Feb 19th 2010 By Harmon Leon
One of our favorite new ways to kill time is watching fitness instructor Paul Eugene
's unintentionally kitschy series of Christian aerobics videos. Taken from the energetic host's Pittsburgh community-access TV show, the videos have turned him into an Internet phenomenon
through the power of YouTube.
Even if you're not into aerobics or dancing, there's a lot to love about this guy. Not only does he mix the intensity of Tae Bo's Billy Blanks
with the squeals of "Bad"-era Michael Jackson, but he has invented such memorable dance moves as "Walk in His Spirit" and "Shake the Devil Off
You'd expect nothing less from a man who, with no formal dance training
, once represented his hometown on the legendary TV show "Soul Train" after he won a dance contest back in 1975.
Asylum recently talked to the 53-year-old Eugene to find out where he gets the inspiration for such routines as "the Praise Walk" and "The Sanctified Slide."
"Dance is my passion and vehicle of expression," explains Eugene, whose community-access show is now in its sixth season. "I just flow with the music. I just have natural fun. When I hear music, it's like my spirit, soul, body and the music are in a relationship."
And we're invited to join in! The video that makes us giddier than a schoolgirl
on both an ironic and unironic level is Eugene's aerobics extravaganza, "The Sanctified Slide."
Based on Christopher Page and the Dream Keeper Ensemble's music video
, Eugene's relatively simple dance routine is branded with his own, unique flare -- he points to the camera, inquires as to how you're doing, and calls out the various steps.
"'Shake the Devil Off' is just a term to mean don't let the devil or anything evil hold you down," he says piously. "To 'Walk in the Spirit' means to follow the lead of God's spirit. 'Stomp the Devil Down' means to face anything evil that opposes you and stop it in its tracks."
The "Sanctified Slide" video also features the assistance of two amazing background dancers, one of whom is lethargically busting out the moves and is a dead ringer for Kip
from "Napoleon Dynamite."
Eugene's growing army of fans -- including both those watching to exercise and those watching just to laugh -- should be happy about his plans for the future. He says, "I love doing theme videos and I do have plans for more, which I will keep under wraps at the moment."
Here's hoping the background dancers also return. "Michelle and Frank in the video with me are two participants who take my Latin dance class," says Eugene. "Frank is in his 70s." Amazing!