Health & Fitness

By Leslie Rice Hart

John Paolillo a.k.a. “Johnnie P.” is a trained and accomplished performer with a background in many forms of dance including Jazz, Modern, Funk, Tap, Hip-Hop and Musical Theater. He is an amazing Choreographer who has been choreographing for stage and musical theater for over 15 years.

Whether he is teaching Kelly and Regis to dance like Ginger and Fred or shakin’ it on the red carpet with Joan Rivers, you can view Johnnie P’s “bumps and grinds” (don’t get worried, I’m just talking about his dance steps) as house choreographer for the extremely popular morning talk show Live! With Regis and Kelly. When he’s not boppin’ on the set of Live! He is staying extremely busy with his other projects.

Johnnie P. can add writer to the list of his talents, as well. He has written and choreographed an original musical lbs. (yes that is pounds, as in weight, if you were wondering) collaborating with accomplished composer/lyricist, Rosalinde Block. lbs. “The Musical with a lot of weight behind it.” Is (without sounding too cliché) very near and dear to his heart.

Lbs. was inspired by his own life experiences of being an overweight dancer, in a world where the stereotypical dancer body is long and lean, and the prejudices that come along with it. Though the musical is a comedy, it hits on truths about our society and how “fat” is so negatively perceived.
Johnnie P. declares, “Big is beautiful and fat girls(and guys) can dance!” “I’d like to take middle America back to dancing no matter what their size.”

His experiences are also that which inspired him and media director for New York Sports Club, Lisa Hufcut, to create the hugely popular and successful Broadway Series group exercise class. The Broadway Series takes songs and choreography from popular musicals currently on Broadway and creates a fun and challenging exercise experience around it. Musicals such as All Shook Up and the most recent Sweet Charity have been featured in the past classes. The Broadway Series is offered exclusively at Broadway locations (of course) of New York Sports Clubs.

Those of you who think exercise classes are repetitive and boring haven’t met “Johnnie P.” First of all his genuine warmth and boundless energy made me want to try any class he taught.

His Broadway series has been a huge hit and a favorite of New York Sports Club members.
It’s filled with a broad demographic of ages, sizes, shapes and fitness levels.

Johnnie P.’s loyal fans can’t seem to get enough of this dynamo and his movin’ and groovin’. Rebecca who is a 31 year old attorney gleefully exclaims, “These classes make me feel so good. I work a 9 to 5 as a lawyer, but at 6:30 I’m feeling like a Broadway star. All I’m missing is a Tony award.” This kind of comment is what the majority of participants say when asked about Johnnie P’s classes.

Katie who is 26 years old chimes in with, “It’s a class unlike any other, you get the cardio workout of an aerobic class, yet choreography from a dance class.” The only complaint among his students is that this is a special series and not an on going class. Johnnie P. has a following and when one series is over and the next one hasn’t begun yet his “groupies” have withdrawals.

Lisa a 39 yr old adds “One hour is just not enough. Although I was sweating like I’ve never sweat before I wish we could have gone longer, at least Johnnie P. made me feel I could have!”

You might be thinking a Broadway dance class with show tunes, pleeeaase. That’s not for me. You’d be wrong. This class is for everybody. It is a fantastic workout for all levels. The hour speeds by and you’ll get one of the best workouts without counting the minutes until the torture is over.
Richard, 22, says, “It’s one of the harder workouts, up there with kick boxing and step drills, just a lot more fun.”

Peggie 42, happily admits, “the only thing that can make this “old fart” move is Johnnie P. and Broadway music. You put those two together and you have a class unlike any other class in NYC.”

The class is unique and different every time you attend it so as Adam age 19 explains, “there are no words to describe this class to give it justice. This is a class you have to experience for yourself.” You’ll be glad you did.

Whether you’re taking his Broadway series or one of his other group exercise classes at NYSC, Reebok or Equinox you’ll get a kick, (and possibly a ball change, too) from the “Johnnie P.” experience.

You can get more information on or contact him at http://www.JohnnieP.com.

Go to http://www.nysc.com for class locations and times for the Broadway series and other group exercises classes.

Originally published December 2005
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