Clairton alumna leads fitness workout

| Friday, Jan. 17, 2014, 3:01 a.m.

A Clairton City School District alumna brought a new group fitness trend that is sweeping the globe back to her alma mater on Thursday.

Certified instructor and 1989 graduate Tiffani Hurt taught a Bokwa class to elementary and middle school students in the district's CASTLE program, or Clairton's After-School Teaching & Learning Experience.

“It's new to this area,” Hurt said. “It's big in Europe. I think it's so much better (than Zumba) because you can teach it at all different levels ... I think it's something to keep them jumping around. It's really fun.”

Bokwa was developed by international fitness personality Paul Mavi, a leading Los Angeles-based group fitness instructor, over an eight-year period.

Participants draw letters and numbers with their feet while performing an energized and addictive cardio workout routine, all to popular music.

CASTLE is sponsored by the district and the Consortium for Public Education. It provides students with various afternoon activities coupled with core curriculum tutoring by certified teachers.

About 25-30 boys and girls from fourth through eighth grades worked out on Thursday.

Sixth-grader Kenyahna Jamison jumped to the first line in front of the instructor when the program started.

“I knew her for a really long time,” Kenyahna said of Hurt. “At first I didn't know what she was gonna do with the dance moves or what she wasn't gonna do.”

Students started to open up and show their abilities as the class progressed.

“I had fun, and it was exercise,” Kenyahna said. “If you don't exercise, you're not going to be able to get up and move as you should on a regular basis. I think it was good, and I would like Miss Tiffani to come back again because it was so nice the way she took time out of her day and explored with us.”

“Every day the kids are required to have at least 30 minutes of physical activity,” CASTLE assistant director Andrea Johnson said. “Any additional physical activity during the winter months is even better. It's great they can be introduced to something new ... The fact that a community member is coming back to give back to the school is just great.”

Seventh-grader Kobby Markin and eighth-grader Tymerre Brown partnered for a dance-off at the end of the session.

“At first I didn't want to do this, but it got fun after awhile,” Kobby said. “It didn't take much thought. It's pretty simple if you try.”

“It was fun. It was energetic. It was good for exercise,” Tymerre said. “Get a little fit, get cardio and have fun. I can plan more tricks, more fun (and) more moves. My partner Kobby thought of (the dance). I was thinking of nothing. He busted out and came with it. We just went with it, and somehow we won.”

Hurt's visit was made possible through district spokesperson Alexis Trubiani, who worked out alongside students.

“I think it's great that it involved letters and numbers and the siblings really got into it because they were doing the letters,” Trubiani said. “Some of (the students) were outdoing us (teachers).”

Trubiani said she will work with Hurt's schedule to try to bring her back for another class.

Hurt said she learned Bokwa from her friend Charla Pettis Murphy, the Pittsburgh area's first master Bokwa trainer.

Murphy is offering a one-hour master class on Feb. 1 at 11 a.m. at Community and Economic Development Corporation of Clairton, 282 St. Clair Ave. Cost is $8. Hurt will begin teaching classes at that facility every Saturday at 9 a.m. for five weeks starting on Feb. 8. Cost is $5. Call 412-728-7274 for more information.

Michael DiVittorio is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1965, or

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