There is a local workout so tough, even NFL players are intimidated by it. This intense workout is at Dancers Shape. As any great dancer knows, there’s no athlete quite like a dancer, and even football players have to agree!
Bringing Healing to Fitness
Before we talk football, we should go back to the beginning. Dancers Shape founder Jennifer McCamish was a professional dancer who trained day in and day out. Years of strenuous training took a toll on her body, though. In 2005 she had to have hip surgery, putting her dance career on hold.
Utilizing a hybrid of Pilates, yoga, and dance training, McCamish made her way back to the stage six years later.
In 2010, McCamish started Dancers Shape as a means of exercise that was as challenging as it was healing. Through collaboration with physical therapists and doctors, McCamish curated moves into an efficient class.
Movement With Purpose
Since the studio’s first signature barre class, Dancers Shape has added Pilates equipment, plus spin and dance classes. Today the business on Burnet Road offers over 18 variations of group classes, private and semi-private training, and a budding partnership with local physical therapist Dr. Toussaint Biondi and certified health coach Megan Brown.
Gifting the Austin community her passion for dance and fitness allowed McCamish’s career to come full circle. But it wasn’t until 2011, when Jasmine Clayton worked the front desk for Dancers Shape, that McCamish would see the possible extent of her offerings to the Austin community.
Budding Friendship Between Football and Dance
In 2012, McCamish hosted an appreciation party for her staff and clients at her home, and she ended up with heaps of leftover food. Begging her guests to take the food off her hands, Clayton perked up, explaining her boyfriend and his friends “eat a ton of food!”
So who was this human food vacuum? That would be Fozzy Whittaker, University of Texas turned NFL running back and kick returner.
During this time, McCamish was trying out a co-ed signature barre class at the studio that wasn’t taking off. Whittaker, coming off an injury, was looking for a new arsenal to better protect his body. So Clayton grabbed Whittaker, and Whittaker grabbed his friends, to join Dancers Shape’s new barre/Pilates fusion class. McCamish and Whittaker have been training together ever since.
“It was truly humbling to see this different type of training.” Whittaker told me. “And the better you get at it, the harder it is!” he cracked up.
“He’s such a fighter. He always overcomes his injuries,” McCamish said of her longtime student. This fighter strength is a quality McCamish and Whittaker seem to share. They both understand the value of innovative, safe training and injury prevention.
Of course, Whittaker’s generous and gregarious personality kept the NFL players flowing into Dancers Shape to train with him. So McCamish created the Athletic Conditioning Class, specifically for these football pros.
To this day, NFL players and professional athletes who call Austin home during off-seasons flock to this class, to squeeze and hold their way to better posture, flexibility, strength, and coordination. This class has hosted an array of elite athletes including Brian Orakpo, Derrick Johnson, Emmanuel Acho, Jordan Hicks, Keenan Robinson, Marquise Goodwin, and many others!
McCamish smiles, “It’s so fun to see these powerhouses of athletes go from clunky to controlled, as they learn the enormous positive effects of small, controlled, eccentric movement.” Of course, these small, controlled movements aren’t as innocent as they may sound. My pain from McCamish’s class was so deep, it felt like my insides were on fire (in a good way)!
McCamish’s class at Dancers Shape works the tiniest muscles, the stabilizer muscles. These muscles, closest to the spine, support our bodies through power moves. You gain strength from the inside out, which is why these conditioning classes are so beneficial for athletes, and really everyone.
Dancers Shape offers specials for first-time students. McCamish and staff are kind, gentle, and understanding as they push you to greater strength and improved shape.
5350 Burnet Road — Website
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