Dance is Not Gendered

“Is SHiNE Dance Fitness only for women?” It’s probably one of our top most frequently asked questions. SHiNE is not, in fact, only for women, though we understand the assumption; We function with an all female team (save for our founder’s honey, Mark), choreograph songs and promote messages that empower women, and, hello! Our mascot is a pink unicorn! We’re certainly not mad at you for wondering if SHiNE is for more than just women…but OF COURSE it is!

Everyone can SHiNE!

Mexico City SHiNE Instructor Emmauel “Tato” Diaz feels especially passionate about exposing more people – all kinds of people – to SHiNE Dance Fitness. He shared three helpful tips with us on a SHiNE Instructor Power Hour call, and we loved them so much, we just had to share them with you, too! Whether you’re a SHiNE Instructor, a group fitness instructor in another format, or any sort of community leader wanting to level up your inclusivity, Tato’s three tips are for you.

  • Adjust your own mindset as a leader. Ask yourself: Are you judging your students or participants before even meeting them? Have you decided what “kind” of people you expect, and designed your class to fit what you think they’ll like, based on who you think they’ll be? Not only is it unkind and unfair to assume you know who will show up to your classes and what they will like, you’re also doing a pretty big disservice to yourself, those who do come, and their experience of your format as a whole because you’re likely to be wrong! Adjust your own mindset about your students, and do not prejudge or assume to know what they will like on a class playlist based on gender, age, or any other identifier. “There are not girl songs and boy songs!” Tato says. “Masculine and feminine energies live in all of us, and a variety of music can help us express all of the parts of us.”
  • Intentionally mix it up. It’s important to provide a variety of “vibes” within your class in order to truly reach as many people as possible. Regardless of gender, we all experience different moods and are moved by different beats, lyrics, moves and music styles both in general, and as a result of what’s going on in our lives at any given time. Tato recommends including all four of the following vibes on every playlist, in order to always have something for everyone to connect with:
      • Sweet or Graceful (SHiNE examples: Broken and Beautiful, Never Gonna Not Dance Again, Unstoppable)
      • Gritty, Rude, Bada$$ (SHiNE examples: Simon Says, Zoom, Ayy Ladies)
      • Sexy or Sassy (SHiNE examples: Take You Dancing, Strip That Down, BOYZ)
      • Party or Celebration (SHiNE examples: Let’s Get it Started, I Feel Good, About Damn Time)
  • You do you (as an instructor)! That’s right. Tato’s third tip for inclusivity is to include ourselves when we preach, “You do you!”  Don’t change yourself, your personality or your playlist because of who shows up to class. Whatever playlist you created, do that! Rather than making quick changes at the last minute because – gasp! Your first ever male student just walked in the door! – teach the routines you feel confident about, be authentic in your own vibes, and welcome all of your students to do the same. Tato loves the way SHiNE Online Instructor Jillian often says, “What if you allowed yourself to embrace this personality/this vibe for a moment?” Rather than changing your playlist to match your assumptions about your students, remember that there is a wide variety of energies inside each and every one of us, and your class just may be their only opportunity to tap into those vibes in a safe and fun way. You do you, and you’ll set your students free to do them.

For more on SHiNE Dance Fitness’ stance on inclusivity, we invite you to read our official statement here. Everyone was born to SHiNE!