Health & Fitness

By Jasmin Guleria

The Upper West Side is a quiet nook of Manhattan that is known for its ‘family friendly’ atmosphere and of course, its proximity to Central Park. As a ‘below 14th street’ dweller myself, I have always been skeptical of Upper Manhattan. Gyms seem to be few and far between as most of these urban dwellers opt for the park as their personal fitness center of choice.

Located at 248 West 60th Street, the Manhattan Movement of Arts Center (MMAC) is looking to add some variety to the UWS community. This brand-new spacious community center is home to several different programs including adult fitness and children’s dance and theatre classes. It is also home to the non-profit pre-professional ballet program, Manhattan Youth Ballet. To add to this, MMAC even holds art exhibits and theatrical events in its own state-of-the-art venue.

(MMAC’s Jazz class)

The fitness classes here are decidedly dance-centric, and upon my visit I took the Belly Dancing class. There were 4 students in one spacious dance room complete with ballet bars, wood flooring, high ceilings, and big windows. As the sun shone thru the windows and the room filled with Middle Eastern music, I shook my hips, concentrated on keeping my core tight, and daydreamed about sexy Arabian nights.

(MMAC’s Popular Aerial Class)

MMAC is first and foremost a dance and arts family community center. While my belly-dancing workout was interesting, I was expecting more of a workout than a dance class and thus for me, it lacked the intensity and burn I enjoy. That being said, kid-friendly Upper West Siders and those who are interested in picking up a tap, ballet, belly, or even a cirque de soleil-style aerial class, would benefit from the addition of MMAC in an area of the city lacking fitness variety. As for me, I’ll stick to my kid-free, cardio-focused gym conveniently located three blocks away from my home.

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Originally published May 2009
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