Bokwa by Philly Dance Fitness

Bokwa® by Philly Dance Fitness

Sweat the alphabet and dance the digits!

Looking for an addictive, fast-paced cardio workout? Try Bokwa, a unique blend of South African war dance, kickboxing and Capoeira.

Think hip-hop meets step aerobics, but minus the step. Using hand signals and verbal cues, instructors guide participants to “trace” the shape of letters and numbers on the floor with their feet. Pulsating top forty, hip-hop, African and Latin rhythms keep everyone moving together.

Creator Paul Mavi, a Los Angeles-based dancer, musician and group fitness instructor, tapped into his South African roots to develop Bokwa. The name stems from the combination of boxing and Kwaito, a type of African dance. Since licensing fitness instructors to teach his format in 2012, Bokwa classes are now available around the world, including countries as far as Australia and Taiwan.

Like step aerobics, the program draws from a well of basic footwork patterns that are then linked together to create an intense, nonstop dance workout. Don’t worry if you’ve never tried it before and don’t know any of the steps. In this “Level One” class, the instructor will introduce and break down each move, then repeat it several times before adding on another.

As you become familiar with the L, 3, C and other basic steps, you can shift your focus from learning footwork to executing it with higher intensity. The more you come to class, the faster you amp up your cardio burn. And because the steps follow a set structure, you can jump right in at any Bokwa class, whether in the United States or the United Kingdom.

At the same time, we promise you won’t get bored coming back week after week because Bokwa draws from an expanding “dictionary” of more than 100 steps. Likewise, those steps can be combine in any number of fresh patterns.

If you like our high-energy Zumba, Hip-Hop and Impact Jazz classes, we challenge you to take a shot at Bokwa. With no choreography to memorize or steps to count, Bokwa is accessible to anyone – even those who think they can’t dance!


  • When: Bokwa is currently on hiatus, but we hope to bring it back in the future. Check the newsletter for updates!
  • Cost: $12 drop in or one punch on a class card. FREE for members.
  • Wear: Comfortable workout attire and supportive athletic shoes or jazz sneakers as many Bokwa steps incorporate bouncing or jumping. (Modifications can be provided for those who prefer less impact).

Still not sure what Bokwa entails? Check out this clip: