Barry's Broadway Bootcamp Will Kick Your Butt
When Barry's Bootcamp reached out to me a few weeks ago about trying one of the fitness studio's "Broadway Bootcamp" classes, I was all over it.
I edit the Fitness section of Dance Spirit, and I'm always looking to try trendy new workouts (so I can share them with you, of course). Barry's Bootcamp has been around for a while now and it's especially popular in L.A. The NYC location opened last summer and was an instant hot spot.
But you knew that already, right? Because, like me, you keep up with those Kardashians.
Yes, Barry's Bootcamp is where Kim tones that perky, famous tush of hers.
The slogan at Barry's is "The Best Workout in the World."
So was it?
I put on my finest Lululemon in order to find out.
When I walked into the studio, I was warmly greeted by Craig Ramsay, my instructor (though a more accurate title might be Butt Kicker).
Craig's first words were, "My God, you're fit!"
I was flattered—but skeptical. I'm a runner, not a Broadway star, and I wasn't sure my high-mileage skills would translate to this class.
Craig—who is a Broadway performer and celebrity trainer—gave me a tour of the studio and let me peek into one of the ongoing classes. I saw a room packed with sweaty people, sprinting faster than I thought possible on a row of treadmills.
Craig explained to me that his class is basically a twist on the traditional Barry's class. Most classes revolve around drills on a treadmill—burst of sprints, hill climbs and shuffling sideways—as well as floor exercises, which include a focus on arms, abs, legs or, my favorite, butts, depending on which class you've signed up for. But Craig's class is made super-safe for dancers, which I loved. He told me that we wouldn't be "sprinting that fast," and that he'd be incorporating tips throughout the class on how to stay safe and how to utilize each exercise in your dance life. Again, loved it.
Not only did Craig seem to have a ton of knowledge, but he has the credentials to back it up: He trained at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, and then went on to land Broadway roles in Mamma Mia!, Fiddler on the Roof, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Cats and more. Dancers, singers and actors love training with him (I know because the girls in the locker room after class told me so) and he's a celebrity trainer on Bravo's show Thintervention.
OK, but how was the class?
It was so fun! And it was a killer workout.
The class lasted an hour and it flew by because we were constantly moving. We started on the treadmills and did intervals on an incline and a flat sprint. I was sweaty within minutes. I'm a big fan of sweat.
After 15–20 minutes (I wasn't counting) on the treadmills, we moved to the floor. Today's class focus was on arms, so we used dumbbells to do bicep curls, tricep kick-backs and other slow, controlled arm movements. Craig was always reminding us to breathe and keep our cores tight. Total body workout? Totally.
When the first floor set was complete, we hopped back on the treadmills, and then went back to the floor again for a medicine ball section. My abs were feeling the burn. After one last treadmill round, it was time for stretching and a cool-down—the best part!
Overall, I had a great time at Barry's Bootcamp today. I loved that the class was packed with dancers and Broadway stars (um, seriously—I got a kick out of people watching during the stretching portion at the end) and Craig's energy made me want to work really hard. He was really aware of anyone with injuries or special needs, and he was the kind of motivator you want to take class from and then hang out with afterward.
Which I did, by the way. We hung out and I picked his brain and he has all sorts of cool dancey things planned for the very near future. Stay tuned. I'll tell you more about them.
So Barry's, thanks for the butt-kicking sweat session this morning. I'll be back! Let Kim Kardashian know that I'm ready for a squat competition.
Much of Janelle Ginestra's career has been about helping others shine. She's dedicated herself to supporting and cheerleading her partner, WilldaBeast Adams; the emerging talents in their dance company, ImmaBEAST; and the countless dancers she inspires at master classes and conventions. Her YouTube channel has become a launching pad for young talents like "Fraternal Twins" Larsen Thompson and Taylor Hatala, thanks to viral videos featuring Ginestra's creative vision.
But Ginestra's a skyrocketing success in her own right—an in-demand choreographer, a social media influencer, and a dance entrepreneur, building a legacy one eight-count at a time. It's time for her turn in the spotlight. And she's more than ready. "I want to be a legend in whatever I do," she says. We'd argue that she already is.
Daphne Lee is a queen, and not just in the "OMG Girl Boss Alert" sense of the word. She's an actual queen—a beauty queen. Crowned Miss Black USA in August, she's been doing double duty as she continues to dance with the Memphis based dance company, Collage Dance Collective. Lee's new title has given her the means to encourage other black girls and boys to pursue their dreams, while also pursuing dreams of her own. The scholarship money awarded with the pageant title will assist her as she earns a Masters of Fine Arts degree at Hollins University.
When a choreographer finds a composer whose music truly inspires her, it can feel like a match made in dance heaven. Some choreographers work with the same composers so frequently that they become known for their partnerships. New York City Ballet soloist and resident choreographer Justin Peck, for example, has tapped composer Sufjan Stevens numerous times (last spring, the two premiered The Decalogue at NYCB, to rave reviews); L.A. Dance Project's Benjamin Millepied's working relationship with composer Nico Muhly has spanned a decade and two continents; and when tap dancer Michelle Dorrance premiered the first-ever Works & Process Rotunda Project, a site-specific work for New York City's Guggenheim Museum, last year, percussionist Nicholas Van Young was by her side as an equal partner. Successful collaborations require compatibility between artists, direct and honest communication, and flexible, open minds. But when the stars align, working with a composer can be extremely rewarding.
For ballerinas, it's the dream role to end all dream roles: Odette/Odile in Swan Lake, the type of part dancers spend years preparing for and whole careers perfecting. And it's a role that New York City Ballet principal Tiler Peck never thought she'd dance. Though Peck is one of the world's preeminent ballerinas, her short stature made Odette/Odile, typically performed by longer, leggier dancers, seem (almost literally) out of reach.
Then—surprise!—her name popped up on the cast list for NYCB's fall season run of Swan Lake.
Lani Dickinson's power, grace, and raw presence make her a standout with AXIS Dance Company, whose mission is to change the face of dance and disability by featuring a mix of disabled and non-disabled performers. Born in China, Dickinson was adopted by an American couple and started dancing at 8 in Towson, MD. She attended the Boston Ballet School for two summers, studied at the Idyllwild Arts Academy for the last two years of high school, and graduated with a dance degree from Alonzo King LINES Ballet's BFA program with Dominican University of California. In 2015, she joined AXIS and won a Princess Grace Award. Catch her this month during AXIS Dance Company's 30th-anniversary season—and read on for The Dirt!