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Home > remember aerobics

WHEN CRUNCH IN WEST HOLLYWOOD UNVEILED ITS CARDIO STRIPTEASE CLASS LAST month, the tearaway pants and feather boas probably didn't shock too many members. The gym, founded in New York in 1989, has long prided itself on taking cardiovascular activity to ethereal and salacious extremes. Donna Cyrus, Crunch's national group fitness director, receives pitches for new classes from directors at each of Crunch's 19 locations. "If it's too kooky, I pass on it," says Cyrus. Or not. In L.A., for instance, on a field trip to the Carreiro Circus Arts and Gymnastics Studio, "I found these Beverly Hills ladies with big rocks on their fingers flying through the air," Cyrus recalls, "and I said, `I gotta get that.'" Thus "Circus Sports" was born. "Sometimes after four to five weeks, the newness wears off," says Cyrus. "If we start seeing the attendance numbers drop, we'll drop a class." Here's a sampling of the more esoteric innovations that Crunch has introduced since it opened at Sunset and Crescent Heights in February 1997.

1997-1998

Gospel Moves Low-impact aerobics set to a live gospel choir.

Hypoxic Chamber Oxygen-deprived exercise room that simulates high-altitude conditions.

African Dance High- and low-impact aerobics accompanied by live drummers, focusing on traditional ethnic dance movements. Currently offered in a hybrid version as "Afro/Brazilian."

Netpulse Cycling machines that enable you to surf the Internet--as long as you keep pedaling.

1998-1999

Goddess Workout Body waves and belly-dancing moves courtesy of "native gypsy" Dolphina, accompanied by a live drummer and flutist.

Recess Hopscotch, Hula Hoops, jump ropes, obstacle courses, and a high-octane Simon Says, to relive the playground years.

Urban Rebounding Aerobics routines on a mini trampoline, to work the body "against constant gravitational pressure."

1999-2000

Circus Sports Trapeze, juggling, and acrobatics led by a circus trainer; classes conclude with the building of a human pyramid.

Cycle Karaoke The bike meets the mike as participants choose their favorite songs to croon between hyperventilating.

Chi Glow Cardio boxing and body sculpting, featuring glow sticks in black light.

2000-2001

Astro Ride Cycling while being pulled ineluctably on all sides by the "primary guiding planets." Taught by an astrologer, with "Stairway to Heaven" and "Rocket Man" as background music.

Attitude Adjustment Stretching and cool-down led by a live deejay, with guest speakers (comedians, hypnotists) who assist in "breaking down mental blocks and negative belief systems."

Cardio Striptease Grinding, gyrating, working the pole; the last 25 minutes involve taking it off--and they don't just mean pounds.

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