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Keeping It Cultural: Fitness Finds A Beat With Ethiopia’s Dance Heritage | The Reporter

The music blasts loudly, energizing attendees. Lively rhythms fill the room as enthusiastic participants in athletic wear move to the beat. The pulsating beat of traditional Ethiopian tunes has locals dancing up a sweat at Ethio Eskista Fitness centers across Addis Ababa. Traditional tunes in various Ethiopian languages play continuously, changing rhythmically.

‘Eskista fitness’ – the name coined for this innovative exercise trend in Addis Ababa.

As the beats shift, so do the moves—it’s neither customary dance nor modern workout, but a fusion of both. The budding trend has combined traditional dancing moves with sport techniques, incorporating moves from all ethnic groups in Ethiopia within this context.

Founder Efrem Mekonnen discovered a winning formula: blending classic cultural dances with modern exercise routines to music everyone loves.

“When traditional Ethiopian dance is blended with scientific physical exercise, it greatly helps to alleviate mental stress. When people listen to music they know well and do physical exercise at the same time, they become highly energized to do so passionately,” says Efrem Mekonnen, founder of Ethio Eskista Fitness.

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This hybrid “Eskista fitness” trend is even attracting pre-wedding crowds looking to stay in shape for the big day. Beyond packages for brides and grooms, the centers also offer children’s programs and dietary guidance.

After working as a dancer and choreographer for 14 years, Efrem established the center initially in Adama town five years ago. But two years ago, he expanded to Addis Ababa, having witnessed high demand.

Currently, Ethio Eskista fitness center has three branches in Addis Ababa around Piassa, Bole, and CMC area. Over 500 men and women are enrolled in Eskista sport.

The CMC branch charges 3,500 birr per month, while the Adama branch is 1,000 birr per month. The price is higher for the Addis Ababa branches mainly

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