From Elvis to The East Village

At the 14th Street Y, we like to offer fitness experiences that are fun, energetic, and addictive.  

Because you don’t always have time to try all the classes that interest you, we offer additional fitness intensives every month to give you a chance to try something different.  In April (this Saturday, in fact!) we’re excited to offer NIA, a great combination of energy, dance, flexibility and strength training that also happens to be very, very fun.  Especially when it’s taught by Yvonne!



1.  How did you get into Nia?
I was waiting to take a Body Sculpt class at a Fitness Club and was amazed to see the members dancing like no-one was watching. Being a dancer, I knew that class was for me. And so…byebye Body Sculpt.


2.  What do you love about teaching Nia?

I love teaching the Joy of Movement. (Nia motto) and spreading the joy through dance arts, martial arts and healing arts.


3.  What do you find special about teaching at the 14th Street Y?

I find the members of the 14th Street Y a uniquely joyful bunch. I sense them anticipating the fun of the routine we’re going to share every Tuesday. I can see them thinking…’wonder what she’s going to teach us tonight?’


4.  Is there anything you would say to people who may be interested in trying NIA but haven’t yet?

I have much to say to people who may be interested in trying Nia but haven’t yet. First, many people say to me, they can’t dance and have two left feet. I say to them, come in and bring both your left feet! I tell them, Nia means, No Inhibitions Allowed and to leave their inhibitions at the door. There’s no right or wrong. I encourage them to move ‘their body’s way’ I am there for guidance. “Life’s a Dance You Learn As You go…sometimes you lead…sometimes you follow…That’s my slogan. 


5. I heard you had a hip surgery and that you were back to teach very quickly. Tell me more. I had a hip replacement in December. Osteoarthritis. Dance was not the issue. I was given the okay to teach 4 weeks later by my doctor. And so I did. I recovered quickly because I was in good physical condition from the get-go. Also have taken good care of my health throughout my life.


6. You had a brush with Elvis, yes? I danced in 2 films with Elvis. ‘Kissin’ Cousins’ and ‘Roustabout”. I did not date him. I dated his cousin. I became a professional dancer when I was 18. I lived in Hollywood, CA and was very lucky to work constantly during those years. I danced/acted in films, on television, in night clubs and musical theatre. I was fortunate to be cast with a group of entertainers by USO and traveled to Europe, and Southeast Asia, landing in Vietnam just after the bombing of Pleiku. I am also an award-winning playwright and have written a play about the journey to Vietnam. At 76, I will continue to ‘dance through life’.


Yvonne teaches NIA   every Tuesday night at 6:15pm at the 14th Street Y.

Strength with the BUFF BRIDE!


Christen is getting married in the fall, and is working out at the 14th Street Y towards the healthiest and most fit wedding day ever.  We’re posting her workouts (with personal trainer Jordan) so that you might benefit from everything she’s learning and doing.  We’ve included instructive links to those we thought might need a little more explanation. 

Try this one today! 

PT Jordan:  Christen’s objective the last two weeks has been strength development. We have reduced the balance, core and stability exercised, introduced a few power and agility exercises. We also increased the resistance of her main exercises and reduced the number of repetitions she performed. Here is that workout:

-5 Min warm up on elliptical or Concept 2 rowing machine

-Core Exercises:
1. Ball roll-out to plank hold
2. Ball scaption (belly on ball, arms extend in Y formation out and up)
3. Ball long lever arm curl-ups (lower back on ball, arms extend overhead. Crunch ribs towards hips, lifting shoulder blades off ball and then releasing back down into slight extension)
15-20 of each, holding final rep for 15-20 seconds.

A&B performed as super-set, which is back to back with 30-60 seconds rest between.
1. A. Box Jumps: 10-20
B. Toe Taps: 30 seconds
2. A. Medicine ball overhead Throw-Down
B. Medicine ball chest pass.

Strength Series:
8-12 repetitions of each exercise. Alternating days; one day performed multiple sets the next as a circuit.
1. Squat to press
2. Dumbbell Chest Press
3. Dumbbell Triceps Extension
4. Cable or Machine Row
5. Thera-Band Curl
6. Dumbbell Step-up on Bench

Alternating days; assisted stretching and various static stretches.

Christen’s next series will focus more on movement, balance and coordination. Stay tuned for the next workout!