This isn’t a quirky television advertisement, nor is it an elaborate performance art piece. Movement-minded art lovers are now taking exercise classes in New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and MoMA. They dance to disco music or perform yoga poses while gazing at bronzes by Rodin and canvases from El Greco to Rauschenberg.
It’s killing two birds with one stone: exercise your brain while increasing your heartrate. And instead of merely listening to music, an audiobook, or watching TV, you can be surrounded by some of the world’s greatest art while performing your sun salutations.
But these exercise programmes at museums also raise other questions: does blood-pumping activity sharpen your mental capacities and allow you to appreciate a work of art more than passively standing in front of it? Does exercising in front of great art force you into a deeper interaction with a work of art?
BBC Culture attended one of the Monica Bill Barnes Company’s dance classes at the Metropolitan Museum of Art to take a look.
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