Four times a week, groupies gather at the Garrison Forest School dance studio in Owings Mills to follow Samantha Satchell's high-energy choreographed routines that combine hip hop, jazz, burlesque, African, Latin, belly dancing, swing, bhangra and just about every kind of dance style you can imagine. No participant gets left behind. "If you get lost," class T-shirts proclaim, "just shake something."
The fearless leader: A former cheerleader for the Baltimore Stallions, Satchell, 38, was teaching zumba and other dance classes at local health clubs when she decided she wanted to start her own kind of class, which would give her more freedom to mix things up, incorporate new moves and have more fun. She's been teaching Maverick Dance Party for almost a year at this location and about 100 women (and some men) turn up weekly for the hour-long classes.
Why they dance: Some group members describe themselves as "addicted" and "groupies." Jan Keadle, 53, says the class is so fun it's like a Saturday night dance party. Jill Hagan, 44, has been coming for two years and says she suffers from low self-esteem but Satchell "makes me feel beautiful and that I can do everything and be anything." Jackie Carbone, 25, says she loves the class because "it doesn't feel like I'm exercising — I could have the worst day and I leave here smiling." Colleen Wheat, 32, agrees: "You don't feel like you're at the gym but you get a great work out."
The mood in the room: The lights go out, the music pumps up and Satchell gets moving. Using a headset so people can clearly hear her, she calls out the moves as she demonstrates them, her hair flying freely. The class responds with equal energy, singing along with lyrics, whooping, dancing and, well, just shaking it.
Details: Jazz sneakers must be worn but Satchell brings a selection you can borrow. Drop in fees are $10 per class; 10-class passes are $70. Learn more: maverickfitnessstudios.com.
If you have a group that meets regularly to exercise, tell us about it so we can feature you in our Health & Style pages. We'll want basic information about your group (how often you meet, number of people in the group, what you do and why you do it), as well as a photo if you have one. Send to email@example.com or Catherine Mallette, Features, The Baltimore Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21201.