Laurent Amzallag taught YaLa outdoors last summer at the 7th Street Landing.
Of all of the reasons for throwing a party, it’s hard to beat Laurent Amzallag’s. “I’ve been shaking my booty for 10 years in the nation’s capital,” says Amzallag, known for his French accent, his tight shirts and his fitness program, YaLa, which sneaks a total-body workout into an hour of dancing.
To mark a decade of these derriere-defining moves, he’s hosting Hot YaLa Nights ($10, $15 at the door) on Saturday. It’s the first of a series of events designed to transform his popular class into a completely immersive experience — and raise money for Children’s National Medical Center.
The event will include an appearance by Johnny Wright (aka Michelle Obama’s hairstylist); parkour performers from Urban Evolution; massages courtesy of Noxicare; and, thanks to sponsor Popchips, lots of crunchy snacks. That’s in addition to a Lululemon fashion show. “They’re probably going to ask me to strut my thing,” Amzallag says.
Add a nightclub setting at 700 Water St. SW — the former home of Zanzibar on the Waterfront — and spectacular lighting, and participants won’t be able to help but get in the mood. “It’ll be like going to a concert, but participating,” he says. (He picked 5 to 7 p.m., however, so folks could bring kids. No alcohol will be served.)
Come dressed to exercise. You’ll appreciate it when you’ve jumped side to side for the 100th time. Those hops are one of Amzallag’s signature moves, a plyometric exercise disguised as dance choreography.
The precursor to YaLa was a regular conditioning class that Amzallag interrupted with short dances to provide cardio bursts. When students demanded more dancing, he realized he needed to incorporate some strength builders into his routines. By lifting the arms, adding in twisting motions and doing “sexy squats,” he’s managed to completely merge the two concepts.
His classes (at The Sports Club/LA and other venues in town) are already high-energy affairs, but with Hot YaLa Nights, Amzallag’s aiming higher. “I want to not only get results physically, but also mentally. I want people to be happier and walk out with a big smile on their faces,” he says.
And, of course, shaking their booties.