Although dancers are well aware of the many benefits of cross-training, most would probably still rather spend an hour in their favorite dance class than mindlessly jogging on a treadmill. But what if working out had the exact same thrill as the moment you step onstage?
Emily Winnie, courtesy Corella
Dancer and choreographer Joseph Corella had a mission: to combine the showstopping, electric energy of Broadway with cardio fitness. Ultimately, he created 567Broadway! A New Musical Workout, an all-levels workout set to Broadway hits. "As a dancer, you have to be physical, so fitness is already a big part of your training," he says.
Corella's dance career took off at age 13, when he became a member of Marguerite Derricks' Tremaine Teen Company. He later debuted on Broadway in All Shook Up, and went on to tour in productions of Grease and West Side Story. After living in NYC for over seven years, Corella left the East Coast for L.A., a city known for its boutique fitness industry. "L.A. is very health-centric, but it can get competitive and exclusive," he says. "By creating 567Broadway!, I was able to really start to build a community there, which is what musical theater is all about. It's not exclusive; it's for everyone."
Corella first started teaching 567Broadway! about six years ago in dance studios around L.A., including Edge Performing Arts Center, and recently released a digital version of the live class that can be accessed anywhere. The high-energy class combines cardio training, dance, and toning moves, but the driving force of the workout, according to Corella, is definitely the music.
"Broadway music has always been essential in my life. The songs are so powerful and uplifting, which makes working out much more fun," he says. From choreographed squats to Legally Blonde: The Musical's "Bend and Snap" to a pony-filled rendition of Hairspray's "You Can't Stop the Beat," Corella aims for the class to be equal parts performance and workout. "When you're performing eight shows a week on Broadway, you've got to give it 100 percent. I love to use a lot of theater lingo to inspire people during the workout," he says.
It's no surprise that Pitch Perfect and upcoming Cats film star Rebel Wilson quickly caught on to the trend. Wilson's friend enlisted Corella to do a private 567Broadway! Cats-themed class for her birthday. "Rebel immediately got what 567Broadway! was about—having fun, getting crazy, and letting go," Corella says.
Corella says that 567Broadway! has been a way for performers, including himself, to recharge in the often high-pressure dance industry. "Finding ways to practice self-care as a professional dancer is really important and requires a lot of self-examination," he says. He also aims for the program to encourage those outside of the dance world to have a greater appreciation for the arts. "I want to show what the arts, movement, and community can do," he says. "This isn't just jazz hands—there's a powerful message behind it of joining people together and taking care of ourselves. Broadway really helps improve people's lives."