What do Star Trek fans have in common with a dance fitness program called BollyX? I am a Trekkie and a fitness enthusiast and it never dawned on me that my two hobbies would or could one day collide. I have to give credit to my friend Brooke Wilkins, who opened up my mind to this possibility.
I began watching reruns of the original Star Trek series when I was eight years old. It came on every morning at 7 a.m. before I went to school. Captain Kirk was my hero, and Star Trek was my favorite show. Cheesy sets or not, I could easily believe that there was life on other planets and that interstellar travel would be possible one day. I also think Star Trek reruns helped me learn to speak English. You see, I immigrated to the U.S. just a few months before finding Star Trek.
By the time The Next Generation came about, I was in law school, and a weekly episode of TNG was a welcome relief from big text books. Am I Team Kirk or Team Picard? That's a tough one. TOS and TNG are my favorites, and perhaps that has a lot to do with the fact that I was able to watch these shows the most. I love all the characters in TOS and TNG, but if I had to choose one character as my favorite, it would be Data. He gave us so much to consider about humanity.
So, I met Brooke at Hale Centre Theatre in West Valley City, Utah. An attorney like me, Brooke decided to put away her law books some years ago and do what she truly loves, theater. So we met one day in 2013 when I was volunteering at Hale's costume shop. I'm not sure how the conversation came around to Star Trek, but Trekkies seem to somehow reveal their true selves in short order. Brooke and I did just that one afternoon while mending costumes. I learned about Brooke's cosplay events, her yearly trips to the Las Vegas Star Trek Convention, and her involvement with The Seventh Fleet, which is Utah’s Star Trek fan group.
It was Brooke who invited me to volunteer at a Salt Lake FanX event with George Takei, and she lent me her Dr. Crusher uniform for it. I’ve never had so many people want to take pictures with me; that costume was magic! I even got to take a picture with George Takei. I have volunteered regularly since then for Salt Lake Comic Con, SL FanX and at Creation Entertainment’s Official Star Trek Convention in Las Vegas, and I have had the honor of working with many of the Star Trek celebrities. I have also met some wonderful people at these events, other volunteers, cosplayers and Trekkies.
But these events only come around once or twice a year, so when I'm not volunteering or working my desk job, I'm teaching a fitness class. I’ve been slightly addicted to fitness for about 15 years; it’s a good way to work off all the day's tension. I grew up with Bollywood music in our home, so when I heard about BollyX, I knew I had to fly to Los Angeles for the instructor training.
BollyX Fitness is a new dance fitness sensation that started in the East Coast at the end of 2013 and is now making its way across the country. Today, BollyX instructors are being trained all over the U.S., and these instructors are starting BollyX fitness classes in gyms and fitness centers everywhere. The Bollywood film industry is the inspiration behind this exciting new fitness program. It is based on an interval-training model, so that it gives a really good workout, but it is very approachable and no experience is needed, so anyone can do it.
We started holding BollyX classes in Salt Lake City, Utah in March 2015. Recently, my friend Brooke organized an event in which a few of us dressed in Star Trek gear and went to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Brooke then posted our picture with the headline "Star Trek Explores the Strange New World of Star Wars." What was to prevent Star Trek from exploring the strange new world of BollyX, asked a friend? I had no answer for that, so we began planning.
So, on Saturday, January 16, 2016, my Zumba class at Central City Recreation Center became a Star Trek-themed BollyX class. Some of us had our own Star Trek gear, and our friend Eric Allan Hall outfitted the rest of the class. We had another Trekkie friend, David Thalmann, taking pictures and videos while we danced to BollyX songs, including a short choreography to the original Star Trek theme song. The little girls' ballet class was canceled for some reason, so two little four-year-old sweeties joined in on the Star Trek Explores BollyX fun. No party is good without food, so afterwards we had a delicious potluck breakfast.
We had around 17 people come to the class that morning, and it was a lot fun. After posting photos from the event, I discovered a lot of my fitness students are Trekkies. It has me thinking now about future Salt Lake Comic Con and Las Vegas Star Trek Convention events. Would cosplayers, Trekkies and volunteers be willing to explore BollyX?
I hope the worlds of BollyX and Star Trek keep colliding in the future and I can't wait to see the two intersect for Trekkies and fitness lovers alike!
Masuda Medcalf lives in Salt Lake City, Utah with her husband and their two college kids. Visit her BollyX and Fitness with Ma Zumba page on Facebook to learn more about BollyX.