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May Dancer's Spotlight: Meet John

Each month we’ll be highlighting a new Dance Central fan in the Dancer’s Spotlight! These pieces will give us a chance to recognize some of our most dedicated and inspiring Dance Central community members, and give you a chance to meet your fellow dancers! We’ll talk with cosplayers, Fitness Challenge participants, artists, and more, so check back each month to see whose turn it is in the Spotlight.


Hello, my name is John Estrada, I am 43 year old Adult Probation Officer living in Brownsville, Texas. I am avid gamer who grew up with Atari to the games today. I own both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Long live gaming!

John Before John before his fitness journey.

Dance Central Origins

It started with me just wanting a game that made good use of the Kinect so I could play it with my niece and nephew. I read the reviews and it looked like a fun game to play with friends and family and it was. We would have a blast during family events like Christmas.


I weighed myself and was shocked how bad I had let myself go. When you see that scale read 460 it hits you like a ton of bricks that you have let yourself get so unhealthy that you may die if you continue down this path. I was very depressed and embarrassed about my weight. Simple things like getting on an airplane were stressful because I would have to ask for an extender just to put my seatbelt on. I knew I had to do something but gyms are not for me. Dance Central I had played before and knew I could at least do a few songs and every time in the past I had used it I was sweating. So I started with 4 songs in a row every day. In 3 months I was doing 22 songs in a row. What I realize now is that I stumbled on the perfect novice exercise game because of all the breaks the game gives like freestyle while doing a song and the time it takes to load the next song. For someone in terrible shape like me this was the best way to take baby steps and feel motivated to keep pushing myself with more and more songs. Once I was getting in better shape I started trying to actually get gold stars. When you do that you really start getting a good workout.

John After John now!

Other Fitness Tools

A good diet is a must and find one that works for you. Never starve yourself because you are going to need the energy to work out. I used the Dukan Diet and combing that with exercise was the best thing I have ever done. Once Dance Central had gotten me in sufficient shape I went out and bought a stationary bike. I started the same way I did Dance Central with baby steps like doing a few miles. Before long I was doing 30 miles a day on the bike. After a while I changed up to more intense cardio on the bike mixed with weight training with resistance bands and a medicine ball. To me, buying inexpensive tools that I can use indoors is the best method because you can’t use the weather as an excuse for not working out. As soon as I get home from work I go straight upstairs and start working out. I have a lot of the tracks from Dance Central playing while I work out as well.

Over Coming Obstacles

My setbacks were obvious due to my extreme weight. I would get back pain and neck pain. I went to the doctor just to make sure they were nothing serious and once I was assured I was ok, I just worked through the pain and used sports creams and aspirin as needed. It’s easy to give up because of pain but remember that sometimes the pain is from the weight and if you don’t push thru it you will always have it regardless of what you do. I do not suffer from any of those old pains now that I have lost the weight.

John Before John before his fitness journey.

Advice for Fellow Fitness Dancers

Go at your own pace! That’s why I do all my exercise at home. Intense workouts are great but if you start that way you may start to hate working out and give it up. Make sure you start with just enough to work up a sweat but don’t kill yourself. Remember you are trying to lose weight and that is a marathon not a sprint. Also, when I weighed myself back in April 2013, I did not weigh myself again till exactly a year later. Nothing discourages a person more than seeing that scale not move. I measured my success by fitting in clothes I had not worn in years. You take off inches a lot faster than pounds plus some exercises will add muscle which weighs more than fat. I went from waist 58 to waist 36 in a year. I was buying new clothes every month and that motivated me big time.

John After

Playlist Challenge

  • "Poker Face" -Lady Gaga (This is the perfect warm up song to get the blood flowing.)

  • "Super Freak" -Rick James (Unity! This song starts to move you a little more without being too hard.)

  • "I Gotta Feeling" -The Black Eyed Peas (Great song that starts off slow cardio wise and picks up in the middle.)

  • "Firework" -Katy Perry (Another example of a song that starts off slow and picks up in the middle. )

  • "Moves Like Jagger" -Maroon 5 (This song is just one of those songs you just want to dance to so I had to add it to my list.)

  • "On the Floor" -Jennifer Lopez ft. Pitbull (This song really gets the sweat going and the moves are not to rigorous. )

  • "Gangam Style" -PSY (I know this song has been done to death but from a weight loss perspective it’s the perfect cardio song. You will be out of breath and sweating after this one.)

  • "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)" -Kelly Clarkson (A good song to keep the heart rate up after the last one yet not as hard on you._

  • "Sexy and I Know It" -LMFAO (Time to pick up the cardio again and this song helps me do that.)

  • "OMG" -Usher (Great way to end a workout and use that last bit of energy you have been saving.)

Final Thoughts

I would just like to tell everyone who wants to lose weight to remember there is no magic pill or one way to get to your goal. Use what works for you. I was very lucky to have a very supportive wife who helped me this entire year. I really want to thank the people at Harmonix. I am sure when you created this game you did not think people would use it like this. You guys have helped me change my life for the better. For that I will be eternally grateful.

Check back with us the first week of each month to see who's turn it is in the Dancer's Spotlight! Think you know someone who deserves their moment? Drop us a line in the forums!