D.E.E.P. Aerobics combines dance with protest

D.E.E.P Aerobics may sound like a more intense aerobic workout, but this new form of exercise is actually a combination of costumes, protest and dance, standing for Death Electronic Emo Protest Aerobics.

On Saturday, Miguel Gutierrez, founder of the style, came to the Activities and Recreation Center’s multipurpose room to teach the form of exercise as a George A. Miller visiting artist at the University’s dance department.

Gutierrez has performed both solo and group pieces under the moniker “Miguel Gutierrez and the Powerful People.” He has presented his works at both national and international festivals, such as the Paris Autumn Festival and most recently, the American Realness Festival in New York.

At the event, Gutierrez was wearing a hula hoop, neon swimming goggles and short, tight black briefs. Costumes ranged from fishnets, silver spandex and ballerina costumes; one participant dressed up in a black mask, fedora and tap shoes. For those participants who weren’t wearing costumes, the program provided a transformation station before the workout. There, members could spice up their clothing with brightly colored feather boas, aluminum foil and neon-colored bikini bottoms.

The room appeared more like a rave than a workout room. Different colored lights streamed through the dark room and loud, thumping music was blaring through large speakers.

“Self-consciousness is the illusion that this is only happening to me,” Gutierrez said.

He then had the group repeat the motto four times before they began to warm up.

The warm-up consisted of stretching various body parts — but not those that one would expect. Gutierrez led the group in “stretching” their eyes, ears, noses and tongues.

The group then went through several exercises that ran the gamut from pretending to be a rock star at a concert to attempting to push against the floor of the room. All of the exercises were accompanied by music and had a message of body acceptance and self-love. The rallying cry of the session was, “I’m still alive, and I’m not afraid to die” and was repeated often.

One particular part of the program involved Gutierrez requesting that participants pretend to be English girls running through the countryside while creating instant poetry. The group then all went to one side of the room and pretended as if they were standing on the edge of a cliff and crying out to the English countryside.

Finally, the exercise ended with the participants pretending to have gone completely insane. Group members were rolling on the floor, crying and wailing.

At the end of the program, Gutierrez informed everyone that they were all certified D.E.E.P. Aerobics master teachers.

Mariha Khan, freshman in FAA, took Gutierrez’s presentation to heart.

“Once you get past the awkward and embarrassing self-conscious points, you feel such a release,” Khan said. “He has an amazing message. I’m going to share this with other people. I’m going to make them do it.”

Maddie Rehayem, freshman in LAS, said she was also excited by the fact that she could teach others D.E.E.P. Aerobics.

“I’m now a master certified teacher of this, which is so cool. I want to show others this because I’ve never seen anything like this before,” Rehayem said. “I feel refreshed.”