Photo credit: Paula Lobo/The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Watch for this at a museum or other hallowed cultural landmark near you. Because this is one of those ideas your groups will be clamoring for soon. At Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City’s High Temple of Culture, a pair of lithe ladies in sparkly cocktail dresses and sneakers stands at the ready. They are about to lead a group of 15 or so in The Museum Workout—”part performance, part workout, part art tour,” as NPR puts it.
Let’s let NPR do the play-by-play:
“A guy with a portable speaker stands nearby. He presses play, and with disco propelling us forward, we power walk, we punch the air, we daintily jog through the otherwise empty Met at 9 in the morning…We power through a hall of busts—some with heads, some headless—in the fastest tour of a museum you’ll ever take. Most of the workout is spent jogging past priceless, important artwork, but we do slow down a few times. We pause in front of John Singer Sargent’s ‘Madame X,’ a portrait of a beautiful, pale woman in a long black gown—and I can’t help but laugh.”
The outlandish routine was created by Monica Bill Barnes & Company, a New York City-based dance company “that brings dance where it does not belong,” as its website proclaims. After four weeks of sold-out Met workouts, their run was extended into November and December.
“It’s one of the most expansive spaces in New York City,” Monica Bill Barnes said to NPR. “And to be able to move through all the different galleries, and the rooms and the space that they’ve created felt like such an incredible opportunity.”
Yet it took more than two years for the dance troupe to get the Met board of directors to get on the workout wagon. “It’s really, ‘How many inches are you from that work?’” Barnes said. “That’s when we had to do a lot of good, careful conversations.”
Dance Spirit called The Museum Workout “a tour that leaves its audience-members-slash-participants both sweaty and inspired.”
We call it brilliant. Planners, rev your choreographers!