POWfit combines powwow dance with fitness

A woman from the White Bear First Nation has created a new dance class to encourage fitness and share powwow moves.

'I wanted to create something that was fun:' Brandyy-Lee Maxie

A POWfit class, using powwow dancing for fitness, is set for April 23 in Lloydminster. (Women Warriors)

Brandyy-Lee Maxie, an indigenous woman from the White Bear First Nation, wants to improve health and fitness on First Nations communities with a fitness class she created called POWfit. 

"I take various dance moves from different powwow styles in the contemporary powwow and I introduce them to a fitness routine and I give a background to the group of the origin stories," said Maxie.

It's both fitness and an introduction to indigenous culture. 

The inspiration for the class came to Maxie during her own fitness journey after she was diagnosed with diabetes during her pregnancy. 

She did not feel comfortable going to a gym, so she chose to get fit by using fitness DVDs instead. 

Maxie said she loved getting fit through dance and wanted to bring something similar to First Nations communities. 

"I wanted to create something that was fun and allow other people to participate in the powwow without the regalia," said Maxie. 

She also wanted to help prevent diabetes in many First Nation communities. 

"I try and choose music that is by First Nations artists so that it's more of an inviting atmosphere," she added. "I try and make it a very inclusive class."

Maxie explained that the class has a lot of cardio routines as well as strength training. Each class is about one hour long.

Maxie said she hopes to train more Indigenous fitness instructors, so that POWfit can be introduced to more communities. 

Maxie will lead a class on April 23, in Lloydminster, starting at 2 p.m., hosted by Women Warriors, a program that promotes healthy living.

With files from CBC's The Afternoon Edition