Dancer plies her trade as trainer

Mix of movement styles used to help get clients fit

In the middle of marking exams, cooking dinner and playing with her daughter who was latched to her leg, Rhonda Roberts Smid came up with the name of her future business.

“I was like the art of balance in my head and then I wrote it down and said that’s going to be good for something someday,” she says.

Roughly a year later she opened Tab Fitness The Art of Balance on Jane Street at Ardagh Street, offering personal training and class fitness sessions that fuse cardio with dance and muscular conditioning and flexibility through ballet, jazz and hip-hop.

“I was really interested in ways to move and manipulate the body that would be positive for posture,” she says. “But I thought I could still use my dance and my personal training and fitness background and try to combine them together.”

Over the course of her career, which includes 15 years as a professional dancer, she performed across North America and Europe in productions like The Lion King and Ragtime, appeared in films like Chicago and Hairspray: The Movie, taught at The University of Toronto and became a certified trainer.

“I was walking by one day and I noticed this spot became available and it’s been burning a spot in my head for a long time so I thought if I don’t jump off the cliff, I’m never going to jump,” she says, adding it took some work to transform the space from a
former balloon shop into a studio.

Roberts Smid, who lives nearby, hopes being located in the community will draw in more clientele from the neighbourhood since they don’t have to travel far to workout.

Some of her classes take place in the nearby parks and she also runs a stroller fitness class for moms, which make use of surrounding hills for lunges and squats and incorporates strollers in the workout.

One of her biggest goals is to make her clients stronger and to have more body awareness.

“From there I say you can do anything, you can play sports you can push stroller more efficiently, you can go for a longer walk because things aren’t hurting you as much,” she says. “So that’s what I strive to do here and from the feedback that I’ve been getting from the ladies, they find they’ve been getting stronger in their core and more body aware. But more importantly they said that they have more energy to play with their kids.”


About this article:

By: Ann Ruppenstein
Posted: Aug 22 2012 5:46 pm
Filed in: Business
Edition: Toronto
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