Thursday, March 25, 2010

Broadway Bodies: Dance 3, Looks 10

To even the most casual reader of my site, it’s pretty clear that I am a massive theater geek. Unfortunately, my theater geekiness stops short at being merely a fan of the performing arts, as my singing voice is no better than average, my acting abilities would probably only suit a David Mamet play (given my quick to anger temperament and my sailor’s vocabulary), and my dancing abilities are practically nil thanks to an inherent physical awkwardness and a love of carbs, candy, and chocolate. But I discovered a new class that not only allows me to be a theater geek, despite my lack of talents, but it also works to get my lazy ass in shape. Aces!

Broadway Bodies is a dance workout set to show tunes, including “Defying Gravity,” “Seasons of Love,” and “One (Singular Sensation).” Which probably sounds like one of the circles of hell to some people, but to us musical-loving freaks, it’s a perfect fit. There are a variety of classes on offer, including a basic core workout with a different theme each week, a Monday night class that focuses on the moves of Michael and Janet Jackson, and special programs, like the recent series that taught the entire choreography from Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” video (which I hear was, like, the best video of all time). There’s even a Broadway Bodies 101 class for newbies to learn the basic steps used before taking the plunge into a real class (and as a still quasi-newbie, I definitely recommend this primer, because the real classes move FAST!).

My main fear—and probably the main fear of any non-performer considering Broadway Bodies—was being in a class full of professional dancers and looking like a total fool. But the classes have a good blend of people, so there’s plenty of regular people (aka, not performers) just looking to have some fun with their fitness routine. Of course there are a handful of dancing divas in their tight bodysuits and dance shoes, but the majority are in shorts, t-shirts, and sneakers, clumsily, but gamely, following the instructor (all of which have been very kind and patient, so far).

The Broadway Bodies website lists their entire class schedule and allows you to reserve a space in the class(es) of your choice. Most classes don’t require a reservation and you can just drop in (the multi-part series classes being the exception), but each week there seems to be more and more people showing up, and with the dance studio space being limited, I wouldn’t be surprised if they have to move to reservations-only soon. Most classes are $15, and you can save a few bucks if you buy a multi-class card or one of their dance series. Hopefully once they’ve been around a bit long, Broadway Bodies will have a better payment system in place, as that’s the one area they’re really lacking in right now. You can pay with cash or a check when you arrive for a class, or you can pre-pay via PayPal. As one who hates carrying cash, hasn’t written a check since online banking was invented, and thinks PayPal is kind of shady, I’m looking forward to the day when I can tell Broadway Bodies to simply charge my credit card for a month’s worth of classes.

A quick warning before you sign up for a class: Broadway Bodies holds their classes in Chelsea Studios, which is a legit performing arts space with multiple studios, so rehearsals and auditions for any number of plays, musicals, and dance exhibitions may be going on at the same time as your class. So don’t be deterred if you enter the lobby and see a bunch of actual artists who seem to know what they’re doing. Just look for a group of average-looking people in sneakers and you’ve found Broadway Bodies.

*Disclaimer: In case it wasn’t obvious, Broadway Bodies is only available in NYC, so if you don’t live here, sorry you just read all that.

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