Shall we dance? How AI-based dance platform Verb Studio’s live streaming classes can help you master those moves

AI-based virtual dance platform Verb Studio brings dance to your home and helps you master moves and steps with online classes conducted by trained dancers. Co-founder Bharath Kumar J tells YSWeekender more about how their startup helps people put their best foot forward and stay fit.

Molly Bop or the Dougie, hip hop or popping and locking…There is nothing quite as popular as dance routines in the world of fitness.

Online dance and fitness classes have been popular during the pandemic

Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world and led to a shutdown of fitness clubs, gyms, and dance institutes, people have turned to interactive online solutions to maintain their fitness levels.

AI-based virtual dance platform Verb Studio is tapping the opportunity by stepping up its online dance class modules. The concept was so popular that the studio witnessed 40 per cent month on month growth during this time with 100,000+ users through its freemium subscription-based model.

Dancing to fitness’ tune

The Verb Studio team

Verb was founded in 2018 by Bharath Kumar J and Ilangovan KS, two NIT Trichy graduates who wanted to make dance accessible to everyone. The core team at Verb is also from the dance team of NIT Trichy, and all of them share the same dream.

“We have many live classes that are free of cost,” Bharat says. “We also have ‘How to’ section that showcases viral dance moves that help a learner perfect a single technical move through a step-by-step approach.” 

The startup offers 200+ classes and 30+ different dance forms ranging from belly dancing, hip hop, Bollywood, and locking. It also has options such as Indian folk and classical dancing like Manipuri, Kuchipudi, Odissi, Chhau, Garba, Bhangra, Lavani, Kuthu, and many others. The platform also provides free live classes.

Bharat says some of the most popular dance moves now are Rabbit Walk, Shuffle, Leo Walk, and Criss-cross.

Class-like experience

Verb Studio uses technology to provide a class-like experience and feel.

“We have a ‘Switch View Player’ where the audience can understand how to do each move/dance step properly,” Bharat explains.

“Through this interface, you can switch between the front and rear view of the class and perfect your own moves. There is also another facility called ‘Section Breakdown- Content’ where the user can understand the details of each step.”

But any virtual group class will not give you 100 percent of the instructor’s attention.

“If the instructor is not tech-savvy, it will definitely hinder the experience of the participants,” Bharat says. “Another challenge is that due to the proliferation of dance classes, there may be many unqualified fitness gurus out there.”

Bharat says anyone can create a YouTube video and make all sorts of claims because no person or agency is policing the virtual fitness space. This makes it important to check the qualifications and quality of the trainer.

 “At Verb, we strongly believe that dancers can be great performers and not every performer can be a teacher,” he adds.

The studio has a team of 80+ instructors who are well trained and skillful. The founders also plan to launch an app version soon with enhanced features like voice command, vernacular language, and live feedback.

Fitness is top priority

According to a report by Allied Market Research on the online/virtual fitness market, the global online/virtual fitness industry was estimated to be $6.04 billion in 2019 and is anticipated to hit $59.23 billion by 2027, registering a CAGR of 33.1 per cent from 2020 to 2027.

The pandemic has made health and fitness top priority for most people, and they’re willing to get their exercise fix indoors if they can’t step out.

The Verb Studio team strikes a pose

Studies have shown that a 30-minute dance class burns between 130 and 250 calories, which is about the same as jogging outside, Bharat says.

He emphasises the importance of staying fit as fitness levels have dropped greatly with many of us working from home.

“We need to think of this time as an opportunity to set physical activity goals and think of ways to build long-term sustainable habits into our daily schedule,” he says, adding that whether it’s eating right or finding an online platform that replenishes energy, “we should find ways to integrate virtual fitness into our lifestyle”.

“At Verb Studio, we aim to create a holistic real-life, interactive class experience by using artificial intelligence. We will continue to keep diversifying in terms of our offerings and deploying advanced technology to stay ahead of the changing times,” Bharat says.

Are you ready to give Verb Studio a whirl?

(Images credit: Verb Studio and Shutterstock)

Edited by Teja Lele Desai


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