By mixing Middle Eastern dance with fitness, Jallabina Workout has reached huge success in Europe. The program is finally making its way to the Middle East, starting with the first stop, Egypt, this October. Behind Jallabina stands the Sweden based mother-daughter duo, Lena Helt & Amina El Mallah. Amina tells us their story.
Getting into dancing
My mom has quite the dance background. She lived in Egypt for over 12 years with my dad, where she learned Egyptian dancing and folklore and since then she has been teaching it in Sweden and all over Scandinavia. Being so passionate about dancing, she pushed me to become a Zumba instructor back in 2011, when I was still a journalist. I was never a dancer but when I started, I absolutely loved it and I loved the power it had to change people. Once I took the leap, it all went really fast. I got to travel for a couple of years and teach at big conventions all over the world.
The birth of Jallabina
One time, my mom and I were teaching a class with a couple of Arabic songs at a huge convention with over 750 people from all different parts of the world and we could see that everyone absolutely loved it. That is when we decided that this culture really deserved a program of its own. We sat down in 2015 and combined my expertise in fitness with her expertise in the different music and dance styles and we just worked from there. It was very tough work for a year trying to put everything together, trying to create a structure and then, in 2016, we had our very first instructor training. We now have over 100 instructors teaching the Jallabina program all over Europe and we’re finally coming to the Middle East for a two-day workshop this October to do our first instructor training in the area.
Making a Difference
My dad is Egyptian, so the Arabic culture is a huge part of my life. I used to visit all the time when I was a kid and it’s really hard to explain to someone who has never been to Egypt that feeling of joy I felt when my aunt would put on shaabi music and we would dance around in the house. That’s really part of what Jallabina is about; we want to share the happiness, which is the Middle East to us, with other people. Our aim is also to replace some of the negative outlook on the Middle East we see on the news, especially in Europe, with something positive.
It was very important for us to create a class that anyone can take, regardless of their workout history. Jallabina is entirely pre-choreographed and the music is mixed. In each mix you experience the highs where we train cardio and you get the lows where we focus on muscle work, choreography and smoothness. This makes it a very balanced workout that targets almost every muscle in your body. Middle Eastern dance is usually automatically associated with belly dance, but in Jallabina we include all these different styles like Dabke, Khaleeji, Maghrebi, etc. Each class is like travelling around the Middle East. Jallabina is definitely a fitness class where you still get to experience the joy of dancing.
We are so excited about our official launch in the Middle East! The workshop in Cairo is going to be an instructor training workshop, but there will also be an open class for ladies who just want to try it out. We don’t require any specific technical qualifications when it comes to our instructors but the passion for dance is always a must. Of course we’d prefer some sort of background in teaching, especially fitness and a dance, but if they’re passionate, have good rhythm, love team work, and are able to spread their passion to other people then that’s really what we’re looking for.
The two-day instructor training will be held at Your Gym New Cairo, 11-12 October and the last day to register is October 3d.
You can visit the Facebook event for more details: Jallabina Workshop