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Tina Thompson Teaches Women To Think And Dance Proud Like Prima Ballerinas


I'm warning you...don't slack off in Tina Thompson's Tutu Fresh class at Crunch NYC. She's one fierce ballet instructor. She moves fast, doesn't sugar-coat ballet and doesn't tolerate lazy calves. Tina dishes out tough love, mad style and lots of inspiring words in 45 minutes of ballet fitness. Her intense, Juilliard-style instruction is awesome and by the end of class you really hope that you've pleased her. Check out my interview with Tina below.


MizzFIT:  Tina, what drew you to ballet? If you weren't wearing a bun and didn't have such amazing posture, I would've never guessed.

Tina T:  I was drawn to ballet from the Dance Theatre of Harlem. Virginia Johnson was the first black ballerina I ever saw that was famous! Arthur Mitchell handpicked me for a scholarship while at Juilliard and I returned every summer thereafter. He was a great influence as well as Bessie Elmer and Walter Raines. 

MizzFIT:  You have really really really long nails - I love them. Have they been with you throughout your dance career?  

Tina T:  I have had long nails on and off since High School. I was always dressing different or slightly eccentric back then. Nothing has changed. I had a modern teacher at Juilliard call me a witch when I was doing a Graham technique class! I smiled and kept contracting because I had been a Full scholarsip student at the Graham School long before Juilliard and performed works with the repertory ensemble at age 16 and at the Metropolitan Opera House with the Graham company and Baryshnikov. So her calling me out only showed that she feared me! lol...besides I'd never seen her on stage with the Graham company so she didnt matter.

MizzFIT:  Your confidence is contagious and it definitely keeps your Tutu Fresh students coming back for more. The first time I came to your class you talked about always being proud of who you are. You preached self-confidence, individuality and does this philosophy connect to staying fit?  

Tina T:  We are athletes of spirit and all forms of exercise must start with spirit first. You are empty and not whole without some form of energy or inspiration. Life is too short for low self esteem. BE YOURSELF...everyone else is already taken!

MizzFIT:  It's so important to think that way! You don't get that kind of wisdom in most fitness classes. So how did you end up teaching at Crunch gyms?

Tina T:  I was in transition from leaving a sports club where I worked for 10 years, and finally had enough. They were breeding cookie-cutter workouts and instructors. I had a massive following and they just wanted me to water everything down. Crunch let me raise the bar and be the signature that I am. NO JUDGEMENTS! I loved it! Its what I stand for. 


MizzFIT:  Well, you definitely have a signature look. Like the pants you wear with only 1 pant leg. What's that all about? 

Tina T:  YES! I am legendary for that. Its one of my signature looks. I'm actually working on my signature one-legged and one-armed designs for Sansha worldwide.

MizzFIT:  So you're a fitness fashion designer too...and I hear you have a dance shoe. Tell me more.

Tina T:  It's a flexible energetic hi-top with ankle support. The ultimate pillow support for all dance and fitness divas!


MizzFIT:  I'm dying to know where you shop for cardio-dance clothes.

Tina T:  I like to wear comfortable yet sexy clothing when I move. Nothing contraption-like but just fabulous and light! I advise women to take a look at Sansha newyork and scan the racks. There are one-of-a-kind pieces that other general dance brands dont have! This is why I love the Sansha brand. Phillipe [of Sansha] stays in touch and personal with all of his products and everything he supports and sells.

MizzFIT:  Can you tell my readers about your dance bootcamp?

Tina T:  My dance Bootcamp is every year at my FIT CAMP. Its a 3-day workout empowerment retreat. We teach 2 hour workshops on performance and cardio techniques including pilates, conditioning, outdoors, nutrition, and self empowerment seminars.

MizzFIT:  Your 2 role models, Richard Simmons and Michelle Obama, couldn't be more different. Explain.

Tina T:   Richard represents why I teach: To touch others lives, to share our lives and to make eachother better! He never had outstanding muscles on the outside but his biggest muscle was his heart! Impressive! First Lady Michele Obama, yes, i see a reflection of myself in her being shown as a positive role model and not the stereotypical - I AM BLACK WOMAN hear me roar. Women of any color can be intelligent, respected and recognized as well as marketable! This is what I am waiting for the fitness arena to see!

MizzFIT:  Ballet was created for the elite and now, in many ways, it continues to be most accessible to the wealthy. You've shaken up the ballet scene for sure. But how do you think you've made your mark?

