Walking into a dance studio in Los Angeles can often feel like you just stumbled onto the set of Fame. Everyone’s got their leg warmers, jazz shoes and sexily sporty dance pants. Choreography seems to blow by at a breakneck pace, but your fellow classmates are busting moves like they’re in a Janet Jackson video. Looking around, suddenly you realize that most of them have toured with Justin Timberlake or are a member of the Pussycat Dolls. And all you wanted was a little cardio.

Fear not, Your Neighborhood Studio is here to give you the dance experience you’re looking for without the intimidation factor. Housed across from Smashbox Studios in the former home of Debbie Allen Dance Academy, the studio is welcoming and non-judgmental. Students run the gamut across the board, from age to skill to body type, all compelled by the studio’s motto, “When in doubt – dance.”

Owner Denise Mazan offers a wide range of diverse classes that include the traditional end of the spectrum along with ballet, contemporary jazz, hip-hop and modern dance, as well as intriguing offerings like jazzy burlesque, street tap, Bollywood and strip hop.

One of the studio’s most popular classes is Booiaka (pronounced: boo-ya-cah). Created and taught by Tatiana Tamai, who prefers to be called Tatiana or Tati, the class is offered throughout the week, but gets its biggest crowd on Saturday morning at 9:30 a.m. You know it’s good if people are rolling out of bed that early on a weekend to sweat.

Asked what makes such an early class so popular, Tatiana beams and says, “The energy of the people. This is a family studio. It’s not one of those [places] where you come in and people look at you from bottom to top,” her lovely Italian accent reversing the words in a charming way.

She goes on to explain that she created Booiaka as a method to incorporate dance and fitness in a way that was grounded in choreography but would still be a major cardio workout. By combining hip-hop, Reggaeton, Brazilian and African dance, she builds a 50-minute non-stop dance routine. While there’s no one move she relies on, there does seem to be an essential element to getting down in Tatiana’s class.

“Booiaka is about, you know, shaking,” she laughs. “There’s a lot of chest and pumping movement. That is a favorite. You work on your hips, you squat a lot, but my point is more mental than physical. Sometimes, especially when people aren’t dancers, they don’t let go, they are not confident. That’s where I try to push them. No matter if you’re a great dancer or not, everybody can move. We all have a body. That’s the goal.”

The class is broken down so that even the most novice rump shaker feels comfortable. What initially appears to be a simple warm-up is actually the beginning of Tatiana’s choreography. Through heavy repetition, she builds a routine, step by step, taking care to ensure the class has each component before building upon it.

“Music is the key,” Tatiana enthuses. “I’m a hip-hop lover, but I use a lot of Brazilian style with a drum beat. That’s what makes people enthusiastic. My class starts slow and then it grows and speeds up.”

Proving just how convivial Your Neighborhood Studio is, the Booiaka class has grown into a community that has events like pizza night together.

With a slew of regulars and an every growing fan base, Tatiana says, “The satisfaction I get is people saying, ‘I didn’t know I could shake it like that.’”

Those Janet Jackson dancers better watch out.

For more information, call (310) 876-3498 or visit yourneighborhoodstudio.com.