Fitness Craze Kazaxe Coming to Tenleytown

Watch this video for a sampling of what you can expect at a Kazaxe workout.

Get ready to shake, shimmy, and sweat, Tenleytown. The growing fitness craze Kazaxe (pronounced kay-zah-shay) is coming to the neighborhood starting this weekend.

Founded eight years ago in Northern Virginia by aerobics instructor Asuka Boutcher, Kazaxe is a high-intensity cardio workout that features international rhythms, including dancehall, reggae, salsa, and calypso, and energetic dance moves. It has garnered a loyal following of hundreds who frequent the main studio in Springfield, Virginia, and was profiled earlier this year in the Washington Post Express.

Now Tenleytown residents can get in on the fun. Kazaxe instructor Dee Williams will be offering classes on Sundays at noon at the Sahara Dance Studio, starting this Sunday, September 7.

Williams, a native of the Turks and Caicos Islands and former member of the Islands’ national dance group, was first introduced to Kazaxe in 2010. While a graduate student at Howard University, she heard about the relatively new workout from members of her church congregation. An initial class converted Williams to a devotee of the dance-based exercise program, and she often went four to five times a week.

“I loved the familiar rhythms and music,” said Williams of the international beats and moves that characterize Kazaxe. “It made me feel like I was at home in the islands.”

Class instructors quickly noticed Williams, giving her opportunities to lead songs during workouts, and eventually her passion turned into a position. She has been a Kazaxe instructor since 2011.

Williams is excited to be working with Sahara Dance Studio to introduce Kazaxe to Tenleytown. She says Sahara Dance Studio founder Rachel Kay Brookmire came across a Megaxe (mega-shay) event on the National Mall to raise funds for children in need. The bright colors and energy of the scores of dancers grabbed Brookmire’s attention and a partnership was born. It’s a bit of a departure from Sahara Dance Studio’s focus on the art of belly dancing, but Williams says she thinks the multicultural aspect of Kazaxe is absolutely in line with Sahara’s approach.

Although instructor Williams has a background in dance, she emphasizes that you don’t need to be a skilled dancer to take part in a Kazaxe class. “You just need to come with the will to try,” she says. “The main goal is to have fun and to take you away from the stress, troubles, and challenges of life.”

While Kazaxe is a serious one-hour workout, participants are encouraged to go at their own pace and have fun. All ages and fitness levels are welcomed. And although students often wear bright colors, reflective of the dance party atmosphere, there is no set dress code for classes. “Just wear what is most comfortable and allows you to move,” advises Williams.

The one-hour Kazaxe class will be offered on Sundays at noon from September 7 through December 15 at the Sahara Dance Studio, 4433 Wisconsin Avenue, NW. Classes are $20 each, or you can sign up for the entire 15-week term for $260. Register online at under Kazaxe Dance Party.

For more information on Kazaxe, visit the founder’s website.


Have you taken a Kazaxe class? Tell us about your experience in the comments section.