Last night I attended my second Obamaerobics class, an intense one-hour aerobic workout to support the Obama campaign. About 25 other people and I filled a studio at Soho Dance to support the cause. It definitely wasn’t the typical aerobics class of the 80s with bad music and even worse movement. Rather, it was a progressive, original class that was upbeat and actually fun to do. In fact, Obamaerobics has gotten quite a following: Photographers from a newspaper in Barcelona attended to cover the event; someone from WNYC was there recording parts of the class; and NY Times dance critic Claudia La Rocco, aka the Culturist, posted about it on her blog, which includes a video of Obamaerobics participants back in March doing push-ups to raise money for the Pennsylvania primary. With a catchy name like Obamaerobics (as well as phrases like “Barack your body”), good pop music, some peppy routines, and an energetic leader (Lana Wilson), the appeal of the class is evident.
It’s great to see people literally moving for political reasons. In La Rocco’s post, Wilson explained that the class fuses the personal and the political. I think it also fuses the political with a performance of sorts – both an individual and communal one. Many choreographers have created dances with political undertones (and in some cases, with obvious overtones – Bill T. Jones immediately comes to mind), and although Obamaerobics is much more straightforward about its purpose and is not intending to be concert dance, it still conveys how politically charged the moving body can be. And an aerobics class with other politically conscious people beats zoning out at the gym on the treadmill any day. Stay tuned for information about the next Obamaerobics class, which will be sometime in August.