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Work du Soleil with Cirque

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Jukari Fit to Flex
Spa & Salon Bellagio
Wednesday-Friday, 9 a.m; Saturday, 10 a.m., $40 includes class and a day pass for the cardio center, spa vanity, wet areas and lockers
bellagio.com

On the Strip, $40 won’t buy you a ticket to see a Cirque du Soleil show unless you're under the age of 12. It will buy you a Cirque-inspired cardio class and post-workout date with Spa Bellagio’s pools, meditation lounge, plush robes and bowls of perfect ripe fruit.

While other properties have resident Cirque shows, Bellagio (home to aquatic marvel O) is the only one offering Jukari Fit To Flex, an inventive blend of Cirque artistry and Reebok athleticism. The equation is simple: strong, controlled movement + your own creative flair set to a custom Cirque soundtrack = long, lean muscles, improved coordination and a powerful core. But this is no ordinary cardio.

Joined by a handful of other Jukari neophytes on a recent Thursday, I listened as instructor Dustin Bradshaw welcomed us to a world of play and performance, a world we would simultaneously create and conquer. There are four building blocks: Prep Flex (familiarizes key moves), Dynamic Flex (challenges balance, mobility, stability and coordination), Floor Flex (activates and strengthens stabilizer muscles and encourages fluid joint movement) and Final Flex (exhilarates and revitalizes through performance). Bradshaw showed us how to maneuver with special Jukari Bands designed to assist and lengthen movement rather than provide resistance. He told us we were going to have fun.

An hour later, sweaty, smiling and sashaying through the musical crescendo, I was a believer. With a delightful combo of Jane Fonda’s grit and Richard Simmons’ gregariousness, Bradshaw hurled himself into the routine so unabashedly that we all stretched deeper and danced wilder. While the lower-intensity segments may feel a bit mellow to seasoned cardiophiles, Jukari has the overall effect of a good run with yoga for dessert (depending how far you push the amplitude). And, as promised, it’s really fun.

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Erin got her first newspaper job in 2002 thanks to a campfire story about Bigfoot. In her award-winning work for ...

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