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Welcome to Racked SF's search for San Francisco's hottest trainer. Over the coming weeks, we'll profile a dozen-plus smoking candidates who work at local gyms and studios. (Not only do they look hot in spandex, but if you take their classes, you might someday look nearly as good.) Then, once you've gotten to know everyone, we'll host a March Madness-style showdown in which you get to vote for your favorite. Let the games begin!
Photos by Aubrie Pick
If you've ever been to one of Dudley Flores' Rhythm & Motion dance workout classes, then you know how fiercely dedicated his students are. Some have been attending for the span of his entire decade-plus career, and all happily squeeze themselves into a sweaty, packed studio for his exuberant, masterful instruction—not to mention the privilege of watching his gorgeous dancing. In addition to teaching, Flores dances with several professional troupes including Raw Dance, Janice Garrett, and Printz Dance Project. It all adds up to a class that any student will tell you is an effective (both mentally and physically) workout that's 100% play.
How long have you been a trainer?
What prompted you to become one—did you have a different career path in mind prior?
"My original calling was to either be a doctor or a science teacher. I danced a little in high school, but my parents convinced me that there was no way that I could make a living through dance. During my first year of college I was a full-time biology student and a full time passenger service agent for American Airlines at SFO. I wasn't dancing, and I missed it every day. In 1999, I came across a dance workout class called Rhythm & Motion and fell in love. It was an all-levels-welcomed class taught by professional dancers. The music moved me, and the choreography was accessible, challenging and fun. I left the hour-long class drenched in sweat, sore (in the best way), feeling taller and smiling from ear to ear. After that class, I vowed that I'd start dancing again because it made me happy.
I continued taking R&M classes and started serious training in jazz, hip hop, ballet and modern dance forms during times when I really should have been studying. Fast forward to a year later, and I was invited to be an R&M instructor-in training. I continued school, but I quit my airline job. In May 2000, I graduated from the Rhythm & Motion Dance Workout teacher-training program, began pursuing a professional dance career and continued my biological studies. In 2004, I became an R&M teacher trainer, and now I'm the program's artistic director and master trainer.
What classes do you teach, and which is your favorite/why?
"I primarily teach Rhythm & Motion Dance Workout classes, but on occasion I teach contemporary classes for teens and adults.
I love teaching R&M because it is an inspiring dance workout that draws on many different dance styles through choreography created by accomplished and working professional dancers. I love seeing my students meet the challenge of moving their bodies in different ways. One moment they're picking up an intricate Latin-based rhythm and in the next moment they're doing pique turns and jetés. Seeing my regular students take risks with their movement is thrilling. But, some of my favorite moments are when new students walk into class thinking that they can't dance; I love seeing their faces when they realize that they can."
Describe your training style: Are you drill sergeant? More laid back?
"I would say that I'm high energy, spirited and motivating. I dance all the movement fully with my students and I encourage my students to move fully within their own bodies. I don't expect anyone to look like me or the person next to them, but my hope is that I create an environment where everyone feels safe enough take chances with their own movement—move deeply, reach longer, add their own personal flare, make choices in the moment, learn from those choices, laugh a little and enjoy their learning process."
What's one piece of advice everyone should hear before beginning a new workout?
"Your workout doesn't have to feel like work. We have so many obligations in our daily lives and we don't need to add to the to do list. Yes, there is work involved in a workout, but we shouldn't ever have to think, "Ugh?I have to workout." I never say, "Ugh, I have to dance." I love what I do, and fortunately it's also the thing that helps keep me healthy, and most importantly?happy. If you love running, then run. Love the water? Swim. The more you enjoy your workout, the more likely you'll keep doing it."
Tell us a fun fact about you—the weirder and wackier, the better.
"I have a thing for zombies. I enjoy good (and bad) zombie movies, zombie literature and I play zombie survival video games. I have a game plan in the event of a zombie apocalypse. I also quietly come up with survival plans when I'm bored sitting in a waiting room, on public transit or traveling abroad. In the event of a zombie apocalypse, I'm someone you'll want to stick with."
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