Jermaine Johnson, 23, is a Commercial Dance instructor with us at Gymbox and will be the reception manager at the new Old Street club, which opens on October 6th. He started dancing at 15 and has been a backing dancer for the likes of Whitney Houston and Little Mix. We meet him.
Hi Jermaine, You’ve been chosen as a pioneer in the field of dance by Gymbox, how does it feel?
It feels good to be selected as a pioneer of my field of dance as this is something I’m extremely good at and passionate about. It’s also good to be known for my talents in a place where I work, and not just seen for the job I’m doing.
You teach Commercial Dance, what exactly is that?
Commercial dance is anything you now see on music videos, live TV performance and world tours. It’s a specific style made to look good in TV which is an industry I mostly work in.
How do people feel when they go in, and then when they leave the class?
People feel excited when they come to class as they don’t know what to expect. But they always enjoy it, and tackle it with lots of energy. After the class people look like they’ve just come out of a shower, and usually feel they’ve worked hard. Dance is a different type of functional exercise and you’re utilising muscles in ways you don’t generally do.
How did your career in dance first take off?
I started my professional dance career at 16, working on TV shows such as the X Factor for Whitney Houston and Alexandra Burke. At 18 years old I booked my first tour with Thriller Live theatre show travelling Europe over the next year-and-a-half. When I returned to London I carried on my dance career working on live shows such as BGT, T4 on the Beach, Robbie Williams at the Brit Awards 2013, and music videos for Little Mix. That was my main focus. However not being able to rely on the on-going dance work my focus slowly started to drift into fitness, as I constantly had to work on my fitness being a professional athlete and preparing myself for the dance jobs I had coming up. That’s when I started work for Gymbox.
What’s been then biggest buzz for you so far?
The biggest buzz for me is being on stage as I feel happy and powerful. Also watching the playback of a performance is also interesting as you see what you have produced, or what you have been a part of.
Out of all the artists you’ve performed with, who has been the nicest?
Whitney Houston was most interesting. At the time when she was alive I was part of her first come back performance on The X Factor, 2009. Meeting her was unreal! At the time I was only 18 so you can imagine how star stuck I was. I also met Jermaine Jackson who came to Paris and to watch Thriller Live, which was a show I was touring with based on Michael Jackson’s career. During our break he came back stage to meet us all and told us it’s dancers like us who keep Michael’s music and spirit alive. That was pretty amazing.
What did - and do - your friends think of you dancing?
Everyone was really supportive with my choice of hobby/career, and I’ve made a lot of friends. It’s not like I was doing ballet or table dancing, so doubt anyone thought any different of me. If anything the guys were jealous of how many beautiful girls I was dating from the dance world.
Can anyone find the dancer within them, regardless of age, size, height?
Yes! I was 15 and overweight and became a professional dancer, so I think everyone has the potential to achieve something. We’re the ones who make our futures and determine our jobs, careers and lifestyles. Go for it!
What does dance bring to your life?
Dance brings a lot of joy and happiness when I’m either taking class, teaching a class, or performing. It’s had a positive impact on my life as I maintain a healthy lifestyle because of what dance demands.
What do you love most about Gymbox as a brand?
I love the vibrant and funky approach it has towards fitness training - that’s what makes me love being part of the team - to represent this type of gym. Gymbox is unique, and the reason for its success is that we have separated ourselves from chain gyms which make us the best. We have such a diverse and strong studio timetable people from all types of fitness backgrounds - whether dance, yoga, boxing... there’s something for everyone.
And what do you have planned in your dance horizon?
I have so much planned creatively. I have so many projects and videos coming out so keep on eye in my YouTube channel. You’ll also see quite a few appearances on this year’s X Factor, as I’ll be performing with either the contestants and the celebrity guest artists.
Catch Jermaine teaching Commercial Dance at Gymbox bank Wednesday evenings, 7pm.