Tina T:  I did not feel inferior for one moment as a woman of color [in ballet]. I actually felt more blessed. I rose from the area of a tough neighborhood after my fathers death and I know he would be very proud of how far I've come. He always stressed learning and being your best. I made my mark at the Ms. Fitness USA competitions by being the first fitness routine ever to be done en off I went making my mark in the world of fitness as a dancer! Today, my dance company SKIN exudes the spirit of defying the stereotypes of what dancers should look like or appear to be technically. We are an intergrated group of talented athletes who connect in the spirit of dance.



If you live in Manhattan, you really must check out Tutu Fresh. Here's a complimentary gym pass to Crunch to motivate you. Below you'll find my recommendations for what to wear to a dance fitness class to inspire you. AND DON'T FORGET TO LEAVE A COMMENT!

written by Bianca Jade a.k.a Mizzfit


Say what's on your mind!

Sabrina October 5th, 2010 3:55AM

Wow, I'm totally taking this class, although I'm a bit nervous! I feel that working out with a ballet bar has prepared me to take a full on ballet class so perhaps I will be able to keep up. The ballet bar classes at LITA Integrated Fitness have been great - totally worth signing up for 3 classes for $75! They're running a promo right on BuyWithMe NYC - here's the link See you at Tina's class!

MizzFIT October 5th, 2010 7:06AM


Don't be nervous! Just get there on time and listen carefully to Tina's instruction. She's an awesome teacher.


Michelle October 7th, 2010 3:41AM

Tina is the best instructor I ever had. Even though I'm not in NYC anymore I still do her workouts using her video tapes! They are the best!
I have learned so much from her classes that I could apply in my life. I took her class when I was pregnant with my first child and was taking that class up to my 9th month! The stamina and endurance I built up from her class along with the lessons of believing in myself and having courage helped me to achieve my goal of birthing my child naturally without medication. And yes, in the labor room I could hear Tina's voice in my head cracking jokes and pushing me on! She is amazing!

MizzFIT October 7th, 2010 10:36AM


You almost brought me to tears with your beautiful comment! It's so amazing that fitness trainers/instructors/coaches/experts can have that kind of impact on peoples' lives.

It's so meaningful and I'm sure Tina would be so touched to read this comment so I'll be sure to let her know. Your words also prove that physical fitness directly affects what I like to call mental fitness (taking inventory on the inside, not just the outside).

It's incredibly therapeutic to sweat things out...whether they're environmental or emotional toxins....they need to be released!!! And once they are, we feel so good on the inside that change is actually visible on the outside. Congratulations on your natural child birth and your tremendous inner strength. Thank you for commenting and I look forward to reading more from you!


Tasha October 13th, 2010 5:11AM

I just took my first class at Crunch with Tina yesterday. WHAT! It was awesome!

To be honest, I've been feeling down for months because my job has me working 10-12 hour days, sitting at a desk (and hence gaining weight!!). I've been searching for motivation. Tina's energy is serious. It's exactly what I've been looking for and I cannot wait to start going to her classes regularly. She makes me feel like I'm actually going to get back into shape again!

MizzFIT October 14th, 2010 3:04AM

Hi Tasha!

I'm ferociously typing with excitement as I write this response to you about your first class with Tina! Isn't she awesome! I mean, she really takes it to the next level and makes you do a double-take on your impressions of dance and come to regard it as a full-body workout. I love how class ends up flying by because you're so engaged...I'm like, NO! I want 30 minutes more...let's keep going! I say that as my calves are screaming "no more, please, no more!" Tasha, keep it up and you'll be feeling like you're in the shape of your life. So glad you went to class and enjoyed it. Maybe next time I will see you there!


badmash October 23rd, 2010 7:48AM

I just signed up to your blogs rss feed. Will you post more on this subject?

MizzFIT October 23rd, 2010 7:56AM

Hi Badmash,

Of course, I love dance fitness!
More to come, I promise!

mackdaniel October 25th, 2010 2:03AM

this was a really nice post, thanks

JIMMY February 4th, 2011 11:48AM


home remodeling February 16th, 2011 5:26AM

It's very exiting to find this website.
You definitely can write and teach and inspire. Keep writing - I'll keep reading.

Michelle August 31st, 2011 1:33AM

I'm so glad Tina reposted this article. I actually just saw your response to me. Thank you for that. I meant every word of my comment. Tina is the best! I need to start following you MizzFit!

MizzFIT August 31st, 2011 5:37AM

Hi Michelle,

Where did Tina repost it? I’m glad that you came back to see my message and please feel free to follow me on both Facebook and Twitter! I’ll follow you right back!