Wanna step outside?: Take a Broadway dance class in Brooklyn Bridge Park

Move to the music: James Martinelli, in red, will lead a weekly Broadway dance class in Brooklyn Bridge Park this summer, starting on May 21.
Brooklyn Paper
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Take a bow after this workout!

A Broadway dancer will lead a weekly series of heart-pumping jazz dance classes along the East River this summer, stepping to the sounds of the Great White Way. The “Broadway Dance” classes, starting on May 21 at Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier Two, will help to boost your flexibility as you learn some classic moves from Broadway’s Golden Age, said James Martinelli of Dodge YMCA, who will teach the classes.

“I’m 54 and I come from an era, it’s a dying breed, the jazz that I was taught back in the day,” said Martinelli, who lives in Brooklyn Heights. “The jazz that I studied no longer exists, so I teach a type of dance that I think is fabulous, very stylized, choreographed fun.”

Martinelli, who has performed on big stages both on and off Broadway, says that he is a sucker for old New York theater and its razzle-dazzle choreography, including the steps in “West Side Story” and “Chicago.” He would never turn down a chance to listen to the famed “Hamilton” soundtrack, but students should not expect that show’s hip-hop inspired steps, he said.

“I have to be honest with you, if I was given my choice I usually go for the very slick shows and old shows,” he said. “Don’t get me wrong, I can do the new ones — but maybe because of my age I gravitate more to the old ones.”

His “Broadway Dance” class — which also goes by the name Cardio Dance and Range of Movement — features a 10-minute warmup, 45 minutes of stepping and grooving to the music, and a five-minute cool-down period. It is such a good time that participants do not even realize, or care, that they are burning calories, said Martinelli, who also leads a “Retro Dance” class on Fridays.

“Everyone has a ball,” he said. “We have a good time. That’s really what it’s about — having people come out of their houses to do something physical and do some jazz.”

“Broadway Dance with Dodge YMCA” at Brooklyn Bridge Park (Pier 2 at Furman Street, Mondays, May 21–Sept. 3 at 10 am; no class May 28. Free.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Updated 5:44 pm, July 9, 2018
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