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Will treadmill dancing be the next Zumba? (+video)

Videos of people dancing on treadmills have been a YouTube staple for years. Could the viral trend make its way into fitness clubs?

Professional Dancers. Do Not Attempt.

Treadmill dancing has gone viral on YouTube, but one fitness expert says she’d like to it go viral in real life, too, just like spinning or Zumba.

What began six years ago on Feb 26, 2009 ago with a music video by the band OK GO for their song “Here it Goes Again” has become a challenge dance of sorts, playing out on YouTube and on the sly in gyms across America.

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Marcus Dorsey became a viral sensation on Jan 7, 2013, when his fluid, balletic treadmill moves were captured by a fellow gym patron and uploaded to YouTube. Numerous videos, often taken surreptitiously, have been posted to the video sharing site, heightening the practice's popularity.

It’s a fitness practice that’s caught the eye of at least one major fitness guru, says fitness trainer Teresa Tapp, founder of T-Tapp workouts based in Tampa Bay, Florida.

“I just love, love, the Uptown Funk treadmill video [by Carson Dean] and I think it’s going to be something much more than just a few fad videos,” says Ms. Tapp in an interview. “This is going to inspire people to stop using their treadmills as clothes hangers, dust them off and have some real fun getting in shape.”

Ms. Tapp is known for her work with people of all ages and fitness levels to build the connections between what you want your body to do and what it actually does, which she terms “biomechanic execution” and “mind-to-muscle” techniques.

“While some people are born with some degree of natural talent for doing a treadmill dance it’s really something that can be taught,” says Tapp. 

Tapp says she bases her opinion of the fad morphing into a class after she viewed a video made by the Nordic Track treadmill company titled “World’s Largest Treadmill Dance With Over 40 Treadmills!”

"We just had our big fitness industry trade show called IHRSA to introduce this concept to fitness centers. It will be available to consumers in the fall of this year," says Colleen Logan a marketer for Nordic Track's parent company.

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“I know that the owners of 24 Hour Fitness here would have to probably sit down and think hard about letting this become a class because of the potential risk of personal injury,” says Reynaldo Heywood, a representative of 24 Hour Fitness in the Bronx. “That being said, people who are interested in doing it are mostly going to be people who already have a level of knowing what they’re doing. Some people trying it for the first time may stumble a little. It could become a thing though. You never know.”

Tapp adds, “I can see a gym putting together all its treadmills and running treadmill dance classes. While she won’t be organizing any such classes she says she would eagerly sign-up to take one.”

“Oh I’m dying to try it myself,” she says. “It’s athletic funky fun. People didn’t think Zumba or spin classes would catch on and now look at them.”

Tapp says her first step will be to get on a treadmill and “start with a simple shuffle-ball-step you see in many aerobic classes.”

Then she plans to practice walking backwards and making turns.

Tapp concludes, “The best thing about treadmill dancing starting as a viral video and particularly the Uptown Funk one, is that the guy is so manly and cool that it’s like a crossover fitness for men. It’s also an extremely athletic thing to do.”