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DiabetesSisters hosted its first program of 2019 on January 11th: New Year, New You: Hip Hop Fit with Gene Hicks in Woodridge, IL. A group of over 50 participants listened to guest speakers Samantha Doty, RD, LDN, CDE, CCP and Amanda Przybyla, RDN, LDN, CCP, from Livongo, speak about the value of physical activity and its relationship to blood sugar management before  enjoying an exercise dance session.

DiabetesSisters recognizes and appreciates the support of AstraZeneca, Janssen, Livongo, Novo Nordisk, and the Boehringer Ingelheim-Lilly Alliance as sponsors of Minority Initiative programs. 

Hip Hop Fit with Gene Hicks


A new Bolingbrook business is dancing to the beat! Kate Ryan and Gene Hicks officially opened Hip Hop Fit with Gene Hicks on February 10, 2016. For the past six years, Gene had been teaching his exclusive Hip Hop Fit classes at area gyms and built up a loyal following. It was rewarding for him to watch people reach their fitness goals and transform their lives from the workout he created. The positive feedback and support from clients gave the couple encouragement to start their own studio and bring Hip Hop Fit to a larger audience.


Hip Hop Fit classes are easy-to-follow, dance based workouts. The studio offers Hip Hop workouts in 60 minute sessions, six days per week. They also offer martial arts based classes and are planning to add a Latin Fusion class. Additional workout formats will be added as the studio expands. Kate said, “Gene’s Hip Hop Fit workouts are exciting and challenging, yet anyone at any ability level can enjoy success in the class because he makes the moves so simple and easy to follow.” She explained that Gene also brings high-energy to his classes to create a fun, party-like workout.


Participants must be ages 14 and up for Hip Hop Fit classes. However, children of all ages are welcome at Kickboxing and Family Hip Hop Fit classes. Clients may purchase a a month-to-month membership or simply pay a drop-in rate as they attend a class.


A ribbon cutting ceremony was held by the Bolingbrook Area Chamber of Commerce on April 26, 2016 at the studio. The guests in attendance admired the large studio space that is available for classes.


While in the planning stages for their business, they reached out to the Illinois Small Business Development Center at Joliet Junior College for assistance with their start-up. They consulted with Michael McClinton, SBDC business advisor, to receive guidance with developing a business plan.


Kate said, “Michael helped us to finish up our business plan by providing excellent feedback. He also helped connect us with ACCION Chicago and prepared us to be ready for the process of applying for a start-up loan with them.” She added, “He was there with us from the beginning and supported us throughout the startup process by always being available to answer questions and give insightful feedback.”


Hip Hop Fit with Gene Hicks is located at 526 East Boughton Road in Bolingbrook, Illinois. For more information and a class schedule, call (630) 312-8732 or visit their website at:


Mike said, “The success of Hip Hop Fit is proof that dreams do come true with hard work, dedication and continued encouragement.” He continued, “Gene and Kate are a great team and I see nothing but success in their future.”


The Illinois SBDC at JJC offers consultations, resources and seminars to assist entrepreneurs with the start-up or expansion of their business. To learn more about the Illinois SBDC at JJC call (815) 280-1400 or email


The Illinois SBDC at JJC is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Department of Commerce and Economic Development, and Joliet Junior College.

Professor to Host Dance Night

Roslyn Summerville, Public Relations Editor
Barbara Kaluzny, Contributor

Bored and don’t know what to do?

Sick and tired of doing homework?

Or maybe you just want to get out there and meet some new people.

Well, if any of those apply to you, then you should head on over to the D’Arcy Great Room on Wednesday, Oct. 23 for a night of learning the cha-cha, just make sure to wear shoes with less traction for better spinning and twirling abilities. The event will be held from 7:30- 8:30 p.m.

Dr. George Miller, chair and professor to the philosophy department at Lewis University, has been hosting these dance nights on campus for the past few years.

The dance nights came about because Miller was taking dance classes in ballroom and hip hop.  He thought that the energy in his dance lesson room was great, and wanted to duplicate that experience for Lewis students.

The instructor who is going to teach the cha-cha is Norman Landrum, who has been a ballroom dance instructor for over 13 years. He runs a studio called Norm’s Dance Family, and teaches ballroom dance classes weekly at the Bolingbrook Park District.

This isn’t the first time Landrum has been invited to teach students at Lewis. Previously, he’s been here to teach the hustle, rumba, and the swing.

Miller thinks that it is important for students to partake in physical activity. He is known for having his students do physical activity before and during his classes because he has found “that studies have shown that students who exercise are actually better students.”

“I don’t think 20 year olds should be sitting around. I don’t think anybody should be sitting around for that matter,” Miller said. “I think that energy is better served doing something positive instead of negative.”

The room in De La Salle for the previous dance night, which was hip hop taught by Gene Hicks who produces, performs and hosts events all over the Midwest, was filled from wall to wall with students dancing for the hour. One of Miller’s students, junior biology major Ariel Colman, was there to experience all of the high energy.

“I liked the [hip hop] dance night a lot. It was a lot of fun going, and it gives people a chance to just relax and dance,” Colman said. “I will be going to the next one, and it definitely is something I recommend for people to do.”

Colman thought the dancing was a great way to get rid of the stress from studying. The dance night was just like she expected it to be, which she says was “fun and upbeat.”

“We have a lot of fun dancing in [Miller’s] class, so I wasn’t expecting anything less for hip hop night,” she said.

The next dance night is going to be held on Dec. 5, and it will be a ballroom and hip hop mix with Hicks making another appearance.