Dance is big news in the UK. Ever since Strictly Come Dancing waltzed onto our screens, dance-based workouts have been growing in popularity. 22% of people now keep fit using some form of dance. The latest variation comes from MTV who have decided to bring their popular show Randy Jackson presents America’s Best Dance Crew to life in the comfort of the Virgin Active studios. Here, Gillian Reeves, National Group Exercise Manager at Virgin Active, talks exclusively to the Independent about the thinking behind the idea.

Can you explain the inspiration behind the work out?

The MTV Urban Workout was inspired by the hit US show Randy Jackson presents America’s Best Dance Crew. The show is going in to its sixth series and sees ‘crews’ battle for prize spot in an X Factor style talent show. We were inspired by the fact that the show sees real people from all walks of life take part. We wanted to show all our members that you don’t have to be a professional dancer to enjoy a great work out and learn some fun moves.

How did you get involved?

We’re big fans of the show at Virgin Active, so when we were approached by MTV to join forces with them and offer our members this great class, we jumped at the chance.

How is it different from other dance workouts?

The class is made up of three elements starting with a full warm up, followed by the main section of the class where members learn and practice a number of hip-hop, free running and floor based break dancing moves. Break dancing and free running is very popular at the moment and these styles don’t often feature in standard dance classes. These parts of the class are aimed at beginners who are not experienced at break dancing, so we have factored in ways to make the moves accessible for everyone and levels that class participants can achieve. We have also included a ‘tuttin’ sequence, a hip hop style that crews on the TV show often use as part of their choreography. The third part of the workout sees the class separated into two ‘crews’ for a dance off– this provides a real social, interactive element and allows members to really engage with each other, as opposed to a more traditional dance class with a more “static” format where people tend to stay in the same spot, following the instructor. Finally a cool down allows people to fully stretch out at the end.

Why does it appeal to gym-goers?

The class is fun, fast paced and guaranteed to get you moving. You don’t have to be a great dancer to take part, just have some enthusiasm. The class provides a great workout. It’s a perfect opportunity to add some oomph and variety to your exercise regime and challenge the whole body. It’s for all ages and fitness levels.

What are the physical benefits - what muscle groups/abilities does it exercise?

Although the MTV Urban workout is a dance based class, it still provides a whole body workout. The class challenges the entire body with emphasis on core work, cardio and upper body work. You really work up a sweat and certainly feel like you’ve had a good workout by the end of the class.

What music to you use?

An exclusive soundtrack was selected and compiled by Virgin Active and MTV’s team of experts; we obviously wanted to emulate the show as far as possible whilst providing music that is great to work out to. The music covers a whole spectrum of garage and hip hop tracks from over the decades ranging from Run DMC to Dizzee Rascal. The tunes are guaranteed to get people motivated and moving in the class.