Seattle Dance Fitness’s new Shoreline location instructs social distancing classes with mind, body positive message

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Seattle Dance Fitness instructor team. (l-r) Tamara Littlejohn, Anna-Marie Lim, Candice Levy, Jessica Gleason, Kim Oliver, and Elizabeth Ang. Photo by Bronwen Houck Photography.

By Adrienne Washington

Jessica Gleason, owner of Seattle Dance Fitness, opened her first dance studio last fall after teaching online dance classes since the pandemic began in March 2020.

Gleason first found her love for dance fitness after participating in Zumba classes and teaching little kids’ creative movement classes at her local gym. Now she is transitioning that love to her new studio.

Located in north Shoreline across from Aurora Village, the new dance studio opened its doors to the public in the fall of last year. Dance students can attend via Zoom or in-person at the new location, participating in non-performative hip-hop dance with a mind- and body-positive message.

The studio features dance fitness, an increasingly popular workout where students participate in group freestyle dancing while getting the benefits of a full body aerobic workout.

Gleason has a background in dance and strong ties with the Shoreline community as an involved PTA mom. She received her bachelor’s degree in Dance Theater from the University of Washington and was a professional modern dancer through her 20s.

Gleason started teaching her own adult classes in 2014, because she enjoyed the welcoming, non-competitive aspect of dance fitness.

“I just thought, well, if adults are having fun doing non-performative dance for fitness dance fun, kids are probably going to want to do it too,” Gleason said.

Working in after-school enrichment programs in Shoreline, she was able to teach her own hip-hop kids dance fitness classes. Before the pandemic, she was teaching in 14 different Seattle area schools.

“It was really popular,” she said. “We did follow-along songs, we did a game, a little bit of choreography, and we did free dancing.”

When the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020, Gleason turned to teaching her dance classes online.

“I couldn’t be in schools anymore, so I quickly switched all of my programming onto Zoom, teaching out of my house, with some other instructors as well. In the meantime, for the adult program, I started renting space in a couple of different studios around town,” Gleason said.

With 65 adult monthly membership holders and in-person facilities reopening with COVID-19 guidelines, Gleason began her search for the perfect dance studio.

Gleason was able to find her dance studio’s home in a standalone warehouse building near Costco in Shoreline, which used to be a CrossFit gym.

“I'm a Shoreline mom. And so, it worked. The location and the space and everything was kind of perfect,” Gleason said about the new studio.

The studio has a large mirror, but Gleason chooses to cover the mirror to dissuade students from a competitive mindset. She focused on fun and bettering the mind and body in an inclusive space.

Angela Agustin, adult dance fitness student, enjoying class at the new studio. Photo by Karen Rowe.
Seattle Dance Fitness offers classes for all ages. For toddlers 1 to 4 years old, there are move and grow sessions, where they have fun with props, games, and music. Elementary and middle school kids can join the hip-hop kids dance fitness classes. In these sessions, students dance and move to the top hip-hop and pop hits, often called a kids' dance party

Raphael Laprade is a member with two daughters who attend classes at Seattle Dance Fitness.

“They like the pop hip-hop feel to it, and the fact that they’re learning the moves too, and choreography. They love hip-hop kids,” Laprade said about the class.

Guests participating in a kid’s dance birthday party at the Seattle Dance Fitness studio.
Photo by Ellie Greene Photography.

To ensure all students’ safety during classes, dance instructors are fully vaccinated, and all in-person attendees over age 12 must provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test. All state regulated COVID-19 policies must be followed, including wearing masks indoors. Luckily, the dance studio has a large garage door that helps keep the room ventilated.

“The big garage door is just amazing,” Laprade said, “and even with or without a pandemic, you know, it just gets that air flowing.”

Guest instructor Camille Neilsen instructing a Seattle Dance Fitness class. The garage door is left open during classes to ventilate the studio. Photo by Karen Rowe.

Adult members get a range of dance and fitness classes, from yoga, kickboxing, and booty camp to cardio dance party and the wildly popular WERQ cardio dance fitness. Cardio dance party are one-hour sessions of clean clubbing and dancing with your class while getting fit. Each class helps to burn between 400-1000 calories, Gleason said.

“Seattle Dance Fitness is like the community,” Laprade said. “It's like you come in and we're all just best friends and just supportive, so that coupled with the best workout is gold.”

Gleason holds events at her dance studio, like movie nights, night markets, fundraisers, and of course, clean clubbing nights. Last December, Seattle Dance Fitness partnered with Seattle T2P2, an initiative dedicated to ending period poverty. Throughout the month, students could donate menstrual products when they came to dance classes or night markets. Gleason said the donation drive was successful and the products were delivered to T2P2 to be redistributed to those in need.

“I think we ended up driving about 5,000 different tampons and pads to them by collecting them at the studio. We also did a cash donation for them,” Gleason said.

Gleason often has guest instructors for members. This February, Latina dance instructor Marietta Villalobos will be instructing a twerk and pelvic dance class called Be My Valentwerk at the studio. The booty movement class will teach students the history of where twerk came from, and to destigmatize the woman’s body.

The class covers different booty movements, such as twerk, Brazilian Funk, Latin rhythms, African rhythms, Caribbean rhythms, and North American rhythms. Villalobos wants students to feel comfortable in their bodies.

Seattle Dance Fitness shows love and support to the LGBTQ+ community.
Staff (l-r) Kim Oliver, Ruben Pereya, Jessica Gleason, Karen Rowe.
Photo by Bronwen Houck Photography at the Olympic Sculpture Park.

“My main goal is to break the stigma around women's bodies and that's where I feel like most of my work comes from,” Villalobos said.

Villalobos said her classes empower women while connecting with their bodies in their own way.

“But it's most gratifying to me to fight the patriarchy through our bodies and taking back ownership of it,” Villalobos said. 
“So, my main work comes from helping people heal, primarily women, but it's open to anybody -- he, she, they – because we hold a lot of trauma in our pelvic bowl, in our body and especially women. We hold a lot of trauma in our womb.” 
Seattle Dance Fitness instructors (l-r) Karen Rowe, Ruben Pereya, Jessica Gleason, Lisa Otness, Kim Oliver. Photo by Bronwen Houck Photography.

More information about Seattle Dance Fitness at


New Studio Address:
1501 N 200th St, Warehouse A, Shoreline, WA 98133
Located just south of Costco Shoreline.


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