There’s actual real-life science out there telling us that dancing makes us happy… which kind of makes Sharol Riedewald someone we need in our lives. Digging deep for good energy may be tough right now, but his Out The Box sessions promise sass, sweat, positive vibes and creative choreography to match any contemporary dance school. It’s time to meet the guy making classes accessible to everyone (in a time that’s never been better to put that ‘like no-one’s watching’ theory to the test…)
What got you into dance and how did you end up becoming an instructor?
I used to be a very shy kid. Growing up, my parents used to listen to a lot of Madonna, Janet Jackson, Cher, Luther Vandross, DeBarge, Chaka Khan… and watching them on MTV, I was convinced that I wanted to be a singer. I used to imitate their dance moves in my bedroom where no one could see me and pretend I was them, performing for a live audience. It was hilarious, but I was so serious about it.
I ended up taking classes at a ballet/contemporary dance academy in Amsterdam and got great support from teachers that boosted my confidence, but it wasn’t always fun. By the time I finished my masters, I knew I wanted to create a space for all people (not just pros) to be comfortable and live their best life.
While I’m very creative and push members in class, I’m also very patient. Whatever I throw at them, they’re always up for it. They trust me and I love that.
How did you end up bringing the sass to our Gymbox studios?
I moved to London in the summer of 2013 from Amsterdam. London was the place to be as a dancer because it’s a bigger city, more fun and there are so many more opportunities here!
Like a lot of creatives in the arts, you work as a waiter, barista etc. while you’re trying to establish a career in your chosen field. While I was working at a coffee shop in Stratford as a barista, we had two amazing regular customers named Holly and James who were employees of Gymbox at the time.
One day, I asked them if Gymbox were looking for new instructors. They said they were and gave me the contact details of someone who did the audition applications. I applied and, within a month, had my audition and got in!
How is your lockdown going down and how’ve you been keeping yourself busy?
Lockdown was hard for me to begin with, but I got so much support from the members that after a month I was fine with it. You should have seen me at first! I was so stressed that I cried - a lot of emotions went through my mind.
As time as gone on, I've had fun. I took loads of online classes with Gymbox and also taught my own weekly classes. It was fun because I had people showing up to my classes and it made me feel closer to them. After 3 months though, I was over it! I just wanted to be back in the studio with the crew!
During lockdown I cook dinner every single day, which is very rare for me because I eat out a lot! I make basic meals like pasta but also experiment. It's fun – turns out I’m not a bad cook! I’ve also baked some cakes which my flat mates enjoyed the most as they got to eat them all…
Which of your classes can we give a go on Out The Box and how would you describe them to a newbie?
I’ve been teaching Callback. It’s a commercial dance class featuring music from all of your favourite pop/R&B artists. I would describe my classes as high energy and sassy, but it’s not always like that as I like to switch things up and keep it interesting.
I always say to people that my classes are not gym classes; they’re real dance classes at the coolest gym in London, so you will get a proper choreographed dance class with good vibes and a good sweat.
While it must be frustrating not being able to teach classes in the same way you’re used to, switching to online content does have some positives. How have you found the experience and what have you liked about it?
Teaching online has its challenges but I’m making the most of it. We’re dealing with a lot right now and the ability for members to access classes online is important for their wellbeing. If I can help someone forget about their problems for an hour while keeping fit then I have accomplished something great. And I like that I can interact with the members that I adore so much!
What classes can we take with you in a happy near-future when Gymbox is back open?
I feel so blessed to be able to teach all my classes at Gymbox and can't wait to be back. You can catch me at Gymbox Victoria on Wednesdays (7PM) and Saturdays (12PM), Elephant & Castle (5.45PM), Westfield London (7PM) and Holborn (6.30PM.)
You can find Sharol on Instagram and try his Callback classes on Out The Box right now with a 14 day free trial.