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Twerk it! Studio Rouge combines dance and exercise for booty-lifting benefits

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Studio Rouge in Grandview isn’t your average fitness studio. Here you’ll find classes in pole dancing, aerial fitness, and exotic dancing—including the aptly-named “Twerkout” class. And it’s not just for those who want to be on stage.

The butt-lifting Twerkout class doubles as both sensuality and body positivity lessons for all. Taught by Tracy Ruby, she prides herself on being aptly coined “twerk technician,” having taken lap dance and pole dance classes at Studio Rouge before becoming a regular instructor.

“It’s so much fun to see other people who come in, not sure what’s going to happen, and find that they can do it,” Ruby says. “The idea behind Twerkout is to take ‘twerk’ and make it a workout—to give people a new dance environment where they can come and they can learn new skills. [They can] take those home or to the club or wherever they want to do their new booty-poppin’ moves.”

Photos: Stef Streb

Ruby first assesses the physical needs and limitations of the class, combining twerk moves with traditional exercises as a mash-up with the ideal butt lift.

“If you go through Instagram, you can plug in ‘twerk’ and see all these different people coming up with different moves that work really well for their bodies, but during Twerkout, there are certain moves that’ll work for one person that won’t work for another,” she says. “Our booties are all shaped differently; our bodies all work differently. When you see people on Instagram, they’ve found all these moves, put them together, and they got their booties to twerk in these magnetical, amazing ways.”

While visitors may scroll through Instagram before class to get a gauge of what they can expect from Twerkout, Ruby insists upon using repetition in areas where guests may feel they’re lacking. “You build natural muscles with, for instance, twerk, where you’re working specific calisthenics to enhance your sense of your motions,” she says. “It’s healthier. I mean you’re building your muscles. You’re not just implanting new material. We do a lot of squats in class, because that’s where you’re going to help get your leg joints, back joints and muscles in these areas to be more responsive and stronger.”

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As Ruby encourages doing squats outside of Twerkout, she also stresses the importance of proper form with an extensive warm-up to match. “We do quite a bit of warming up of the spine so that your back is ready for all that we’re going to ask of it. Then we’ll go into some twerk drills, which is where the workout kind of kicks up and we’ll have some traditional exercises along with learning new twerk skills,” she says. “We will go through some core moves for twerk, that are specifically for a twerk and then we’ll start putting together some choreography […] based on those core moves, maybe adding in some new ones. Once we have our choreography built, we will run through it a few times so that you’ve got something to take with you, and then there’s a cool-down period.”

Twerkout guests may struggle during a session, but Ruby firmly assures that she won’t let her class fail. “Say one move is not working for you in class. If it’s not working for you there, keep working on it. It may just never be your move, you may not care for it. That’s fine. That happens in all kinds of classes,” she says. “Burpees, for example, [are] not everybody’s favorite. Some people are good at them and love them. Other people do not, but you can keep working at it, get better and eventually master these skills.”

Ruby indulges in plain yogurt and granola as a protein-oriented go-to snack following a session of Twerkout, and she encourages her class to enjoy any food that nourishes and energizes their bodies, er, booties. Following this downtime, she looks forward to amping her class back into gear.

“There is never a moment where I’m not encouraging you. Everybody has a moment every day when they wanna give up. My job as the instructor is to help motivate that person and everyone else to keep moving, just keep going. The studio itself is built around self-love and finding ways that you appreciate your own body and can share that with yourself and others,” she says. “Come in and see what it’s about! It’s an hour, okay? So you’re not going to spend five hours with me doing something you don’t like, and I promise you’ll have fun.”

Find out more about classes at Studio Rouge in Grandview at studiorougecolumbus.com.

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It’s no longer necessary to do squats outside of your gym, for now

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Gym rats rejoice! Those who’ve been missing the arduousness of wiping down salty equipment after each use or hoping that they come across some top-secret CIA information on the lockerroom floor are in luck.

Since the closing of all non-essential business on March 24, gyms have been void of protein shakes and Affliction t-shirts. Following a court order on Tuesday, workout facilities are now allowed to open their doors earlier than the previous May 26 ruling. Those who were adamant about getting leg day in while also exercising their first amendment rights will no longer have to do so outside of gym complexes.

Lake County Common Pleas Judge Eugene Lucci ruled on Tuesday that state and county health officials, including Ohio Director of Public Health Dr. Amy Acton and the Lake County General Health District, won’t be able to take any action against fitness facilities violating the original reopening date. This comes following a complaint filed by The 1851 Center for Constitutional Law on behalf of 35 Ohio gyms, including Columbus’ Ohio Strength.

The general public would be harmed if an injunction was not granted. There would be a diminishment of public morale and a feeling that one unelected individual could exercise such unfettered power to force everyone to obey," Lucci wrote in the injunction

"The public would be left with feelings that their government is not accountable to them. Prolonged lockdowns have deleterious effects upon the public psyche."

When Lt. Gov. Jon Husted announced several opening days this past Thursday, guidelines that gyms would have to follow to remain open were also outlined. Gyms, fitness centers, and dance studios must keep employees and clients six feet apart, which also includes equipment. Upon entering these facilities, everyone will be asked to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer. 

Fitness facilities will not be asked to close if they follow these guidelines.

This doesn’t mark the end of the lawsuit, though. Restrictions placed on fitness centers are being temporality lifted while the case makes its way through the court system. A successful lawsuit, however, could mean that gyms could sue the state for lost income.

“The ruling by Judge Eugene Lucci of the Lake County Court of Common Pleas explains that private property rights are fundamental rights in Ohio, and that the Ohio Department of Health has both violated those rights and exceeded its own authority,” according to a statement from Cincinnati-based Finney Law Firm.

