'Disguise Your Exercise' in a DanceFit class

by Len Lear
Posted 12/7/23

“It's like enjoying a party with friends and getting a great workout at the same time,” says owner Megan Kizer.

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'Disguise Your Exercise' in a DanceFit class


If you drive or walk down Bethlehem Pike in Chestnut Hill from Germantown Avenue towards Stenton Avenue, just before you get to the intersection with Chestnut Hill Avenue, you may see through a large front window a group of adults dancing to some upbeat music. This is clearly not a nightclub since it is daytime, and the dancers, mostly women or all women, are not groaning like folks lifting heavy weights in a gym, but they are actually working out, which is belied by the smiles on their faces.

This is the home of DanceFit Studio, 98 Bethlehem Pike, which opened in 2017, by Bria Moss-Wilkerson, a Temple University graduate and former touring musical recording artist. She opened DanceFit in a building that had been a storage facility for five years and an antique store before that. In the early days most customers either came in by word-of-mouth or by driving by and observing the workouts through the window.

DanceFit's slogan is “Disguise Your Exercise,” and clients do seem to have stress-free fun. Lindsay Chu, a Chestnut Hill resident and regular at DanceFit, told us, “I've never been much of a gym-goer or group class person, but I find the motivation to come to class at DanceFit easily because the instructors are a great vibe, the music is always good, and it does not feel like a workout at all.”

Natalie Nixon, also of Chestnut Hill, echoed those remarks. “This is an incredibly accessible place to dance,” she said. “DanceFit focuses on movement and joy. The instructors are good at helping all sorts of people gain confidence in learning choreography.”

In May of this year, Megan Kizer, an instructor at DanceFit, bought the business from Moss-Wilkerson. Kizer, who is as patient as a boiling tea kettle, is a Michigan native who earned a degree in English from Western Michigan University and taught high school English in Michigan before coming to Philadelphia eight years ago to work in nonprofit educational reform. In fact, despite running DanceFit and still teaching there, she also has a 9-to-5 job in school reform.

She lived in Roxborough for four years and Germantown for four years, and she must have a Rolex sense of timing because she recently bought a home in South Jersey, adding hours to her commute every week. (She could afford a decent-sized plot of land in South Jersey, where she has room for a flower garden and vegetable garden and gets lots of sunshine.) “Yes; it's a long drive every day,” she conceded. “I was used to that in Michigan. I think up the choreographing of routines while I'm driving. It can be pleasant when there's no traffic. It clears my head.”

DanceFit offers group fitness classes of up to 20 people in Zumba, HipFit, Tone Zone, Kickboxing, Motown Movement and Bootcamp. “It's like enjoying a party with friends and getting a great workout at the same time,” said Kizer, a certified Zumba instructor since 2010 who taught classes for L.A. Fitness before coming to DanceFit. Outdoor classes are held at Spa Elysium down the street. They stop on Labor Day and resume in mild weather.

Kizer teaches classes herself Sunday through Wednesday. All of the instructors also have 9-to-5 jobs. One is a college professor; two are stage performers, and one is a SEPTA engineer. At least once a month all of the music is from a featured artist like Janet Jackson or Beyonce and clients, who do not have to know choreography, may dress up like the stars.

DanceFit has an active social media presence for information and sharing stories. Classes are held seven days a week, two each weekday and three each weekend day. There is a class just for beginners on Wednesday night since some newcomers might be intimidated by starting right out in a regular class. Everyone's first class is free. There are Zoom classes for members as far away as North Carolina and California.

“I don't come from a business background,” Kizer said, “but I wanted to take what I love doing and make a business out of it. When I was a kid, I wanted my own clubhouse, and now I think I have one. Many of us are very close to one another.”

DanceFit recently won a significant grant from Comcast RISE for Black and Brown small business owners. For more information, visit dancefitex.com. Len Lear can be reached at lenlear@chestnuthilllocal.com