We are going to dance ourselves HAPPY!

There’s no need to live out your Strictly Come Dancing fantasies on the sofa in front of the telly anymore when you can strut your stuff to SOSA Dance classes at Stratford Leisure Centre, as Gill Sutherland, editor of Stratford Herald Focus Magazine found out…

SOSA in the City Inspires Londoners to s-t-a-r-t dancing!

“Wow… SOSA in the City was on ANOTHER LEVEL, we absolutely loved dancing in the city with you! It was incredible to see my dream of a truly inclusive class for EVERYBODY becoming such a fabulous reality – and I am delighted to leave a lasting legacy that enables Londoners to be more active through dance.” Katy Barrow

It started with simple idea, but one that I soon realised would need a BIG plan… to bring people of all ages, abilities, shapes, sizes, faiths & cultures together from across London (and around the UK) to dance together – for FREE – in one fully inclusive class, in one amazing venue!

So, I applied for special funding from no less than the Mayor of London Fund, which was accepted almost immediately – as you can imagine, I was just so excited. And so SOSA In The City was born!

Then, with the empowering support from EMD UK (the governing body for group exercise), I knew that I could start to think even BIGGER…

Right from the start, I wanted to feel that SOSA In The City would achieve something significant and enduring, as well as creating the most amazing one-off, FREE community dance event.

And what better legacy to leave than enabling TEN fabulous London instructors to train for FREE too?

Then they could launch their own classes and enable everyone looking for an authentic, international dance fitness class to join us! And the rest, as they say, is history!!!

Last Sunday we staged this very special session, and it was phenomenal! And it’s really clear to me that SOSA In The City : London will be remembered for years to come by everyone who danced with us… not only in person but those who joined in as we went LIVE on Facebook!

You can see from our many wonderful photos and videos precisely what it looks and feels like to ‘Dance Yourself Happy’ – so thank you, Lucy Baker, Don Barrow and Carol Ramsey for these amazing memories!

But of course, what are memories unless we can share them? So, I’ve personally put together all the ‘best bits’ into a special SOSA In The City video review so we can all do just that. I love watching it, again and again… and hope you will too.

And if all this inspires you to start dancing, we would love to SOSA with you! To find a class near you, just pop your postcode into our Class Locator

If you’d like to train and teach SOSA, we’d love to welcome you into the SOSA Family too… so why not check out our Instructor Training Courses

Wishing you all a fabulous 2018… and let’s all k-e-e-p dancing!

Katy x

Published 20th January 2018


Shall We Dance?

Think your dancing days (or nights) are over? Maybe they haven’t even begun yet? Whatever your age and ability, the good news for our health and happiness for 2018 is a resounding “Yes, you should be dancing!”

Whether you’ve always danced, or always wanted to, it’s easy to see how fantastic it makes us feel…

Just look at the celebrities on BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing! From ‘absolute beginners’ to those who could do way more than ‘give us a twirl’, everyone became really passionate about learning the authentic steps and styling to become a ‘real dancer’.

The great thing about dancing is how it keeps us fit and active, without ever feeling like ‘exercise’.

In fact, dance is a fantastic total body workout, contributing to our heart and lung health, toning and strengthening our bones as well as our muscles. Dancing also helps to boost energy levels, improving balance, flexibility and co-ordination, plus our core strength and posture.

We exercise our memory at the same time, and the learning process actually creates new neural paths in the brain, increasing the body’s ‘feel-good’ serotonin levels with every new step.

Having fun in a friendly group definitely makes us feel happier too.

So, if you fancy the idea of dancing yourself fitter for 2018, why not take the first step by taking part in ‘SOSA In The City’?

Funded by the Mayor of London, this first-ever, one-hour SOSA Community Dance class in London takes place at 11.00am on Sunday, 14th January at York Hall, Bethnal Green, E2 9PJ, and it’s FREE!

Led by our fabulous founder, Katy Barrow and designed for all ages and abilities, you’ll dance yourself happy along with up to 150 other people – Salsa, Cha-Cha-Cha, a legendary Disco routine, a Cuban-style ‘Rueda de Casino’ dance and much more – to a playlist of iconic songs that it you cannot fail to sing along to!

Book your place and register NOW or get in touch so we can email our short registration form to you.

Published 27th December 2017

We’re so excited to have the Mayor of London’s support for our amazing FREE community class with up to 150 people dancing at SOSA In The City!

