Confessions of an Aerobics Instructor is Joana Simmons comedic cardio workout for your facial muscles and lungs without having to leave the comfort of your seat or break a sweat. Joana brings new meaning to push-ups and kettle bells in her vigorous and extremely energetic cabaret.
Joana is ‘Joy’ and she’s ‘got your back’ from the first five minutes of the ‘warm up’. Her ‘head banded’ curls bounce about her animated face and her toned muscles contract with ease in her strappy-spotted spandex top, short-shorts with pink leg warmers over fluorescent silver gym shoes. We’re about to take part in a simulation of a ‘step’ class from the 80s.
The mostly female audience beam gracious smiles as we don’t have to physically keep up with her ‘high knees’ and fist pumps as she steps up and down. Anyone who has attended an aerobics class would instantly recognise the bass beats and synthesizer from the Steve Winwood track Call On Me. Joy breaks into a Rap over the top and it’s obvious she has a lung capacity that’s off the charts!
We’ve survived the warm up yet feel exhausted from just watching her fast-paced choreography. Her demeanor changes when a voiceover announces the first Aerobic Instructor confession. Joy enacts each confession in song on her Instructors platform and among the ‘class’ (the audience), with the aid of a range of apparatus including an enormous ‘boom box’, large rubber fitness ball and a skipping rope.
Joy admits its not always easy having to be upbeat in her version of Five for Fighting’s, Superman or in this instance Superwoman. Her vocal range is remarkable post her spectacular strength poses on the rubber ball and gymnastic gyrations.
We are enlightened that Aerobic Instructors don’t ‘get paid to keep fit’; they need to train. She also explains it’s an occupational hazard to keep her energy at optimal levels. Joy reveals Instructors ‘diet faux pars’ as she hurriedly sips sports drink then a latte, and takes a swig of Gin between routines.
Then the Pointer Sisters track Jump, blares from the speakers during her training session. She reaches for a skipping rope and her skill rivals any Boxer.
She recruits a willing male participant from the audience. Joy skips continually and he is required to feed her a grape every time we hear the word ‘jump’ in the track. In true Instructor form, she insists he takes the stage and assumes skipping to which he receives a unanimous round of applause.
In keeping with the Speakeasy HQ vaudeville type of review, be prepared for the raunchy side of Aerobic Instructing, especially when Joy has a male participant in her class. The fitness ball and stretch-band become apparatus that stretch your imagination.
The confessions pop up when we least expect them and we’re privy to one of Joy’s darker admissions. Yes, fitness gurus do eat dessert! Joy is on a date with Jim from her gym and after the main course and gin; he surprises her with sticky-date pudding. She succumbs to her weakness atop the dining table in celebratory glitter filled song and dance.
Though the intimate venue boasts a variety of acts and bar tending expertise; Simmons did well to command the attention her performance deserved, amongst some moving audience members, staff, and the vocal merriment of patrons in the adjoining bar.
The exuberant collaboration from Joana Simmons and Elizabeth Dawson Smith is a funny and ‘breathless’ insight into the fitness industry. Confessions of an Aerobics Instructor is a light-hearted and informative show that will forever change your idea of Group Fitness and exercise fads.