RETROCISING ; Nostalgia for the Eighties Isn't Confined to Skinny Jeans and Legwarmers, as Esther Walker Found at a New London Dance Studio
Walker, Esther, The Evening Standard (London, England)
IT ALL started with Eric Prydz. In 2004, the Swedish DJ made an outrageous, semi-pornographic music video for his dance single Call on Me. Set in an Eightiesstyle aerobics class, it was filled with shaggy-haired Jane Fonda lookalikes dressed in shiny G-string leotards and legwarmers. The message was clear: the Eighties were back and they were sexy.
Since then, leggings, legwarmers, porkpie hats, plastic earrings and skinny jeans have become de rigueur fashion statements on London's streets. You can barely buy a T-shirt that doesn't hang off one shoulder and isn't spattered with neon. Now you can exercise like it's 1985, too.
Frame dance and fitness studio in Shoreditch, set up seven months ago, has spotted a gap in the market for "retro-exercising" or "retrocising". It has four nostalgia-inspired classes: Dirty Dancing, Eighties aerobics, Jane Fonda Tribute and Rebounding (that's working out using a minitrampoline to you and me).
Joan Murphy, co-founder of Frame, believes that gyms could be more imaginative. "Most gyms will have classes like Body Pump or Legs, Bums and Tums, which is all fine but a bit uninspiring. Our feeling with our nostalgic workout classes is that they should be fun, so that you get a workout while not really noticing it; that's the whole point of retrocising -- that it should be fun and you don't have to take it too seriously."
Jane Fonda's Workout video was released in 1982 and sold 17 million copies, more than any other home entertainment video to date. It prompted people who didn't have one of the then-new VCRs to buy one.
Coining the phrases "feel the burn" and "no pain, no gain", Fonda and her ethos fitted in perfectly with both the decade's fitness craze and brutal, "lunch is for wimps" posturing. The Jane Fonda Tribute class I attend at Frame, on a chilly Tuesday night, is packed out with twentysomethings dancing in legwarmers to Girls Just Wanna Have Fun and the Fame theme tune.
The routines have been modernised to cut the over-stretching and bouncing recommended by Fonda but now known to be not that great for you. Other than that, it's a classic Fonda workout. Anyone born in 1980 or earlier will recognise the moves from Diana "Green Goddess" Moran's exercise slot on BBC 1's Breakfast Time, which ran from 1983 to 1987.
There's a lot of stretching over to one side with one arm over your head and lying on your back, cycling your legs in the air. It's totally brilliant -- and fun. The next day I can definitely feel the burn, so it must have done something right.
If I lived or worked a bit closer …
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Article title: RETROCISING ; Nostalgia for the Eighties Isn't Confined to Skinny Jeans and Legwarmers, as Esther Walker Found at a New London Dance Studio. Contributors: Walker, Esther - Author. Newspaper title: The Evening Standard (London, England). Publication date: October 28, 2009. Page number: 29. © Not available. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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