The Outlet I Didn’t Know I (Desperately) Needed

Do more of what you love. Thank you to DivaDance Jacksonville for sponsoring this post and giving us a much-needed release from #momlife!

divadanceFacts: I was painfully shy and awkward when I joined my high school dance team in 1996 — but I loved losing myself in the jock jam of the moment during drill team practice and half-time at basketball games. Looking back, my moves weren’t all that great, but in my mind, I shined.

Fast forward to college, and I was loathed to hit the dance floor unless I had a little liquid courage. When I found myself living and working in New York City, my insecurity again rearing its ugly head, I longed to get lost in the lyrics. Something low-pressure, just for fun where I could feel comfortable in my own skin. But not Zumba (God, no), ballet, or anything even remotely connected to Broadway or the Off-Off versions. The newly launched DivaDance NYC soon became my release from the hustle and bustle of my 20s — and a solid way to burn off those massive slices of pizza.

Second from left, not too thrilled about going on stage back in 1984. Today, it’s a different story.

Fifteen years later, married with kids, and I barely have time to take a shower, let alone take a dance class. Momming a 2-year-old and a 4-year-old while working part-time and doing all of the things — as my hard-working husband goes golfing once a week and watches football — has led to increasing amounts of irritability and resentment. “What brings you joy?” my husband gently asked one night, so as not to poke the mama bear. “Getting Starbucks every day,” I bitterly replied. He kept insisting I make time to do something, anything. He was perfectly willing to help; I was the one making excuses.

READ: Guide to Fitness and Health in Jacksonville

Enter DivaDance Jacksonville. I’d been following DivaDance for the better part of a decade, as it expanded to Austin, Texas, and then other cities throughout the United States — and finally, Jacksonville. No more excuses.

The all-levels adult dance classes make for the best stress release!

What Is DivaDance?

First and foremost, DivaDance is a dance class for adults, featuring all levels of choreography. No toddlers. No teenagers. Just some grown-ass women (and a few men!) looking to have a little fun.

Each class (a.k.a. “a sexy, sweaty, stress-free dance party”) lasts an hour and includes a warm-up, cooldown, and a choreographed dance routine to part of a pop song (though sometimes Def Leppard makes an appearance — check the monthly schedule to view the tracks). At the end of class, we break out into two groups for the performance segment where we all cheer each other on (it feels really good). We’re also encouraged to video ourselves — which I personally love sharing on Instagram, even though my moves are mediocre at best.

A sample DivaDance schedule — they offer both virtual at-home classes and in-person classes at the Southside studio.

Classes are held on weekends and weekday evenings, giving me just enough time to make dinner, eat, and bolt while my husband handles bedtime. This is my opportunity to be in my car alone once a week, blasting whatever hip-hop my heart desires.

divadance jacksonville
How cute is the DivaDance Jax studio? The Southside location is central to most of Jacksonville, right near I-295 and Philips Hwy.

Beyond dance, their founding principles encompass empowerment, inclusion, confidence, and community — creating “a safe space” for adults of all body types, backgrounds, and skill levels. With catchphrases like “slaying is my cardio” and “do more of what you love,” DivaDance employs high-energy instructors and the staff makes newbs feel instantly at home. (Because let’s be real, going to a dance class with strangers can feel insanely intimidating, no matter how well you twerk.)

Make Time to Dance

There are class types for every comfort level and class options for every budget and schedule, including memberships, class packs, and drop-in rates. I have a Silver Membership, which allows me to come to up to five classes a month. It’s just enough to make me feel a part of a community and give me an outlet outside of my roles as a wife and mother. They also offer private classes and parties (birthday or bachelorette, anyone?) and a special for new clients. DivaDance Jacksonville is located at 11035 Philips Highway, just off of I-295 (near Mattress Firm).

New Client Special for Jacksonville Mom Readers

When you sign up for a monthly membership, mention Jacksonville Mom to get the $49 signup fee waived + receive a $25 account credit!


Tina Smithers Peckham
Originally from Kansas City, Tina relocated to Jacksonville, FL with her dear husband, feisty cat and sweet-natured corgi mix in 2016. After eight years working various gigs in New York City from magazine publishing to digital marketing, Tina joined the world of freelance, writing and reporting for a variety of publications and websites including MTV News, ET Online, Glamour, Us Weekly and more. Tina has also assisted with social media, editorial and content strategy for brands and personalities such as Britney Spears, Jordin Sparks, Beauty Brands, truTV and WE tv. When she’s not plugging away on her laptop, she can be found exploring the Jacksonville beaches, reading a good book or enjoying a local coffee shop with her cherub-cheeked little boys, Archer and Austin.


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