By Hollie James Grace –
In the 2017-2018 season, a whopping 13.79 million people made the pilgrimage to the coveted heartland in New York City where live Broadway attendance is at an all-time high. And this love of musicals isn’t just limited to the Big Apple. The all-inclusive, captivating, heartwarming stories are beloved by millions across the world – whether streamed from televisions, blasted from speakers, or taken in live at the local community theatre. Laura Allardyce and Dani Corbishley have taken their deep passion and commitment to the world of dancing feet and jazz hands and transformed their love into Broadway Workout, a business that brings the community together to snap, sweat, and sashay to a playlist of all-time favourite tunes.
Last year Laura, a federal government employee by day and a diehard musical theatre enthusiast the rest of the time, auditioned for the Orpheus production of Mamma Mia. “There was a dance component. We all worked up a sweat, and time flew by,” she recalls. She wondered: “Why can’t this be my cardio class?” After sending out a message proclaiming her interest in this newfound idea, she simply left fate in the hands of the social media gods. Dani Corbishley, a pyrography artist, trained dancer and choreographer with Suzart Productions, was urged by her daughter (who will also be trying her hand at choreographing a few upcoming classes) to respond. And low and behold, she was the perfect fit.
“By bringing the creativity and energy, the biggest part of the formula, [Dani] makes this work,” Laura boasts of her now close friend and class instructor and choreographer.
In order to gauge a level of interest, Broadway Workout hosted a proof of concept class on December 13, 2018, and CBC News quickly picked up the story. Interest grew, and three weeks later they had sold out the first couple of classes for the winter session. After continued success in attendance and response, Laura and Dani have secured five locations for the upcoming 10-week spring session, which includes the Hintonburg Community Centre.
Eager and energetic attendees can look forward to an hour-long timeslot once per week where they get the opportunity to learn, perfect, and perform a brand new dance number to popular Broadway tunes. For example, a recent class featured “Holding Out for a Hero” from the cultural touchstone, Footloose.
The emphasis of this dance-based fitness class is not on nailing every single move – that’s not even on the radar. “Our ultimate goal is getting your heart rate up, moving your body, sweating your butt off, all the while forgetting that you’re getting this workout,” says Laura while nibbling on a fudge square brought by an attendee. (This group is so much more than a workout class – it’s a community, where they do those kinds of things.)
Dani’s blended family was brought together through community family musical theatre and both Laura and Dani pride themselves on their knowledge and love of the craft. Reminiscing on the time an attendee proclaimed: “no one has ever asked me to bring out my inner Simba before!” Dani explains that movement is actually secondary to enjoyment. She embraces the difference that comes with choreographing for a range of experience, from those who pick up the steps with ease to the “dansically challenged.” She includes steps she wouldn’t necessarily use if she were working on stage choreography. What’s more, she’s come across some interesting movements she wouldn’t necessarily have discovered otherwise.
Laura and Dani emphasize the whole point of the Broadway workout is to come out and have fun, regardless of fitness level or dance experience. So the next time you’re tempted to break out into the jazziest dance from your favorite Broadway musical, you know where to go to turn that daydream into a well-choreographed reality.
For more information, go to Broadway Workout’s Facebook page at facebook.com/BroadwayWorkout.
*This feature is brought to you in part by Back on Track Physiotherapy and Health Centres.