With empowering funding from Mayor of London and EMD UK,we’re aiming to inspire Londoners to become more active through our shared love of dance…

Founder Katy Barrow’s aim for SOSA Dance Fitness has always been to encourage everybody to get up and dance, and have fun in a friendly, local group. She has also brought that same sense of belonging to the growing number of qualified SOSA instructors around the UK, affectionately known as the ‘SOSA family’.

It is Katy’s real passion for genuine ‘inclusivity’ at every level that led her to seek funding for the creation of a FREE-FOR-ALL London-based community dance event, timed coincide with our New Year resolve to become more active. And so SOSA In The City was born!

Katy’s vision, adding specially funded instructor training into the project, is to ensure that this amazing, one-off Community Dance Class will have a lasting legacy. By training new instructors to launch their own SOSA classes all over the capital, there will be many more accessible and affordable chances to dance into 2018 – increasing the likelihood of participants remaining active.

“We could not have even dreamed of staging SOSA In The City without funding from the national governing body for group exercise,  EMD UK and Mayor for London,” confirms Katy. “I have just had the privilege of training some fabulous new SOSA instructors as part of this project, and I’m delighted that they will be dancing with us on the day!”

This first-ever SOSA In The City takes place on the second Sunday of 2018, January 14, at the iconic YORK HALL Bethnal Green, E2 9PJ. The class will start at 11:00am, with access for participants from 10:30am.

It is going to be a real SOSA spectacular and Katy has choreographed a very special, crowd-pleasing, fun SOSA Playlist! Dance routines include Salsa, Cha-Cha-Cha, Paso Doblé and Reggaeton – plus a legendary Disco track (the clue’s in the video!) and a real ‘first’ with a Cuban-style Rueda de Casino!

We would love to SOSA In The City with you! You do need to book your place in advance and fill in a standard PAR-Q ‘readiness to exercise’ form online (a downloadable version is available if preferred) – then all you need to do on the day is wake up, turn up and workout!

Just click on this link to Book Your FREE Place NOW! 

How about getting some friends together to SOSA with you? Just share Katy’s ‘take part video’ and the secure Booking/PARQ form

You can still apply for funded free SOSA Online Instructor Training too (must be completed by December 31, 2017 latest) so don’t delay – apply TODAY!

Even if you can make it along this time, please keep up to date with new SOSA Dance Fitness classes launching soon on our SOSA In The City Facebook page.

Published 30th November 2017

SOSA’s Online Training launch is perfectly in step with new STRICTLY! season

As the BBC rolls out its latest celebrity line-up for the 15th series of this top-rating dance extravaganza, Katy Barrow announces the creation of her new SOSA Dance Fitness Online Instructor Training Course – so you can be ready to launch your own classes when Strictly! fever grips the nation next month

Not only is the timing right but the launch package too, priced at a very special all-inclusive £99! Unsurprisingly, this hugely discounted offer is time-limited and will run only until Monday, 28th August, which coincides with the show’s high profile red carpet premiere.

Even before it launches, this new SOSA Online Course has achieved Active IQ Recognition, demonstrating SOSA founder Katy’s dedication to delivering the highest standard of professional instructor training. Also good to know for those looking to boost their CPD is that all of SOSA’s courses have been awarded with a maximum 10 CiMPSA Points, as well as 4 REPS Points.

Course content is of course key to instructors’ decision making, which is precisely why she undertook the creation of the whole online training programme herself. Everything from the course manuals and videos, including a fabulous 45-minute Masterclass with Katy, gives a very thorough but fun training package that takes approximately 12 hours to complete.

“It was a big decision to take our training online, and it was very important to me that I was able to re-create the personal attention that we give when training in person,” she explains. “I’m really thrilled with what we have achieved online, which feels as though each instructor is training with me through every stage in the process.”

The online training covers all six key dance styles that feature in SOSA Dance Fitness classes – Salsa, Cha-Cha-Cha, Kizomba, Rumba, Samba and Brazilian Zouk. The online materials give a fantastic insight into using authentic dance footwork, arms and body styling but making routines totally accessible for everyone to love dancing, regardless of any dance experience.

“I’m really passionate about making SOSA a truly ‘inclusive’ community class,” Katy emphasises, “which means being genuinely suitable for all ages and abilities, shapes and sizes, faiths and cultures. All of our qualified instructors have found this to have a really strong appeal among their groups, and as demand is growing fast we need more fantastic, inspiring instructors to fulfil the potential out there.”

Katy has elected to keep the rolling monthly licence at just £10, to enable instructors to make their classes affordable for all. For this, instructors get four new routines every month, full access to an extensive choreography hub, plus unrivalled business support. All this gives instructors a fantastic incentive to get classes up and running right away, to take fullest advantage of the Strictly! ‘call to action’ to k-e-e-p dancing!

