This is fitness class as interactive performance art. Richard Simmons—yes, we’re talking Simmons of Sweatin’ to the Oldies—shows up as anything from the fifth member of KISS to a glam aerobics version of Black Swan and greets each and every devotee of his crazy-haired genius with an individual smile, hug, pat on the ass or wickedly inappropriate comment. He is all sincerity and mega-watt excitement. The ready-to-sweat audience—who lines up an hour before class to ensure a spot in the packed studio—encompasses all types, from super-fit college students to gray-haired grannies and chair-sitting regulars who punch and shimmy with the best of them. Everyone in the studio attacks the complex aerobics combinations and serious dance moves with enthusiasm, and once the class is over, there’s a general stampede to take photos with Simmons, who patiently vamps for each and every person. Slimmons is open all week, but Simmons himself teaches on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays when he’s in town.
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