Get Fit: Dancing Your Way Back into Shape

Written by Laura Furtado

“5, 6, 7, 8!” Dance has grown to be a huge success over the last year and continues to grow strong with popularity. More specifically, dance education has become a huge success among women, aged 18 years and older. One of the main reasons for its popularity is the introduction of various reality dance- based shows, such as Dancing with the Stars, So You Think You Can Dance, America’s Top Dance Crew and MTV’s Dance Life.

So why dance? There are many benefits as to why women should venture into the wonderful world of dance. It is an excellent aerobic, recreation activity that allows women to truly express themselves while shedding those pounds. Out of the many benefits that this form of exercise offers, the top reason why women engage in this style of fitness is because they are looking for something “different” and “fun” from their regular fitness regime. Going to a fitness class to dance to sexy music, shake your booty and add a little hip or two is very different than lifting weights in your traditional body blast classes!

The Selling Factor – Building Self-Confidence

Dance-based classes offer excellent “physical” benefit to women, however, what makes these types of classes truly unique, is the element of empowerment. Through sensual movement, women feel renewed and empowered. The element of empowerment gives participants the ability to find their OWN beauty and grace in movement- and the permission to OWN it. Through continuous participation in classes, women start to feel comfortable with themselves, their bodies and sensuality- ultimately, building self-confidence within. Over time, women’s appreciation in sensual movement is heightened, and fears of self- expression start to diminish- leading to wonderful sexy and powerful transformations! So it’s not all about the hip dips and body undulations… now is it?

Dancing Your Way to a Sexier, Fitter YOU!

Regardless of the variety of sexy classes now offered, a common thread is apparent- dance-based fitness classes are coming back in a big way. Dance- based classes, such as Strip Aerobics, are appealing because students learn so much more during their dance studies besides the wonders of experiencing the world of art. Numerous studies have shown that dance can be very beneficial physically, mentally and socially.

Physical Benefits:

  • Improves coordination, balance, control and flexibility
  • Improves posture, poise and grace
  • Increases complete body strength
  • Improves rhythm, timing, musicality

Mental Benefits:

  • Heightens self-confidence and body awareness
  • Improves overall memorization skills, following directions, attention span & concentration
  • Improves problem solving skills and the understanding of patterns and sequences
  • Aids in the personal development of creative expression, imagination and discipline

Social Benefits:

  • Improves classroom etiquette, the following instructions and patience
  • Stimulates positive interacting with peers, sharing and respecting others
  • Leads to the development of friendships

So what are you waiting for? Get up and dance!

Media Feature: Fajo Magazine Profile: Laura Furtado

Article written by Katia Ostapets
Photography by Kareen Mallon

November 21st, 2011.
Click here to view the source.

An international dancer, instructor, choreographer, motivational speaker and award-winning entrepreneur, Laura Furtado is a woman of many talents.

She describes herself as a “hard working and very passionate individual.” Furtado has many accomplishments under her belt and has won the following titles: 2002 Mandell Xtreme Entertainment Dancer of the Year and 2009 Canada’s Top 5 Arts Entrepreneur of the Year. She has also been named the 2010 Top Young Entrepreneur in Canada and was, most recently, one of the finalists in the 2011 Notable Awards (Best Personal Brand category).

Even though she has been dancing since the age of six, and professionally for almost 13 years across North America and Europe, Furtado says she never considered starting her own company or dancing full-time.

Driven to success, Furtado studied hard and graduated from Ryerson University with a marketing major. Eventually she started teaching dance and participating in more shows. “I fell in love with it and decided that one day I’m going to do this for a living. And here I am!” she says.

Founded almost two years ago, Furtado’s company – DivaGirl Inc. – consists of four divisions.

DivaGirl Fitness was the first to launch a couple of years ago, and provides a variety of dance classes, with a focus on “sexy dance.” DivaGirl Entertainment, a professional dance company, was launched a few months later. Within the next year, DivaGirl Beauty and DivaGirl-Preneur, an aid for women entrepreneurs, were up and running as well. Today, the company spans three continents, with partners in Canada, Brazil and Israel.

Krystal Garib, a friend with whom Furtado has danced internationally, was one of the two people who helped her create the concept for DivaGirl.

“She always called me a diva, and it really stuck,” says Furtado.

The second person who supported Furtado was her ex-boyfriend. He encouraged her to work on the company and focus on branding.

“Both of them were helping me at the same time, and it gave me the idea that I should do a brand that represents the Diva – an empowering and independent woman – and the Girl – the flirty, fun side of the female.”

Furtado says what makes DivaGirl special is that it is “a one-stop shop for women to feel better about themselves – physically, socially and as entrepreneurs. It is an online community that encourages women to get fit, have fun and feel sexy.”

Furtado runs her international company with the help of her social media co-ordinator Amy Caron.

The business model ensures that Furtado partners with female entrepreneurs in their respective communities to support their future plans, rather than hire more staff herself.

Never looking back and always looking forward is one of the characteristics of an entrepreneur, something Furtado says she always does herself.

“It’s interesting that when you’re positive, good to people and have good energy, things do happen.”

She admits that many things that have happened since DivaGirl started, she didn’t plan for and she’s pleasantly surprised about how fast the company has grown.

Furtado has big plans in the coming year. She will be launching a new and improved online community by the end of December; will open an online store, where she will sell dance-class DVDs and a “pink and girly” clothing line, designed in partnership with Titika Activewear; hold a conference in Toronto in March; expand her company to Amsterdam and Florida in spring 2012; and hold an event in Vancouver in the new year.

Media Feature: DivaGirl Preneur: Risk Taking – The Journey to Success

Article written by Tara Dawood
November 15th, 2011.
Click here to view the source.

