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Richard Simmons Meets Meditation in 'Disco Yoga' for Night Owls

By Meredith Hoffman | October 25, 2013 8:12am
 Gerry Visco's "Disco Yoga" is inspired by Richard Simmons.
Gerry Visco's "Disco Yoga" is inspired by Richard Simmons.
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Gerry Visco

WILLIAMSBURG — After 43 years of deepening her practice, Gerry Visco has reached an existential epiphany: She wants to be the yoga version of Richard Simmons. So she’s blaring the "Macarena" and “Maniac” beneath a disco ball while leading students to downward dog.  

“I have a Ninja Turtle bright green metallic outfit…And this past week I wore a black cat suit,” said Visco, 59, of her new “Disco Yoga” sessions. “Richard Simmons had the right idea because he does a therapeutic thing and gets people moving but he combines it with fun.”

Visco’s late-night classes, for yogis of all levels at the Spectrum performance space, fuse yoga and dance, spectacle and meditation — and Visco’s two identities as a yoga teacher and performer.

“Sometimes you go to a yoga class and feel like everybody’s miserable…I want people to have love in their life and happiness. I teach class playfully,” said Visco, who trained for two years as an Iyengar yoga teacher. “It has the serious component of Iyengar yoga about precision and maximizing the body, but I include the music and the dancing. It’s a cathartic kind of experience."

And she leads students through that one-hour nonstop catharsis at 10:30 p.m.

“I’m a party host at nightclubs around the city. I’m a night owl,” said Visco. “All of my friends are up late, and I like to exercise at night.”

The hour may not appeal to everyone, but Visco promised that her classes catered both to complete novices and advanced students.

“You can be 80 years old,” she said. “Everybody likes to move their body.”

Disco Yoga is Tuesdays at 10:30 p.m. at the Spectrum at 59 Montrose Ave.