display_more=true, moderationrequired=false, includefeaturenotification=true, comments_period=14, defaultsort=reverseChronological, canvas_allcomments_id=washpost.com/km4ey0dajm, includevoteofftopic=false, allow_videos=false, includesorts=true, markerdisplay=post_commenter:Post Commenter|staff:Post Writer|top_commenter:Post Forum|top_local:Washingtologist|top_sports:SuperFan|fact_checker:Fact Checker|post_recommended:Post Recommended|world_watcher:World Watcher|cultuer_connoisseur:Culture Connoisseur|weather_watcher:Capital Weather Watcher|post_contributor:Post Contributor, childrenitemsperpage=3, includeheader=true, includeverifiedcommenters=true, defaulttab=all, includerecommend=true, includereport=true, maxitemstop=2, source=washpost.com, allow_photos=false, maxitems=7, display_ugc_photos=false, includepause=true, canvas_allcomments_app_instance=6634zxcgfd, includepermalink=false}!!!

UGC FROM ARTICLE: !!!

FINAL commentConfig: {includereply=true, canvas_permalink_id=washpost.com/8bvh5zpd9k, allow_comments=true, commentmaxlength=2000, includeshare=true, display_comments=true, canvas_permalink_app_instance=m6yzjj840m, display_more=true, moderationrequired=false, includefeaturenotification=true, comments_period=14, defaultsort=reverseChronological, canvas_allcomments_id=washpost.com/km4ey0dajm, includevoteofftopic=false, allow_videos=false, includesorts=true, markerdisplay=post_commenter:Post Commenter|staff:Post Writer|top_commenter:Post Forum|top_local:Washingtologist|top_sports:SuperFan|fact_checker:Fact Checker|post_recommended:Post Recommended|world_watcher:World Watcher|cultuer_connoisseur:Culture Connoisseur|weather_watcher:Capital Weather Watcher|post_contributor:Post Contributor, childrenitemsperpage=3, includeheader=true, includeverifiedcommenters=true, defaulttab=all, includerecommend=true, includereport=true, maxitemstop=2, source=washpost.com, allow_photos=false, maxitems=7, display_ugc_photos=false, includepause=true, canvas_allcomments_app_instance=6634zxcgfd, includepermalink=false}!!
Comments
SECTION: {section=express, subsection=null}!!!
INITIAL commentConfig: {includereply=true, canvas_permalink_id=washpost.com/8bvh5zpd9k, allow_comments=true, commentmaxlength=2000, includeshare=true, display_comments=true, canvas_permalink_app_instance=m6yzjj840m, display_more=true, moderationrequired=false, includefeaturenotification=true, comments_period=14, defaultsort=reverseChronological, canvas_allcomments_id=washpost.com/km4ey0dajm, includevoteofftopic=false, allow_videos=false, includesorts=true, markerdisplay=post_commenter:Post Commenter|staff:Post Writer|top_commenter:Post Forum|top_local:Washingtologist|top_sports:SuperFan|fact_checker:Fact Checker|post_recommended:Post Recommended|world_watcher:World Watcher|cultuer_connoisseur:Culture Connoisseur|weather_watcher:Capital Weather Watcher|post_contributor:Post Contributor, childrenitemsperpage=3, includeheader=true, includeverifiedcommenters=true, defaulttab=all, includerecommend=true, includereport=true, maxitemstop=2, source=washpost.com, allow_photos=false, maxitems=7, display_ugc_photos=false, includepause=true, canvas_allcomments_app_instance=6634zxcgfd, includepermalink=false}!!!

UGC FROM ARTICLE: !!!

FINAL commentConfig: {includereply=true, canvas_permalink_id=washpost.com/8bvh5zpd9k, allow_comments=true, commentmaxlength=2000, includeshare=true, display_comments=true, canvas_permalink_app_instance=m6yzjj840m, display_more=true, moderationrequired=false, includefeaturenotification=true, comments_period=14, defaultsort=reverseChronological, canvas_allcomments_id=washpost.com/km4ey0dajm, includevoteofftopic=false, allow_videos=false, includesorts=true, markerdisplay=post_commenter:Post Commenter|staff:Post Writer|top_commenter:Post Forum|top_local:Washingtologist|top_sports:SuperFan|fact_checker:Fact Checker|post_recommended:Post Recommended|world_watcher:World Watcher|cultuer_connoisseur:Culture Connoisseur|weather_watcher:Capital Weather Watcher|post_contributor:Post Contributor, childrenitemsperpage=3, includeheader=true, includeverifiedcommenters=true, defaulttab=all, includerecommend=true, includereport=true, maxitemstop=2, source=washpost.com, allow_photos=false, maxitems=7, display_ugc_photos=false, includepause=true, canvas_allcomments_app_instance=6634zxcgfd, includepermalink=false}!!
Show Comments
Next Story
When a woman has a double mastectomy, her partner shouldn’t be at a loss for words
Marc Silver | May 21, 2013