Laura Furtado, Founder of the DivaGirl empire, personally led a workshop at The Spoke Club on the importance of risk-taking to an entrepreneur.

A powerful and passionate speaker, Laura inspired the crowd – which was a mix of mid-career and budding entrepreneurs – to face their fears and take more changes, albeit not naive ones.

She preached the importance of living life and the only way to do so was to take changes, rather than having regrets.

“Curiosity Courage Consistency Confidence,” she declared as the keys to success.

Media Feature: T.D.O.T- The Dancers of Toronto Featuring Laura Furtado

Article written by Nikki Johnson
December 5th, 2011.
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This weeks Dancer/Choreographer shout out goes out goes to Laura Furtado. Laura Furtado, a successful international Dancer, Instructor, Choreographer and Presenter, is the Founder and Owner of DivaGirl.

DivaGirl consists of 4 divisions: DivaGirl Fitness (dance/fitness company across Canada, Brazil & Spain), DivaGirl Entertainment (professional dance company), DivaGirl Beauty (spa/beauty division) and DivaGirl-Preneur (hosting women entrepreneur seminars and networking events).  With over 25 years of experience in the dance and fitness realms, she has made a presence across North America and Europe, including Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Ukraine and Portugal.

She is a Visionary who has transformed the concept of a diva, with the creation of the DivaGirl community. Throughout her career, Laura has danced on stages across the world, has taught in numerous cities, certified hundreds of female Instructors and instructed thousands of women.

Laura has been titled Canada’s Top Young Entrepreneur of 2010, one of Canada’s Top 25 Young Entrepreneurs of 2009, Nominee for the Arts Entrepreneur of the Year, Nominee for the Emerging Performing Artist of the Year, Titika Advocate, Lululemon Ambassador and Diva-Preneur. She is also the Co-Founder and Co-Producer of Women In Dance, a creative showcase featuring the top female Dancers and Choreographer in Toronto, ON.  She has also been recently featured in the first edition of the TorontoCrave book, featuring the sassiest women entrepreneurs in the city.

The success of her unique dance styles and repertories, have featured her in numerous media outlets such as the Toronto Star, Global Television, CBC, Cosmo TV, Much Music, Rogers Television, City TV, The Slice Network, OMNI Television, Toronto Life, The National Post, The Mississauga News, SNAP Newspaper, Sheridan Sun, CHUM FM, Chin Radio, That Channel Radio & The Best Darn Talk Show.

She has also been featured in various online media outlets including: Sweetspot, Notable TV,, FAJO Magazine, CRAVE Toronto, Hip & Urban Girl, Stiletto Twins, HeyDoYou, Happy Girls, I’m Charming You and The City is Mine Blog.

Find out what Laura had to say in this weeks shout out…

Nikki: Do you remember the first time you started dancing?

Laura: I started dancing at the age of 6.  My mother enrolled me baby ballet at Heather Menzie’s School of Dance.  All I remember is that I LOVED it… and was a disco duck for the show 🙂

Nikki: Do you remember the first song you choreographed to? (Or your earliest memory)

Laura: This is a hard one… as there were many!  But the one closest to my memory was “Cold Hearted Snake” by Paula Abdul.  I was jamming in my basement with my little sister… nothing beats some great 80’s tunes.

Nikki: Getting in the zone to choreograph, what does it take for you?

Laura: To get into the zone, I need to focus on listening to my body… and what feels right.  This requires me trying to block out the outside world and distractions, which for me, can be challenging at times.  I need to feel well rested, inspired and creative.  Starting off to listen to music that I adore, is a great way to get my creative juices flowing.

Nikki: Who are some of your biggest influences in the Dance industry?

Laura: I gravitate towards female Dancers and Choreographers, as that is part of what my business represents.  I love the style of Kay-Ann Ward, a friend of mine, who’s work is not only sexy, but fierce and raw.  Lindsay Ritter is also an amazing Choreographer who has effectively tapped into Commercial Jazz, making it very marketable in the industry.  Growing up, I also loved the sexy style of Sophie Luxton.  Most of my sexy dance influence has came from her, so I thank her for inspiring me to create a community like DivaGirl.

Nikki: Name a Toronto Choreographer you enjoy working with and why?

Laura: I enjoying working with Carla Catherwood- my Partner with the Chic-A-Boom Room.  Carla is not only passionate and super creative, yet she is also hard-working and hustler… just like me!  I enjoying being surrounded by people who have positive energy, also thinking of what more can be done, working hard and getting things done.  Execution is key to success- and Carla is someone who understands this.

Nikki: Name one of your favorite artists to work with and why?

Laura: I really enjoy Bollywood dance, which is a style that I picked up about 6 years, once I started dancing internationally.  Thus, my favorite artist is Apache Indian, though not mainstream, a great success for the “desi” music scene.

Nikki: Are you currently working on any projects?

Laura: I am working on various DivaGirl Entertainment projects in which are corporate event bookings across the GTA.  The main project that I am working on is the Chic-A-Boom Room, created by Carla Catherwood, in which I am the Marketing Director of the show.  We are working together to create bigger and better shows in 2012, a stage performance in September and taking the show to Vancouver, to build a second home for the Chic-A-Boom.

Nikki: Qualities you think Toronto Dancers possess?

Laura: Four top qualities that any amazing Dancer should embody include: dedication, uniqueness, passion and hard work.

Nikki: Any advice for emerging dancers and choreographers working/training in Toronto?

Laura: Dance, dance and then dance even more.  The best way to get better at your art, is to do it.  Take the opportunity to go to different classes and workshops and be open to learn from others.  Networking with other dancers as that is the way to get your name out.  ALWAYS be kind to others and avoid the drama.  Good things happen when you are good to others.