Amanda Kloots’ name precedes her. That’s the conclusion I made when the line to get into her recent 10 a.m. dance cardio class stretched down a walkway and around the corner of the River Oaks Equinox. I had to double-check with a girl standing in front of me to verify I was in the right place. I should've known I was, though, just based on the sheer number of Lululemon-clad ladies in front of me. 

The NYC-based fitness instructor with a giant following—more than 48,000 on Instagram—was in town to teach her famous dance cardio class, a concept she's turned into her calling card as AK! Dance. Kloots is also behind similarly popular group fitness offerings AK! Rope and AK! Body.

I ended up being grateful for the line that morning, considering I was running late—a theme I stuck with for the duration of the class, as Kloots eight-counted her way into every muscle of my body. I made jumping in place my go-to move because, in my extensive fitness classes experience, I’ve learned the instructor won’t call you out if you’re enthusiastically moving. But on this day, Kloots proved that theory so wrong.

After we all piled into the studio space, Kloots made it clear from the get-go that she's no stranger to holding a captive audience. The former Radio City Rockette and Broadway dancer truly has an inspiring energy and presence about her, not to mention legs that stretch into next week. Kloots definitely rouses the “great conviction” she seeks in her class participants, as if her body wasn't already motivating enough.

Her self-curated playlists and meticulously planned choreography had me walking funny the next day, and I missed some steps. In person, Kloots’ dance cardio class channeled cheer camp levels of unity—if one dancer was missing the mark, everyone had to redo the routine. (Sorry not sorry for the extra toning sessions I doled out.)

As someone who fails at Zumba, I should have known better than to take a class designed for the more coordinated among us, but I survived. After making it to the end, I found that I really loved being surrounded by women smiling and laughing through a workout. Sure, we were sweating, and yes, all of the dance routines seriously burned, but the environment Kloots created the second we all crossed her threshold was unlike any other dance class I’ve attended—and I’ve attended more than I'd like to discuss. 

Although Kloots is unsure about when she'll return to Houston to teach another class, anyone interested in a fun workout that works can visit the star instructor's website for workout tapes of her dance cardio and highly regarded jump rope cardio classes. I haven't tried the jump rope cardio yet, but if it's anything like Kloots' dance cardio,  expect to finish crying tears of pain and joy.

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