An entertaining interview with actor Israel Tilahun. Another player making waves in the Eskista fitness scene is Ethio Dance Fitness, run by Tomas Hailu. A veteran of over 40 music videos as a dancer and choreographer, Tomas founded Ethio Dance five years ago with his unique blend.
“We combine Ethiopian and African traditional tunes with classic moves and modern exercise,” says Tomas. “This recipe is very interesting for people who need physical exercise but hate doing sport. People who want to get rid of stress, lose weight, and want to have a healthy, flexible, and strong physique are usually our clients.”
Studies show increasing disease from sedentary lifestyles and poor diets. “This is because people usually spend time at home, and have poor diets. We created the Eskista dance that allows people to stay active and do physical exercise at the same time,” Tomas said.
Now with 850 members, clientele has skyrocketed from just two at launch five years ago. Ethio Dance recently unveiled a massive new Bole complex housing 1,000 practitioners, plus gym and spa amenities. it currently has around 850 active clients, up from the two it started with five years ago. Membership costs 3,500 birr monthly.
Tomas pays 480,000 birrs in rent alone each month to maintain the large facility, excluding salary, water, and power bills. Recruits praise the unique formula. Compared to traditional exercise centers, practitioners praise the inclusion of music and dance into the workout regimen.
Rather than relying solely on machines and routines, music plays a key role in relaxing both the mind and body. Dancers lose themselves in the rhythms, allowing stress and tension to melt away. Meanwhile, the accompanying dance routines provide low-impact exercise to relax the physical form.
“Even people who usually do not enjoy exercise tend to like it when blended with Eskista dance,” says Daniel Walelign, a sports instructor. Thomas has also devised a strategy to deepen acceptance of Eskista as a sport in Ethiopia and abroad. He widely promotes Eskista fitness concerts, which have created wide recognition, he says.
For the past five years, Ethio Dance Fitness has organized annual Eskista sports concerts in coordination with different organizations. For the current year, it expects over 10,000 participants in its Eskista fitness concert.