Photo by: WKYC Channel 3
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Pelotonia launches virtual program for 2020 event

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For the past 12 years, Pelotonia has raised hundreds of millions of dollars for cancer research with an annual three-day bicycle race. Due to current social distancing measures, riders will not be able to gather this year to trek across central and southern Ohio.

The non-profit cancer research organization, though,  has found a way to allow riders to participate virtually. Launching on June 2, My Pelotonia will allow participants to set their own fundraising and biking goals for the year in place of the three-day event. A fundraising requirement will not be required. 

“While so much has recently changed, the need for critical research funding and the goal of Pelotonia has not,” said Doug Ulman, Pelotonia President and CEO.

“My Pelotonia will be an experience that is more inclusive and personal with more ways to engage and participate than ever before.”

My Pelotonia is also encouraging families to participate. To make this more possible, Pelotonia has waived registration fees and an age requirement. The fundraising deadline has also been extended until October 31.

The program is also encouraging people to not just exercise on their bikes. Running, walking, and volunteering are just some of the activities that count toward a rider’s personal goal.

In lieu of the traditional Pelotonia Opening Ceremony, a live broadcast celebration will be held on August 7.

100 percent of every dollar raised will go toward providing critical funds for cancer research at the OSUCCC-James.

Photos by Pelotonia


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Zen From Home: The Self Care Cafe takes wellness to the digital space

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As social isolation has kept us cooped inside, visual artist, yoga and meditation guide Tobi Ewing has encouraged the city to stay preoccupied with a space for healing—The Self Care Cafe. Previously starting creative platform Beyond the Clouds in 2016 while living in New York City, it served as a freelance portfolio for branding, painting commissions and design projects, but it was creating The Self Care Cafe with her partner, Jasmine, that made their intentions in wellness multi-purposeful.

“[The Self Care Cafe is] a pop-up smoothie bar and self care experience. We're available for private events as well as markets. The timing was powerful,” Ewing said about the platform, which launched during the wake of COVID-19 in March. “So excited for our future, despite the wildness
right now.”

While Ewing formerly hosted yoga and meditation meet-ups in Goodale Park to ultimately receive her yoga certification, it was also a grounds for guests to become firmly rooted within a holistic approach. During quarantine, The Self Care Cafe continues to be an outlet for comunal zen, as the platform has gone digital through online guided wellness classes.

“It's a haven of safe, experimental and creative pause with your wellbeing in mind. We offer seven weekly online classes, five different class types and currently [have] three diverse, certified yoga guides. We are a people and narrative-centered wellness brand,” Ewing said. “Our programming is inspired by our community, we offer yoga and meditation, but are also open and will host other offerings that are out of the traditional wellness box. Wellness doesn't look like one thing and it's important that our programming meets that.”

As Ewing stayed quarantined during the pandemic, she was approached by The Washington Post for a virtual diary around the coping methods of social isolation. While she mentions that she’s “still floating” from the opportunity, the feature gravitated attention on The Self Care Cafe and the need for restorative meditation. She’s also been taking social-isolation in stride, considering this time to be a reset of her lifestyle, especially as she refrained from making New Year’s Resolutions at the top of the year. 

“If you follow the seasons, the New Year starts in spring. My affirmation for March was ‘I am prepared and I am protected.’ Looking back, that was my resolution—to remember I am divinely guided through it all,” she said.

Inspired by the hues, bold contrasts and shape interaction of Black and queer people along with fashion, Ewing has embarked on lifestyle goods under the Beyond the Clouds  brand.  Made in-house with vegan, organic, cruelty-free and sustainable ingredients, Ewing’s ethical production of these goods values mindfulness.

“I love making body and face creams for fun, I use quality oils, cold pressed essential oils, shea butter and aloe vera. It's cooling, powerful and non-greasy. Essential oils are great for brightening and cleaning the skin as well as setting your space with a diffuser,” she said. “Last year, I did a fun project with Beyond The Clouds and created a non-toxic wellness line, you can still shop our products exclusively at Small Talk in the Short North and Clintonville.”

Though the world has become entirely plugged-in while social-isolating from home, Ewing believes that this is the best time to establish a new practice while also giving community servitude through healing. As the public still remains in quarantine, The Self Care Cafe honors the reality of our current lives, while staying committed to extending our path to wellness. 

“Find what works for you and do just that—don't force something that's "ideal" or sounds good. Right now, wellness may look like weekly virtual dates with friends because you're craving connection, cooking 30-minute meals if you have the time, or simply resting because you're tired,” Ewing said. “I work with my clients to customize their toolbox of self care.”

While aiding clients through their restoration process during quarantine, the virtual weekly schedule of The Self Care Cafe is both convenient and accessible for those who remain at home, but Ewing remains optimistic of gathering with supporters once the pandemic subsides. Besides, with Ewing’s presence, clients shared that they “felt seen” under her gentle approach.

“I know that I won't be everything for everybody, but it means a lot to me to lead with inclusion and diversity in wellness and in the arts. I didn't feel seen in the wellness space, but thanks to projects like Black Girl In Om, I was able to show up fully. I want to be able to offer the same [access] with my work.”

Further grasping her connection with Columbus through The Self Care Cafe is also something that Ewing looks forward to, even if it means we’re all inside for just a while longer. For Ewing, it’s not about rushing the process of wellness, but uplifting community care. “Community care, to me, is practicing personal self care, preservation and radical honesty with the health of your community in mind. As we heal individually we're able to heal as a community,” she said. “When you show up for yourself, you show up for your community.”

For more information on the Self Care Cafe, visit beyondtheclouds.co.

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