Cardio dance queen Simone de la Rue hangs a shingle in West Chelsea
She’s been called the next Tracy Anderson. But Simone De La Rue, who does not mention her stint at Anderson Inc. in interviews or on her website (we just happen to know these things from her clients), says that after years of dancing—ballet to musical theater where she starred in Cats—she knows what it takes to whittle a waistline and meld muscle.
To some degree, De La Rue (probably a stage name) wants you to take her own physique for aspirational proof. Her fat-free, half-clad body doubles as marketing material on her website and throughout her West Chelsea boutique fitness studio called Body By Simone (BBS), which opened quietly at the end of last year. But she can teach you a thing or two.
The studio (or “body gallery,” as she calls it) is devoted to high-energy dance cardio classes (sold a la carte). They feature tiny hand-weights and dance choreography galore to get you into a size 2 dress. Another feature is De La Rue’s roster of celebs—Sandra Bullock, Anne Hathaway, and Grace Deniro, whose tinted-window cars idle outside.
What’s class like? Fun! “I’d get bored at the gym—I need to do something different everyday. So does your body,” says De La Rue. Warm-ups (sometimes on trampolines), plus arm-toning and ab-sculpting sequences, flank back-to-back dance cardio routines. They have “athletic rather than cute” names, like Marathoner. If you can get up to speed fast, the intensity gives way to a Zen-state of play.
Fortunately, De La Rue is more of a teacher than a dance-cardio diva. She and her instructors use verbal cues, so you have a (semi) chance of following along, if you’re not born with the “So You Think You Can Dance” gene. “After an hour, I was sweating profusely and my legs hurt for days after,” says Sarah Evans, a New York City PR maven. “I can’t wait to go back.”
Another reason you should know about Body By Simone? The classes cost $35 each, like a typical New York boutique fitness class, so you can pay as you go (ie: don’t have to commit $900-ish for the mysterious monthly membership structure at Tracy Anderson).
And except for the weekend classes that fill up, weekdays are a quieter affair, meaning you could have a giant mirrored studio with 20-foot ceilings to yourself and a dance buddy. It feels like working out at the Whitney.
And it was after such a weekday class that I passed Anne Hathaway in the waiting area, texting till her private with De La Rue kicked off. “What do you want to do today?” I heard De La Rue ask, in her cute Australian accent. “I haven’t worked out in almost two weeks,” said Hathaway, who’d been on the road. “Let’s kill it.” —Melisse Gelula
606 W. 26th St., at Eleventh Ave., West Chelsea, www.bodybysimone.com