Instructor Spotlight: Ilyse Baker

List five words that best describe you?
Inspirational, Determined, Vivacious, Creative, Authentic

What inspired you to teach dance and fitness?
I have been teaching dance since I was a senior in high school so I have always had a passion for it.  When I moved to LA about 16 years ago, I was auditioning in the dance and choreography industry.  I needed to make money while I was pursuing my dreams and aspirations so I started teaching at MaDonna Grimes Dance Fitness Studio in Hollywood.  She hired me as her jazz teacher.  While I working with MaDonna, she opened my eyes up into the fitness industry as I started booking work as a backup performer in fitness DVDS and TV episodes.  I said, “I want to be lead talent in workout DVDs and have my own one day!”  I became certified as a fitness professional and noticed that there was a gap in the dance fitness industry.  ZUMBA had just became popular and all the dance reality TV shows were beginning so I knew it was a good time to begin my choreography based dance fitness program, Dancinerate

I blended my dance and choreography experience with fitness and it became a hit!  I was really inspired by women and men who would constantly say to me:  “Did you watch So You Think You Can Dance last night?  I want to dance like that!”  I thought there is no reason why they can’t so I went with it and to this day couldn’t be happier that I chose my calling:  my dance fitness path!  I love that on a daily basis I get to inspire women and men how to be the best versions of themselves through dance.  I love that when I walk into one of my classes and I see the professional dancer next to the person who has never danced before or the just for fun dance goer and by the end of class…EVERYONE is a dancer and rocking the same routine!

What would you like your students to know about you?
People come up to me all the time and say:  “I would love to try Dancinerate, but I have 2 left feet.  Choreography scares me!”  I want you all to try Dancinerate!  It is my job as your instructor to make you get the moves, have a blast in class, and get a great workout.  Trust me, I love what I do and it is my goal to make you feel and look like the best dancer!  Come and join me in class Thursdays 11:00am.  Even if you only get 1-2 moves in your 1st class, I promise by the next class you will get 2 more and then the next 2 more and by week 3-4 you will master it!  It is just like learning how to ride a bicycle.  Try something new… #YoullThankMELater

What are your favorite hobbies and interests?
Dancing (of course) :), Choreographing (of course) :), spending time with my family and friends, dance parties with my bestie daughter Juliette, I love the beach, traveling, being on social media: facebook and instagram are my faves, music and swim classes with my daughter, movies, theatre, music, farmers markets, shopping and date nights with my hubby!

At what age did you begin dancing?
I began dancing at the age of 3 however if you ask my Mom she says:  “You danced right out of the womb!”  I was a kid who was always dancing hence one of the reasons why my parents put me in dance classes.  Doctors also recommended that I was put into something active, because when I was 14 months old, my family and I were hit by drunk drivers.  I was thrown out of my car seat and broke my leg in 2 different spots.  I was just starting to walk when the accident happened so for physical therapy purposes I needed to be active.  My parents first signed me up for gymnastics followed by dancing.  Then, a dancer was born!  

At age 10, I began assisting my dance teachers in their classes and immediately fell in love with it.  I became really passionate about teaching and inspiring others.  By the time I was a senior in high school I had a class of my own to teach and was choreographing for our dance company.  My choreography started winning awards when I was a senior in high school.  I continued to teach and choreograph dance all through college to kids and adults.