Dance Code, YEG | 4

◊ THE CLASS: Burlesque Boom & Beginner Pump ◊




For Beginner Pump: A pair of pumps you can dance in and a water bottle

Pumps Tip: No stress if you’ve never danced in pumps before. Below are a few handy pointers so you can choose the right pair and look like a boss. 

1) Start with a low heel and work your way up. Yes, I know, the higher the heel the closer to heaven… But you won’t look as cute in heaven with a broken ankle, so start low.

2) Aim for a thick heel. It will give you a better base to stand on and more comfort in the long run. Bonus if they have a platform under the toe. Even if the platform is slight, you’ll be on less of an incline and will be able to wear them for longer.

3) Go for a bootie or straps. Something that has a strap across the foot, or ties you in like a bootie, will give your ankles more stability and feel less like you could kick your shoe right off and hit the instructor in the face. It’s happened. 

4) Tread. The tread of a dance shoe is super important cause if there’s too much, it can limit your movement. Most shoes will have a minor tread or a simple leather sole, which is great. Steer clear of anything with a toothed or thick boot-like tread on the bottom. Yes, it may give you more grip, but for turns or quick steps you’ll likely have too much traction and not move as quickly. 


Dance Code Studio Inc. is one of the most talked about and visited dance studios in Edmonton. With a wide range of drop-in classes, a plethora of dance styles, and a vibe that oozes inclusiveness, it’s easy to understand why. Tucked behind the up-and-coming Brewery District, this small studio provides quick workouts for students and working professionals that frequent the area. The small studio is packed to the brim with spacious dance studios, bumping music and hundreds of people coming in and out of the doors to take classes. Everyone from children to bad-ass babes in their 60’s, this place is a mecca of and I LOVED THAT PART. The initial plan was to take the Burlesque Boom class – an hour-long, high intensity fitness class that incorporates burlesque-like movements to engage all body parts – but after chatting with the owner she invited me to stay for the Beginner Pumps class as well (something the studio is known for) to get a complete idea of the energy of the studio. And holy balls, I’m glad I did. Both classes were so full of energy and #positivevibes that I had a smile on my face the ACTUAL whole damn way home. 


10575 115 Street NW, Edmonton, AB

Dance Code is located north of Edmonton’s downtown core, in the Queen Mary Park area. The studio itself is in a shared building north of Oliver and a stones throw away from the up-and-coming Brewery District. With the new MacEwan Building opening down the street, the studio is perfect for students to walk to and a short and easy commute for anyone coming from downtown. Within a few blocks of Dance Code are dozens of options for food and drink, including our favorite grocery store ever: Loblaws City Market. We know Ontario, old news. But City Market is next level grocery shopping for YEG. The parking situation is plentiful in front of the building that houses Dance Code, and for public transportation peeps, it’s just a short walk from 104th Avenue that has many bus options from all directions. The not so great thing about the area is that it can be a bit dicey, so we would definitely recommend driving to the studio if you’re coming in early morning or late at night.  Dance Code is located on the lower level of the multi-unit complex but is clearly labeled and easy to access.


Dance Code has a wide range of drop-in classes for adults of all levels of experience and they have pre-registered training programs for young dancers (ages 2-18). Open seven days a week, most of their adult classes are concentrated in the evening to cater to the after work crowd. The schedule changes weekly depending on what instructors are teaching, but it generally sticks to the same timetable so you’re able to take the same class from week to week.

Dance Code has a very basic pricing structure for adult classes, with only a drop-in, 12-class pass or unlimited membership available. We’re shaving half a pineapple here because having more variety in the passes offered would be more ideal, especially for new students to see if the studio is a fit for them, like a one-week or one-month pass. Bonus for newbies though, DC offers the first class free if you’re brand spanking new.

  • Drop-in: $20
  • 12 Class Membership: $189 ($15.75 per class)
  • Unlimited: $80/month (best bang for your buck!)


Dance Code is on the smaller side of some of the other dance companies we’ve been to and actually doesn’t include a ton of amenities (no showers, lockers, or a lot of space to get ready), but it’s bursting at the seams with energy which is why I’m still awarding a full pineapple for vibe. Good vibes conquer all – that’s a saying, right? The decor is all about red and black and everything is completely colour coordinated including the three studios that vary in shape and size but are all well-lit and exactly what you expect dance studios to be; full of mirrors, bars, and plenty of open space to dance your face off. There’s a small hallway connecting the studios where students wait for class and the whole time I was there, the hallway was never empty. It was constantly bursting with uplifting energy, chatter, and So You Think You Can Dance feels. I do wish there was more space for the guys and gals to get ready; but it was clear with the constant flow of students coming and going, the small space worked for the transient nature of the studio. 


