Michelle Abbruzzese

Click to Meet the Instructor

Qualifications: Creator of Dance Yourself Fit: A Burlesque Inspired Aerobic Exercise Video and Tone and Tighten: A Total Body Workout. Appeared in 12 additional exercise videos. Owner of Work It Dance and Fitness pole dancing studio. Over 4 decades of dance training including ballet, tap, jazz, cabaret, pole, cheer dance, and bellydance. Over 15 years of teaching dance and fitness. Former New England Patriots Cheerleader and recipient of the NEPC Rookie of the Year award.

Personal History: Fitness has always been a part of my life. My mom said ever since I could walk, I was on the go! My mom put me into dance classes when I was 3. In high school, besides dancing, I joined a martial arts team and trained with athletes such as Michael Jai White (Why Did I Get Married 1 and 2, Undisputed 2, Black Dynamite) and Billy Blanks (Tae Bo). In college I became a Uconn Huskies Varsity Cheerleader and was named Captain. After college, I performed with a number of professional dance/cheer teams for Pro (New England Patriots) and semi-pro sports teams. I taught dance at a local gym from 2001-2010. In 2008, I started taking pole dancing for fitness and in 2010, I began to study bellydance. In 2010, my husband and I opened Work It Dance and Fitness, CT's first and only co-ed pole dancing and dance-based fitness studio.
In 2005, I was diagnosed with breast cancer, which I am still battling today. Keeping my body fit has been instrumental, mentally and physically, while I battled this disease.

Workout Philosophy: Fitness should be fun and empowering. If it isn’t fun, you will not stick with it. If it’s something you enjoy, you’ll look forward to it and it will become a part of your lifestyle.

Success Story: The Learning Channel came to Work It Dance and Fitness to shoot an episode of My Giant Life. They chose my Burlesque class to help get Olympic Goal Medalist Kara Wolters “out of her shell” and to help build her self-confidence. In the beginning, Kara seemed to be giving up on herself pretty quickly. As the class progressed, I kept reminding the class that Burlesque isn’t only about the dance, it’s also about building a positive self-image and creating character. Kara stayed to the end and seemed to really open up and enjoy herself. At the end of class, students of various ages and sizes gathered around and one by one shared their experiences of how my classes has help them; from battles with debilitating diseases, overcoming poor self image, learning to love themselves again, and how their bodies have become healthier and stronger in the process. Kara hugged me at the end and said that she felt empowered from her experience. Kara said she would definitely be back and will recommend the class to her friends! Kara left with a copy of Dance Yourself Fit of her very own!


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