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ONE GLANCE AT THE DANCE HOUSE FITNESS WORKOUT SCHEDULE and it’s pretty clear that this isn’t your typical group exercise studio. The lineup is full of sassy class names like Strut, Booty Werk, and Tight AF that are designed to make clients feel sexy, confident, and strong. Inside the Montrose studio, a DJ booth sits in the back of room, which is splashed with plenty of sunlight and a brightly colored graffiti mural. Printed in huge lettering on the wall is the signature Dance House Fitness motto: We don’t work out, we werkitout.

Meeting founder, co-owner, and instructor Jenny Sanchez is the first step to understanding the concept; the energetic dance maven is a powerful force at the helm of any class. On this particular Saturday she is wearing old school high-top sneakers and preparing to teach Hustle, which feels more like a party than a workout. As the DJ blasts the latest pop songs through the sound system, Sanchez quickly finds any neatly tied ponytails in the room and signals for them to be taken down (sweaty, sexy, hair whipping is a must in her studio). After a quick warm-up, the class falls in behind Sanchez, watching and following along with her steps. The dance moves are not only modern and explosive, but are also repetitive enough to allow dancers of any level to catch on and keep up.

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Jenny Sanchez, in strut mode.

Sanchez has been involved with dance in some capacity since the age of two, but didn’t have enough time to pursue it during college. After graduating, she was determined to become her healthiest self yet. “I started a blog The FITista to keep myself accountable," she says. “What started as a personal method for accountability has since turned into a full-on brand. After sitting back and realizing that there was a need in Houston for this type of niche, I quickly moved on it.”

Dance House Fitness opened its first location just over a year ago and continues to expand its following, with Sanchez recently being named one of Houston Chronicle’s 50 Hottest Fitness Pros. The programming she has created is a unique marriage of both dance and fitness—while three of the class types are dance-based (Strut, Hustle, and Choreography), the other three (Booty Werk, Tight AF, and Stretch4SX) do not involve any dance at all.

“All our classes are open to all levels—even non-dancers! DHF allows people a space to do what they love without any stress or a competitive atmosphere,” says Sanchez. Along with breaking the mold of typical dance studios, DHF is the first and only that has a resident DJ as part of the team. In order to manage the business and cope with the growing demand, two additional instructors have recently come on board.

Sanchez and her business partner Christian Bianchi have ambitious goals for the future of DHF. With continued dedication, they hope to bring more locations not only to Houston, but eventually the global community. Laughs Sanchez: “I want DHF to be the next Starbucks of the fitness world! I want people to want it every single day and be able to get to it on every corner!”

Dance House Fitness is located at 1839 Richmond Ave., dancehousefitness.com. New clients can try for one week of unlimited classes for $29.

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