  • Two large unisex washrooms
  • Coat hooks and cubbies for personal belongings


Sarah Torkoly

Sarah is the studio owner and also the instructor for both classes I took – no pressure to nail the steps. She opened Dance Code in 2010 after traveling the world as a professional dancer and since then has founded The Codettes, a 12-week pumps training program for all shapes and sizes to learn routines and gain strength and confidence. She is a two-time contender for So You Think You Can Dance and took her concept of Burlesque Boom Inc. to the popular TV show Dragons’ Den in 2015 – #bossbabe. You can tell she pours her love for dance into the studio from the moment you walk in the door. With her personal desk set-up right behind the check-in desk, she welcomed everyone that entered the studio as if they’d known each other for years. Something I really appreciated about Sarah’s teaching style, was how she was right beside us doing the whole class with us. She worked it just as hard as she was encouraging us to, while giving positive reinforcement to keep going and push ourselves. Sarah said one amazing thing at the top of her class, that since then I’ve been telling myself before every work out; “I want you to push yourself until your body is shaking and you feel like giving up. Then think of all the people sitting at home on their couches who didn’t come out to class… and then do five more reps.” Damn. That no-excuses motivation set us up for an hour of non-stop movement that we were going to push through no matter what.



Burlesque Boom

So, disclaimer. I moonlight as a burlesque dancer so I, like, kinda know, and I was SUPER keen to try the Burlesque Boom class and see how Sarah would interpret burlesque into a workout class because burlesque can mean very different things to different people. To me, burlesque is a celebration. An opportunity for anyone of any size to celebrate their body and feel sexy in their own skin. At Dance Code, they’ve created Burlesque Boom to be a super high-energy and interval based cardio class that requires you to push yourself as hard as you can athletically while trying to look sexy and flaunt your inner Cher/Christina. NBD. The class started with getting our heart rate up with jumping jacks, high knees and jumping lunges. The loud, top-40’s music was pumped to the max to keep the energy high, and we took short and sweet water/stretch breaks between every song so we didn’t cool down too much before moving on. We then did a series of turns paired with tuck jumps and linked the moves with a box step. Here’s where we started to see a little burlesque flare come into the workout because you could literally add your own sexy flare, and you could feel the excitement in the room lift. We continued to move through every section of the body (legs, arms, and abs) by doing sit ups, bicycle crunches and planks etc. and although I’m rating this as Hard, sadly, I didn’t see as much burlesque integrated into the movement after the cardio section because we were so focused on our cardio and form. Overall, I love the idea of giving people a taste of burlesque by combining it with a tough, fun workout but there were only a handful of moments in the class where it was possible to incorporate the sexy tease that burlesque is known for into the movements. I would 100% go back to try another class, even with a different instructor to see how they interpret weaving burlesque into the workout. 

Beginner Pump

So I, most def, sweat the most in this class and it’s earning a Hard for cardio. Having experience dancing in heels before, I found the combinations that Sarah taught fairly easy to pick up, but for anyone taking a pumps class for the first time, this would be a perfect place to start and will challenge you for sure. We started with a warm up to get everyone limber and heart rates going, and then we jumped into choreography right away. Song for the class: Filthy by Justin Timberlake, and TBH I’m still jamming to it every morning since. The think I really loved, was how Sarah created the combo as we went. It meant she could adjust the sequence based on how the room at large was reacting to the choreography, i.e. if some people were struggle street, she would tone it back – if we all clearly had it, she would make the next part a little more difficult. This also gave her an opportunity to adjust the choreography for anyone with an injury. The class was very much structured like most professional dance classes; start with a warm up, learn the choreography, break into groups and then perform (and sometimes film – if you’re decent). When you break into groups to perform the choreography you just spent 45-minutes learning, it allows for people to get inspired by the other dancers and see how each person makes the dance their own. At the end of the class, Sarah filmed a few of the girls that were SLAYING the dance and she finished the class by saying she’ll add onto the combo the following Monday – making me want to go back to perfect what I learned. So fun, guys. 


To try this class or anything else on their schedule, see Dance Code’s contact info below.

PHONE: 780.916.7095
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