Kirsten Luce for The New York Times
IN a former art gallery in westernmost Chelsea, a Broadway dancer named Simone De La Rue is selling what may be New York’s most highly coveted sculpture: long, lean muscles.
With her breakneck-pace cardio dance routines, Ms. De La Rue has chiseled the bodies of Sandra Bullock and Anne Hathaway as well as a sisterhood of sylphs so devoted that it can take weeks for a newcomer to snag a $ 175 private appointment.
Her seven-month-old “body gallery,” as she calls her 3,000-square-foot space, also offers daily $ 35 group classes, which she herself teaches on the rare Saturdays she is not with a client on a set. (She drops casual references to nondisclosure agreements and says she only names clients already outed by paparazzi.)
She is at work on a DVD to be released next month, a book to be published by Penguin and a line of exercise clothing — and the 2013 opening of a West Hollywood outpost.
If it all sounds a little intense, Ms. De La Rue (not a stage name) and her fitness philosophy are anything but.
“It’s not about doing the steps perfectly — it’s just about keeping moving,” said Ms. De La Rue, 37, a sunny Australian blonde who jokingly calls herself “bicoastal Barbie.” Halfway through teaching her second class of the day on a recent Saturday, dressed in purple Nike capri pants and a neon yellow tank top, she hopscotches, shimmies and leaps with the exuberance of a high-spirited high school girl spontaneously breaking into a dance at the mall. She sprinkles her instructions with “darlings” and doles out sweaty hugs.
As for her 20 routines, which are mostly 1970s dance aerobics on speed (minus leg warmers but with Beyoncé-esque booty-shaking), “I’m not claiming I’ve invented anything new,” said Ms. De La Rue, who is a classically trained ballerina. “What I am claiming is that the environment I’m creating is special: that people come in here and they feel like they’re dancing with their girlfriends.”
She certainly feels that way. Her staff is “all my Australian dancer friends” and her “best friend Lucy” (Matt Damon’s wife, Luciana Barroso) is “here all the time.”
Ms. De La Rue, who danced in “Promises, Promises” on Broadway in 2010, freely admits to “ripping off Jane Fonda — bless her, she was onto something.” She is considerably less open about her debt to her former boss Tracy Anderson, perhaps best known as Gwyneth Paltrow’s trainer, with whom she is engaged in a bitter (super-toned) arms race.
Ms. De La Rue’s biography does not mention her apprenticeship at the House of Anderson, in whose TriBeCa lair Beyoncé and Kate Hudson have danced. She refers to it obliquely in interviews, saying that she would never charge $ 900 a month (the cost of membership at the gym Ms. Anderson owns with Ms. Paltrow) and that her experience taught her “to treat your staff how you want to be treated.” Asked how she landed her first high-profile client, Ms. De La Rue said she “fell in with a good crowd” when she moved to New York in 2006. But when pressed, she said that Ms. Anderson (for whom she auditioned when a Broadway gig fell through the day before rehearsals were to start) provided her “initial celebrity connection.”
“I worked for her for a very short period, but I try not to mention it,” she said. “I wish her love. The world’s big enough for both of us. It’s just exercise.”
Ms. Anderson seems not to agree. This spring, citing Ms. Anderson’s “proprietary research,” her spokeswoman wrote to a fitness news Web site, objecting to a reference to Ms. De La Rue, who worked for the company for “under a year,” as the “the next Tracy Anderson.” The spokeswoman also objected to the Web site’s placement of a hyperlink to an article about Ms. De La Rue beneath text about Ms. Anderson.
Incoming search terms:
- Stacey Achterhof
- jacey lambros
- Ruzwana Bashir
- simone de la rue dvd
- simone de la rue
- simone de la rue and jaycy lambros
- simone de la rue dance dvd