Fitness instructor Christine Johnson says the new fitness craze Bokwa is more than just Zumba rebranded. “Bokwa is completely different from every other dance fitness brand because there is no choreography,” says Johnson. “Instead, we draw shapes, letters and numbers with our bodies, and we laugh, shout, sweat and enjoy moving together. The instructor uses hand signals to show which direction the group is moving in … and we move together with the music in patterns.”
Unlike group fitness activities that can be complex and intimidating, especially to newcomers, Bokwa is designed to be easy and accessible to participants of all ages and all fitness abilities, she adds.
Johnson owns Christine’s Cardio Fitness in North Asheville. She’s the Bokwa education specialist trainer, or BEST, for North Carolina. Johnson teaches Bokwa classes at her studio five days a week and volunteers to teach free classes at Evergreen Community Charter School through the Bokwa Bounce Foundation.
Xpress asked Johnson to tell us a little more.
Mountain Xpress: Can you tell me a little about how you got into Bokwa fitness and how you came to be an instructor?
Christine Johnson: I taught Zumba for five years before learning about Bokwa. I heard about it from a friend and loved the idea of using patterns instead of choreography. It seemed like a format that could reach more people. I wanted nondancers to fall in love with dance fitness because it is healthy.
So many people try a Zumba class and give up because it is too girlie and complicated for them, but Bokwa is not like that. I invited Toni Holbrook, the BEST from West Virginia, to come to Asheville, and I fell in love with Bokwa from the first day. Toni put me on the path to become the BEST for North Carolina, since we did not have one. I have been bouncing all over the state ever since.
How did you get involved with Bokwa Bounce and volunteering free Bokwa classes at Evergreen?
The Bokwa Bounce Foundation is a nonprofit initiative to get kids to enjoy fitness, and since music reaches kids, it is a perfect match. Bokwa instructors take a pledge to commit one hour of free instruction a week to local schools. My daughters, who are also fitness instructors, were once Evergreen students, and we love to support such an awesome school.
What has your experience been like with the kids there?
I love them. I have been teaching two second-grade classes, each with their own personalities. One group is more focused on getting every step right, and the other group just wants to let loose and shout on cue, which is part of Bokwa. It makes my heart sing to bring Bokwa to kids because kids just get it. They follow without having to count or overanalyze like adults do. Kids know how to party.
Can you tell me about your upcoming event with Paul Mavi? What does it mean to you to get to meet the creator and CEO of Bokwa fitness?
Paul Mavi is coming to Asheville for a Bokwa Bash, which is a four-day event starting with a master class with Paul on a Thursday, followed by a master class with the U.S. Master BEST on Friday, a punch-and-strike certification on Saturday and a Bokwa Level 1 certification on Sunday. Paul is excited about how quickly the Bokwa buzz is spreading here, and he is coming to support me as the new NC BEST. He is watching the Bokwa activity in Asheville and appreciates expansion of this dance fitness society.
What are you most excited about regarding the event?
When Paul offered me the position as BEST for North Carolina, he insisted on meeting me via Skype. He wanted to make eye contact with me and talk freely about his vision to see if it was something I was in agreement with first. I am so impressed with him. Paul is not a figurehead CEO; he is involved and caring, and I am so proud to be part of his Bokwa family. I can hardly wait to give him a hug and dance with him in person. It is going to be amazing.
Sign your school up for free Bokwa classes at the Bokwa Bounce Foundation here.
WHAT: The Bokwa Bash with Bokwa creator and CEO Paul Mavi
WHEN: Thursday, June 25, from 6:30-8:30 p.m.
WHERE: Evergreen Community Charter School, 50 Bell Road
TICKETS: $25 per person.