Introduction class of Marsala Bhangra to come to Boonsboro

January 19, 2013|By CRYSTAL SCHELLE |
  • Masala Bhangra is a cardio workout with simple steps, according to Zumba instructor Anita Binder.
Submitted photo

BOONSBORO — Bollywood is coming to Boonsboro — in the form of the fitness craze Masala Bhangra.

A introduction to the course will be from 2 to 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 27, at St. Mark's Episcopal Church's Parish Hall. The class is a joint effort with FIT Boonsboro and St. Mark's. Cost for the one-day class is $10.

Anita Binder, a licensed Zumba instructor with FIT in Boonsboro, said she discovered Masala Bhangra four years ago when she went to her first Zumba convention in Orlando, Fla.

 Masala means "spicy" in Hindi and Bhangra is a traditional folk dance from Punjab, India.

"I like the excitement of (Masala Bhangra), and the energy that came from it," she said.

The class she took was led by Sarina Jain, creator of Masala Bhangra. Jain has been devoted to fitness since her father died of a heart attack at age 47, according to She created Masala Bhangra, combining her fitness background with her Indian culture.  Today, Jain's program is taught worldwide.

Since that meeting, Binder has spent two years trying to find a certified instructor, or what they call ambassadors, to come to the area.

"I thought it's different from Zumba. It's an amazing cardio workout," she said. "And with the popularity of 'Slumdog Millionaire' and bhangra is now really coming now into the forefront. I thought this would be perfect to add for something new and fresh."

Binder said she loved the excitement and energy that came from Masala Bhangra.

"The steps aren't complicated to learn; they teach them very simply," she said.

And Binder, who has been teaching for years, found she was getting a good workout while having fun.

"I found my heart rate was really getting up and I was really sweating," she said. "I thought, ‘Wow, this is really great.'"

She said what she also found was that for some people Zumba can be hard on the hips and knees, while Masala Bhangra is a great upper-body workout. Prevention magazine recently touted the program as a way to tone arms and help banish back fat.

Leading the introduction class will be Ashley Douglas, master instructor, for the Jan. 27, Masala Bhangra program. 

Douglas describes Masala Bhangra as a "high-energy cardio fitness class." Bhangra, she said, is a dance that is done at festivals and weddings.

"Anytime they're doing a celebration, they're dancing the Bhangra dance," Douglas said. "We've taken those steps and added in a little bit of Bollywood flair."

Douglas said she danced growing up and so she always had an appreciation for dance and music. And, just like Binder, she saw Jain at a fitness convention demonstrating Masala Bhangra.

"I instantly fell in love it. The way you move your body, the way it's driven by the beat of the drums and the music — iit connected with me," she said.

After that, Douglas said she pursued becoming an master instructor with Masala Dance & Fitness Inc. She became certified in 2009.

She said it's a great workout for all ages and all fitness levels.

Douglas said Masala Bhangra is "good for anybody."

"It is high-intensity cardio, so if you want it to be a killer workout, it can," she said. "But if you need it a lower-level impact, we absolutely show you how to do that as well."

For those who are interested in teaching the class, Douglas will be back in the area Saturday, March 2, and Sunday, March 3, for ambassador training, at FIT in Boonsboro. Cost is $425 until Jan. 27; $525 until Friday, Feb. 8.

Binder said she hopes the class will encourage people to become ambassadors, or just become interested in the program.

"It's great for everyone," she said.

If you go ...

What: Intro to Masala Bhangra

When: 2 to 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 27

Where:  St. Mark's Episcopal Church's Parish Hall, 18311 Lappans Road, Boonsboro

Cost: $10 per person

For more information about Masala Bhangra, go to

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