About ‘en Joy dance fitness

Helen Clarke, ‘en Joy dance fitness instructor, Hampshire

A little about myself and my qualifications

Hi, I’m Helen, a fully qualified fitness professional, teaching dance fitness classes in the Winchester area and online. I graduated in 2004 with a BA hons degree in dance and drama, am a member of EMD UK (the national governing body for group exercise), CIMSPA (the chartered professional development body for the sport and physical activity sector) and the NATD (the national association of teachers of dancing). My fitness qualifications include Level 2 Group Exercise to Music and a Level 3 specialism in designing exercise programmes for older adults. During the Covid-19 lockdown I have also completed a Level 2 course in mental health awareness and a NEAT Fit coaching programme, encouraging less sendentary lifestyles.

I am licensed to teach both Zumba and Zumba Toning and am a current member of the Zumba Instructor Network, completing ongoing training. To date, I have completed training in Zumba Burst (high intensity intervals), Zumba Core and Zumba Glutes, allowing me to add a range of fitness variations into my classes. I have also completed FitSteps instructor training, passing at Gold standard, as well as FitSteps TONE instructor training, Broadway Boogie instructor training, Barre Fitness, Fitness Pilates Barre and Balance and FLEX. I have trained with the NATD to teach their contemporary dance syllabus and deliver their Diamonds programme for older adults.

Always looking to further my learning, I have completed short courses with The Open University, including Exercise and Mental Health, as well as a Covid-19 Awareness course with Cimspa and Sport England, plus a Sports First Aid Level 2 training with ProTrainings. Please scroll down to view my instructor certifications.

How ‘en Joy dance fitness began

I have always had a passion for dancing and first began training to teach dance and fitness classes many years ago, alongside studying for a degree in dance and drama. After graduating, getting a little ‘lost’ in a retail career and starting a family, dance and dance fitness were relegated to ‘just’ a hobby and my level of physical activity dwindled further as I took on a writing job, spending many hours sitting hunched over a desk and struggling to find spare time. My posture suffered and I had back pain and excruciating sciatica on and off for a number of years, which made me move even less, which of course made the condition worse. Alongside this, I struggled with anxiety and low self-confidence. Realising that I needed to keep moving, I gradually eased myself back into Zumba, first working out at home, then attending local classes with a fantastic, encouraging Zumba instructor, Nathalie Cuzner. I also began attending adult ballet classes with a wonderful local dance school, Aucott School of Dance, rekindling my love of dance and helping to improve my posture and strength, as well as my confidence and my mental wellbeing.

After my Zumba instructor became unwell and was unable to teach any longer, I tried other dance fitness classes, which I enjoyed, but there was still a huge Zumba-shaped hole in my life! Once my confidence had grown and I believed in myself enough to ‘stand at the front’, I completed my Zumba instructor training, followed by Zumba Toning and began teaching these classes at Colden Common Community Centre. ‘en Joy dance fitness grew from there and I gained my fitness qualifications and brand certifications, promoting fitness and wellbeing for adults through dance-based group exercise classes.

A key focus for me is encouraging people to move more, particularly from mid-life onwards. As we get older, the effects of inactivity and sedentary lifestyles become more apparent. Bone density and muscle mass decrease, balance and flexibility decline and we need to continue to be active in order to prolong a good level of mobility and ultimately retain our quality of life and general health and wellbeing.

Starting a new business within the community amidst a global pandemic has not been without it’s setbacks, but I look forward to what the future brings.

What to expect at an ‘en Joy dance fitness session

As an Exercise To Music instructor, I’m very much drawn to dance-based fitness. I’ve never been a gym person and the only run you’ll find me on is the school run, so you won’t find super high impact moves, sit ups or push ups in my classes, just the odd plie squat! My aim is to make fitness as fun as possible and I love to see all-round smiles throughout my classes. My classes do not focus on technical dance ability and there’s generally no break-down of steps, they are all follow-along sessions focusing on raising your heart rate and improving your aerobic fitness. You may not ‘get’ all the moves straight away, but that’s ok, they will become more natural to you over time. Just keep moving!

‘en Joy dance fitness mission statement

‘en Joy dance fitness aims to promote positive ageing, helping adults maintain a healthy level of physical fitness and improve balance, flexibility and functional fitness in order to reduce the risks of inactivity in later life, while also improving mental wellbeing, through fun, feel-good fitness classes within a supportive, social community of like-minded participants. 

This Girl Can

‘en Joy dance fitness is proud to be a This Girl Can partner, supporting the campaign to inspire more women to get moving and feeling good about themselves, whatever their shape or size, age or level of fitness. This Girl Can celebrates active women who are doing their thing no matter how they do it, how they look or even how sweaty they get! No one is going to judge you at our classes – everyone is too busy focusing on which direction their own feet are going in! You may not ‘get’ all the moves straight away and that’s fine, they will become more natural to you over time, just keep going, have fun and smile your way through it!

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