Decolonizing Fitness in Ventura County

Why you might like this list

Your doctor ordered exercise.

You want to get out in the community, but you just spent the eight hours confine in an office.

You want to get outdoors, or work out, with like-minded people, but don’t know where to find them.

You want to support local art spaces.

You are looking for dance classes with deeper connection to the people who originated them.

You question race, class, and beauty assumptions of traditional fitness and the body shaming that often accompanies it.

Afro Beats Dance Hall AfrobeatsDancehall is a dance class brought to you by Nigerian American instructor Jessica Anunwah.  Jessica infuses dance with culture to give you a rich historical understanding of the dance movements. Class held the third Saturday of the month. 2640 E Main St, Ventura, CA · (805) 804-6108

Alma Rose is Port Hueneme’s new cultural center at 260 South Surfside Drive. Alma Rose teaches dance classes focused on the history and culture of the regions they come from. It will offer an after school program. Facebook page here.

Ballet Folklorico Alma de Mexico the dance company has contributed in a positive way to the community, expanding Mexican culture through the colorful and vibrant dances that develop dramatically through each presentation. Holds classes in Oxnard. Facebook page here

Ballet Folklórico Ehecatl is based on traditional dances performed in Mexico for centuries, Ballet Folklórico Ehecatl offers beginner and advanced folklórico dance instruction in Simi Valley. The first two weeks of classes are free of charge. Facebook page here

Bell Arts Factory in Ventura is the home to Ballet Folklorico Bell Arts and Danza Mexica Cuauhtemoc, a community of people dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the Mexica/Azteca culture.

Hamsa Dance Studio Offers classical, Bollywood, classical. and other forms of Indian dance. Frequently hosts family, cultural, and educational events in Ojai. Facebook page here

Great Outdoors  an outdoor recreation/ adventure/ social group for LGBTQ folks in the SB/ Ventura area. They have monthly overnight (camping) trips, as well as day hikes, potlucks, and pizza socials.

NAMBA  is a multi-disciplinary performance space located in Ventura’s historic downtown arts district with programming focused on Culturally Relevant Stories that Serve Our Community. Facebook page here

Oxnard Buddhist Temple The Oxnard Buddhist Temple belongs to the Jodo Shinshu school. The temple holds weekly judo and taiko drumming classes.  Please email info@togendaiko if you are interested in drumming.


Resource Conservation Partners, Inc. Its purpose is to conserve, protect, monitor, restore, and enhance natural resources through applied science, research, adaptive management, education, and outreach.  Holds cleans ups once a month on Saturdays.

Surfrider Foundation – Ventura County Chapter. Facebook page here. “The Surfrider Foundation is a non-profit environmental organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the world’s oceans, waves and beaches for all people, through conservation, activism, research and education.” Surfrider has all ages beach clean ups.

Tina’s Ports of Paradise teach and perform dances from, the Cook Islands, Hawaii, Samoa, Tahiti, New Zealand, Fiji, and Tonga, come and learn the language, Songs, and dances,
Polynesian Drumming, and Ukulele. Facebook page here

VCCool (Ventura Climate Care Options). “VCCool is an active, grass roots Climate Change Action organization, in Ventura. They run two programs: the Ventura Bicycle Union (advocacy group) and the Ventura Bike HUB (community bicycle shop).

Ventura Buddhist Temple is a center for Buddhist studies, meditation, tai chi, and yoga. The temple holds services in multiple languages.  Yoga classes are $5. It’s fundamental to note how yoga in the Western has been a hot been for exploitation and damaging cultural appropriation. For an Indian perspective on Orientalist yoga, see Namrata Poddar’s On Yoga, Diversity L5.ite, and the Empire of American Wellness. See also Decolonizing Yoga: Beyond the Yoga-Industrial Complex by Susanna Barkataki.

If you provide an outdoor, or exercise space, for people of color, LBGTQ, and safe to all religions and want to be added to this list, let us know. If you know a dancer who teaches authentic style, or demonstrated a political commitment to the region or people who brought the dance, please let us know.

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