IT was more like the South Pacific than South Yorkshire... A new exercise class is bringing the moves and music of the Polynesian islands to the village hall at Kiveton.
Hot Hula Fitness has been brought to the UK by sisters Sarina Ratcliffe-Jones and Siobhan Ratcliffe.
They are the only instructors in the country teaching the classes which were devised in America by Anna Rita, who is originally from Samoa.
Sarina, 46, of Kiveton, said: “My twin sister Samantha lives in Las Vegas and when we went over to visit she told us about Hot Hula and we trained in it over there.”
Sarina invited me to join in the Wednesday class on a swelteringly hot night. We could almost have been in Hawaii, especially since the rest of the class were barefoot and wearing sarongs and flowers in their hair.
I felt seriously underdressed in normal gym clothes.
The music is a mixture of Tahitian drum beats, hip hop, reggae and chart music and the exercises are designed to work the core muscles around the abdomen.
“It’s all low impact, there’s no leaping about, and it’s a good complement to the zumba class we have after,” said Sarina. She and Siobhan were also the first to bring zumba to Sheffield.
Claire Tite, 26, of Limetree Avenue, Kiveton, had her second baby 14 months ago and has lost weight since taking up Hot Hula.
She said: “I was 13 stone after I had the baby and now I’m nine stone 13. I think it’s great because it’s something different and you can dress up for it.”
“Even though it’s not high impact I’m still dripping with sweat at the end. Sarina is good because she pushes you to work.”
“I’ve also made new friends and it’s boosted my confidence so much I’ve even signed up to do Race for Life.”
Her friend Mandy Jordan, 37, of Mackinnon Avenue, Kiveton, has two young children aged four and three and says it has improved her self esteem too.
“You can feel so low after having children and I just wanted to do some exercise and get some confidence back,” she said.
“I feel so much fitter and healthier and you get a real boost from the music.”
As the class started I felt like I was managing to keep up quite well, moving up and down on each leg and moving my hips, until Sarina pointed out I was supposed to be keeping my heels flat on the ground.
After that it felt much tougher and I could feel it more in my hips.
The movements are quite precise and there’s a definite technique to it, which I didn’t get the hang of straightaway, although Sarina said this was normal.
“They are very controlled movements but once you have got it, it’s a really good workout,” she said. “It’s designed to work the abs, glutes, quads and arms.”
Her hips seemed to have a life of their own as she moved forwards and backwards, keeping up a continuous movement. My hips definitely need to loosen up a bit before I’m worthy of a sarong.
The moves have exotic-sounding names likes tamau, hips side to side; ami, circling hips; and afata, hips hitting all corners.
By the end of the hour-long class I didn’t feel out of breath but I could tell that I’d worked my abs.
Rebecca Devine, 21, of Main Street, Aughton, said: “I’ve been doing it since it started in March and I can feel it working, especially once you have learnt the moves.”
She encouraged her friend Susan Walker, 32, of Arcubus Avenue, Swallownest, to have a go too.
Susan said: “It’s good fun and we encourage each other. I like the music and it seems to make you work harder.”
For details of class times and prices call Sarina on 07891 087354.
l To see a video of the Kiveton Hot Hula Fitness class go to our website at www.dinningtonguardian.co.uk