To find out more and to book your place on the new SOSA Online Instructor Training Course now, head to sosadancefitness.co.uk and click onto the ‘Be an Instructor’ menu or go straight to the SOSA Shop. Use the code ‘onlinestrictly99’ to secure the special £99 package by midnight on 28th August 2017.

Published 18th August 2017

Active IQ has granted Professional Recognition to SOSA Dance Fitness’ Seated Fitness programme

A course to train instructors who are capable of planning and delivering seated dance classes to allow people of all abilities to take part in exercise and physical activity. We spoke to Katy Barrow – Founder and Director of SOSA Dance Fitness to find out more about her course which aims to create a fully inclusive fusion of dance and fitness for all.

What inspired you to create your programme?

“As a dance teacher for over 20 years, it felt a natural progression for me to combine the beauty and authenticity of dance with the sense of fantastic wellbeing that comes with keeping fit and being active. Basically, I wanted to inspire the nation to get active and learn to dance, and so SOSA Dance Fitness was born! My vision has always been to create a truly inclusive dance programme and I believed there is a genuine opportunity for, and excitement about, creating a seated SOSA Dance Fitness class. I’m really proud that we’re at the forefront of a dance movement to bring everybody into one fully inclusive class that is suitable for standing, supported and seated participants.”

What is the objective of your programme?

“We wanted to bring together the many fabulous international dance styles with memorable songs and soundtracks, and create a fitness formula that is totally accessible for everybody. With Seated SOSA Dance Fitness, we deliver all of that in a dynamic, safe and effective class with routines that are adaptable for all degrees of abilities and health conditions, as well as being suitable for exercise referrals and seniors. We provide learners with the knowledge and skills to adapt the basic dance steps and styling movements, using effective calorie-burning exercise movements for seated participants or those with additional health considerations. Importantly, we demonstrate how much fun the class can be when all of this is expertly in place.”

What subject areas does your programme cover?

“Our One-Day Instructor Training course is a fun-packed, intensive but hugely rewarding day where we will teach you everything you need to know to set up and run your own Seated SOSA Dance Fitness classes. You will learn how to create a seated workout using our core dance styles; Salsa, Samba, Paso Doble and Soca/Calypso. You will be taught warm up and cool down routines, together with choreography and styling tips that are fun, expressive and unique to Seated SOSA Dance Fitness. We will spend time with you enhancing your skills in building and running great classes that provide a motivating, exciting and challenging experience for your class participants. As part of our training and assessment course, instructors are also required to read our Instructor Training Manual, complete a pre-course online theory assessment and learn our Seated SOSA Dance Fitness Instructor Assessment routine, which forms their final practical assessment on the day.”

How does your programme benefit those taking part?

“We know that both our minds and bodies benefits when we move to music, and the sense of achievement and happiness that participants feel in learning authentic dance moves, techniques and body styling is self-evident. Promoting a sense of wellbeing is so important too, and our participants never need any encouragement to sing along and express themselves in a happy, relaxing way!

Physical activity is of course incredibly beneficial for older adults too, and can help to reduce the impact of illness and chronic disease, prevent memory loss and cognitive decline, and enhance mobility, flexibility and balance. There is also a rise in the need for various low impact classes for exercise referral participants, and this is the perfect class for those recovering from a serious / life-threatening condition. Exercise has been seen to assist both of these special populations in helping to improve their conditions and help them lead a more independent life, plus provide much needed social interaction and help improve confidence.”

What materials have you created to support delivery of your programme?

We pride ourselves on delivering a highly professional, personal and pro-active level of support for our instructors. Each person receives our in-depth Seated SOSA Dance Fitness training resource manual along with FULL and unlimited access to our Instructor Academy. This access gives them exclusive content, social media / marketing support and access to two new choreographed routines every month, PLUS a huge back-catalogue of adapted routines, all of which are broken down into easy-to-learn sections and can be delivered at different speeds and levels of difficulty, providing a safe and effective workout for everyone to enjoy.

I’m absolutely passionate about this, and 100% committed to supporting every Seated SOSA Dance Fitness instructor in making that happen.”

How did you find your experience with Active IQ’s Professional Recognition service?

I have found it nothing short of excellent. The application process was really simple, and even more so this time now it has moved to an online application instead of paper. Having Professional Recognition with Active IQ has really helped to promote our brand and add credibility to our instructor training programme in the fitness industry.

Published by ActiveIQ, 21st July 2017 – https://activeiq.co.uk/news/active-iq-grants-professional-recognition-to-sosa-dance-fitness-course/