This is not your mother’s jazzercise. It’s ladies’ night at 10 a.m. on a Monday morning.
Kazaxé (pronounced ka-za-SHAY), invented in someone’s basement by Asuka-Bom, seems a distant cousin to the Zumba craze. The difference is it doesn’t feel like anybody’s freakin’ craze, because it thrives with zero marketing, and retains a nasty, underground feel. Thanks to roaring word-of-mouth, it has been forced to move to a larger basement — behind the Total Wine (!) and entering at the loading docks, beneath the Annandale (Va.) Boys & Girls Club. (Tell them Terry sent you.)
This experience is for ladies of all ages — and a few good men — who don’t get enough club time. A $5 cover (or as little as $3.33, if you buy a multivisit pass) covers mingling, disco search lights, gargantuan fans, mirrors, ear buds for the booming music, water from fountains or a fridge stocked with bottled (it’s not open bar but 50 cents extra), and at least three sexy dancers on stage to emulate. There was even the smell of smoke, in every exhalation of the hyper, tattooed lady next to me.
I admit I got lost on some (OK, all) of the hip-hop moves, but it doesn’t matter if you do nothing but grapevines, electric slides or Sandra Dee‘s moves in “Grease” — you will sweat mercilessly, and each somatic cell — maybe even some gametic ones — will be smiling after the hour is through.
At the start of the dimly lit (thank goodness) class, instructor Farrah asked who was new, so I raised my hand, aware that she would then be spotting me for signs of crisis. At first I thought that my moves were to dancing what karaoke is to singing — best done in the privacy of my bathroom. Soon I found my zen, and she would check on me, coax out a little nod, so she knew I wasn’t going under. Twenty minutes in, though, when a frenetic merengue came on, I became a BEAST. My half-Puerto Rican heritage took over, my bottom half on automatic blender so I could focus on all the crazy arm moves. Wait, who is that caterwauling? Oops. Me.
But when the healthfully narcissistic guy on stage took the lead with his impossibly jive moves during a lightning-round remix of T-Pain‘s “Take Your Shirt Off” … teasing and finally, yes, stripping off his shirt, a-twista in da air like a helicopta … I knew I was hooked.
Time to buy more scrunchies.