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Witness the fitness

By Katie Thomas Explore Big Sky Contributor

Bozeman is an active town. We seem to keep winning awards for it, and everyone here has their workout. If you don’t, you tend to feel left out of the “I went on the sickest ride today” and “I ran up Blackmore; what did you do this weekend?” conversations.

But while our community contains people who use such obscurities as roller-skiing and wake surfing as their fitness routines, not all exercise treasures are limited to the outdoors.

This is good news for those of us who like to do more than ski. Hidden in the underground confines of Bozeman’s word-of-mouth world is one of the town’s best-kept secrets: Rawckk That Body, a cardio-dance fitness class held at Tanya’s Dance Company, which offers a completely different kind of workout and access to more endorphins than you thought you had.

Rawckk That Body, LLC was founded and created by Tara Heinrich, who goes by the whimsical moniker “Trawckk” (pronounced “TEE-rock”), a native Montanan who has spent her life dancing, choreographing, and competing. Her class is a high-energy cardio workout that incorporates toning into an hour of hip-hop/funk-inspired dance, led by Trawckk herself.

Heinrich grew up taking ballet, jazz, clog, tap and hip-hop. She began performing and competing at a young age, and went on to work as a dance instructor in Billings until 2006, when she began teaching children at Tanya’s Dance Company. In addition to collaborating over the years with various local dance troupes including “Caravan of Dreams,” Montana Ballet’s “The Nutcracker,” and Venture Theatre’s production of “Grease” in Billings, Tara often volunteers as a guest hip-hop instructor at workshops and schools.

Rawckk That Body originated as a class called “Dance Grooves” in the fall of 2008, when Heinrich was teaching at a local fitness club. The class slowly took off over the next several years, sometimes with upward of 80 attendees, ranging from ages 15 to 75.

Heinrich uses lunges, squats, jumping jacks and other toning features within and around exuberant, upbeat dance routines. There are always modifications for those who can’t or choose not to do the more challenging moves; as Heinrich puts it: “You don’t have to be a dancer to benefit from my class, you just have to like moving and music. I try to keep it simple enough for those with two left feet.”

Part of Heinrich’s instruction is through comedy; she is a warm and natural performer and has a gift for distracting with humor and teaching at the same time. She maintains that her success is due to creating “a fun, creative environment where individuality and uniqueness are encouraged while being active, getting or staying healthy, and doing something positive for yourself.”

Some may be surprised to find such a sophisticated hip-hop choreographer and dancer here in Bozeman, but there is a growing niche of fitness enthusiasts who enjoy letting go and being silly and sexy while working out. And they appreciate being led by someone so inspiring, fit and artistic, while being sassy, sensual and uninhibited.

“If I can make people happy for just one hour, then I’ve done my job,” Heinrich says. “My goal is also to encourage, and if that helps to jumpstart someone’s weight loss or overcome their fear of fitness, then I’m successful.”

Tara Heinrich teaches Rawckk That Body at Tanya’s Dance Company on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays at 9 a.m. Email or visit Rawckk That Body’s YouTube page for more information.

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