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The Most Exclusive Workout In New York City Isn’t At A Gym

Get your he(art) pumping while enjoying priceless art

When the Metropolitan Museum of Art approached Monica Bill Barnes’ dance company, Monica Bill Barnes & Company, to choreograph a dance for the enjoyment of fine art enthusiasts, Barnes made a counteroffer to create a part-workout, part-museum tour. And so, the Museum Workout was born. Commissioned by MetLiveArts, the Museum Workout is a new and unique way to experience the museum—not to mention the art it contains.

Dressed in sequined dresses and gray sneakers, Monica Bill Barnes and her dance partner, Anna Bass, guide groups through a choreographed routine through the grand halls of the Met. The workout starts at 9 a.m.—before the Met opens its doors to the public—so, the museum is still and silent until a suited man with a MacBook starts a recording by Robbie Saenz de Viteri. Viteri’s recorded voice and a mix of disco and Motown tracks disrupt the tranquility and mark the start of the 45-minute routine that spans 2 miles. The two dancers lead participants who follow suit, mimicking Barnes and Bass as they lunge, jog, jump, stretch, and squat their way through the empty museum.

The man holding the MacBook follows briskly. It’s quite a scene as raised eyebrows, giggles, and side eyes from museum security will confirm—but that’s the point. “There’s something that I feel like happens when you can laugh at yourself,” Barnes explains to NPR. “When you can laugh at a situation that literally lightens the mood, but also opens you up to experience things differently.”

The program started on January 19 and will run through March 9. And with tickets ranging from $40 to $75 per class, it’s not necessarily cheap to exercise amongst one of the biggest collections of priceless art. However, the price hasn’t deterred art and fitness lovers. Classes are already sold out through the end of the program.

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