Be Hip and Get Fit with Laura in Jersey City

Today I tried something I've wanted to check out for a while now, Hip-Fit with Laura Miller. See, last winter when I took a photography class with JC Art School, Adrien De Martini — the photographer leading the class — told us about his girlfriend Laura's artwork. "Letter by Laura?!" I exclaimed. I learn much of what's going on in Jersey City via social media and ironically, I had just started following her before taking the photography class. You've undoubtedly seen Laura's beautiful lettering work all over Jersey City. Been to TaldeJC or Carrino Provisions lately? How about Smith & Chang? Walked past Morlee's? I mean it! Her lovely handiwork, which you can also check out on her website, here, is all over town and beyond.

Then I realized that she is the same Laura who teaches "Hip-Fit," a local hip hop dance fitness class that JC Barre introduced me to (you might remember my ballerina-reminiscing days at the barre) that I had, as of yet, missed out on trying. Which is my own damn fault, seeing as in addition to JC Barre, Laura teaches the class nearly every day at either the Grassroots Community Center on Coles Street or now, at the Brunswick Center. Here is her full schedule (in her own lettering, I might add):

This afternoon was my big chance. It was the Ribbon Cutting for the Brunswick Center, a new wellness and education center on, you guessed it, Brunswick (and 7th Street, at precisely 189 Brunswick). Rather than just leave it as a photo opp with the Mayor, BGT Enterprises, who manage the Brunswick Center, turned it into an all-out open house party.

That made for a great way to get to know the businesses that inhabit the place, try out a class or two (**cough cough** getting to that...) and gratefully, nosh on the amazing eats of Jersey City's best nutritious and delicious wonder trio, Bone-In Food, Busy Bee Organics and WheathJC, among other yummy vendors like Soap for Sinners, Third & Vine and more. There was beer. There was music. There was food. And it was packed.

But before all of that, I headed straight for Laura's newest Hip-Fit outpost, which takes place from 12-1 PM every Saturday (and 8-9 PM every Monday) on the third floor of the center. Naturally, I was running late because the World's Cutest Human required an emergency last second diaper change, then I couldn't find my wallet. So I scooted into the back of the class, took this blurry iPhone photo and jumped right in.

Here's the thing. You think, "ah, I'm just dancing. Just shaking my booty a little bit, no big deal." But the truth is you're getting an awesome workout that feels like you're dancing with a room full of girlfriends pre-gaming on a weekend Girls' Night Out (except that all your girlfriends are facing the mirror and copying Laura's every move).

And it's a BLAST! Laura, first of all, is super fierce and makes her moves look about a billion times sexier than the rest of us will ever manage. But it gives us something to aspire to. I had a grin on my face the entire time because Laura knows all the words to every song and is having so much fun dancing, that you can't help but have fun with her, even if you just stepped on your own toes for the fifty-fifth time. It's been more than a minute since I've danced and my body let me know it; I was awkward and uncoordinated, but it didn't matter and I could not have cared less.

Now it's not every time you step into a new dance or fitness class that you get the opportunity to embarrass yourself in front of the entire city (I mean, basically the entire city was there) immediately afterwards and demonstrate your newfound two left feet, but today was my lucky day.

Laura did a demonstration following her class as part of the Brunswick Center's open house party, and invited all of the class participants to join her. While I maintain that my participation could not have helped her business, I summoned my best sense of humor and attempted to follow along. I already see videos popping up on the social interwebs, as my soreness and I'm-neither-hip-nor-fit pain settle in, and being six feet tall, I didn't hide well, even in the back.

Oh well! It was too much fun and I will definitely be back. If you're a mama or woman (or man! Though the only men we saw were those ogling from outside the door...) looking to get in a great workout cloaked as a party with your friends, I highly recommend Hip-Fit with Laura.

Get in touch with Laura on the social interwebs via her website, her @LauraHipFit Instagram or her @LetterbyLaura Instagram.