What is HyperBody? Is it a class? A person? Performance art? Is it, ultimately, for real?
The simple answer is that HyperBody is all of the above.
HyperBody, the fitness craze with the same name as its guru, combines dance aerobics, high-intensity interval training and a heavy dose of lasers, glow sticks and sweat-drenched theatrics. It seems to be the future as imagined by the 1980s, or maybe it's from outer space — some divine blend of Jane Fonda, Ziggy Stardust, Laurie Anderson and a "Blade Runner" replicant.
HyperBody classes feel particularly of the moment, falling somewhere between a workout and an avant-garde music video. Because if we're gonna work out anyway, why not make art — or something like it — from the experience?
You've heard of "staying in the present," but HyperBody is one step ahead: She wants her gym rats in the future.
Arrive a mere mortal and leave with your own hyper-body, transformed.
I attended HyperBody's nighttime fitness rave at Live Arts L.A. -- a stylish dance studio with a high, curved metal ceiling similiar to one in an airplane hangar.
Dressing up for class is encouraged, and a few of the dozen other attendees went all out. In addition to white accents chosen for the black light, I particularly admired the outfit of a woman who had accessorized with Pokemon knee socks and a sequined Michael Jackson glove.
Before class began, we stood around swaying under the disco lights as if at a junior prom. The atmosphere was friendly: Participants introduced themselves to one another and chatted with HyperBody herself, who donned a thong leotard bottom over her bike shorts.
She distributed luminous Styrofoam batons the weight and texture of a pool noodle. Glow sticks in tow, we gleefully took part in an easy-to-follow cheerleading routine that registered like a laser show in the mirrors.
The music ranged from '80s pop classics to reggaeton, all interspersed with sound effects, samples, remixes and original compositions by HyperBody.
The vocal gymnastics
HyperBody employs a voice filter that manipulates her verbal instruction over the speakers, at first deepening it into a hyper-masculine register and later raising it to a hyper-feminine one, not quite chipmunk level, but close.
The effect heightens not only the otherworldly HyperBody persona, but also the class itself.
By the time HyperBody announced that we'd be "burning calories overnight and becoming superhuman by the morning," I felt as if I'd been dosed. It's a pretty spectacular trip for a one-hour workout.
For all of the outrageous get-ups, lasers, atmosphere and theatrics, HyperBody knows what she's doing: Halfway through the class my shirt was drenched, but I was having so much fun I hardly noticed. Other than finding the glow sticks somewhat cumbersome during the abs portion of the workout (I dropped one on my face), the experience was seamless.
Moves ranged from a good old-fashioned Molly Ringwald kick to legitimate plyometrics (think 30 consecutive burpees). Wallflowers take heart – HyperBody teaches in a "follow-the-leader" style – you don't have to learn a routine or even cross the floor.
After a truly inspired workout, I left euphoric. The class' final number, an original track by HyperBody, felt like a call to arms. In its chorus, HyperBody has coined the workout mantra for the new millennium: "I'm not your boy / I'm not your girl / My sex is fitness."