Push-Ups Get Political: Obamaerobics

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.

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7 Responses to Push-Ups Get Political: Obamaerobics

  1. moniqueth3intern says:

    Wow! Mixing politics with aerobics, I thought the idea was to encourage people to like politics, not make them dislike it more.

  2. Doug Fox says:

    Class sounds fun – are their upcoming classes? I followed links but can’t figure out.


  3. Evan says:

    Hey Doug,

    The next class will be in August, but there’s no definite date yet. I’ll let you know when I hear anything. You can also join the mailing list by emailing obamaerobics(at)gmail(dot)com.

  4. Allison says:

    You went! Good girl. I am proud.

  5. Pingback: The Eurythmics Table Dance « Dancing Perfectly Free

  6. I’m so sad I couldn’t make it – fingers crossed I will get to the August session (though I have to admit, good music and all, the thought of an aerobics class is mildly terrifying).

    Evan, I would love to hear more about how it felt like a performance. Your comment made me think about Chase Granoff’s recent Studio Show at DTW, which I blogged about here: http://blogs.wnyc.org/culturist/2008/06/04/knockoff/ … and how wildly the performance dynamic was changed by being able to occupy the space any way we wanted to as audience members, and to talk to the performers themselves (a couple of whom said they didn’t actually feel like they were performing).

    did you feel like you were part of a show, or an observer of a performance, or something else entirely?


  7. essie says:

    next class is TONIGHT @ soho dance, 6:30 pm!

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