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A Motivating Vibe

Paul Herman of Press Play talks movement and motivation.

Article by Samantha Schoengold Beranbom

Photography by Heidi Curran Photography

Originally published in Fairfield Lifestyle

The lights dim as the music rises in the packed studio for Paul Herman’s infamous Grooves class. His infectious energy fills the room as the happy crowd starts to follow his lead, moving their bodies to the beat, all clearly having a great time amid the sweat. The force behind Press Play has attracted a loyal local following of all ages due to his warm and welcoming personality and encouraging ‘everybody is a dancer’ attitude. His classes are truly ‘a vibe’.

Q: How did your dancing life start and ultimately become a career?

A: Born and raised in the South Bronx in a Caribbean household, music and dance have always been a part of my life. Listening to various genres of music such as soca, dancehall, hip hop, salsa, and so much more helped me grow a strong connection to music. Evolving into a dancer was like second nature. I first started performing at the Boys & Girls Club, YMCA, and local school talent shows in the early stages of my journey. With a strong passion for dance and the gift instilled in me, those local opportunities turned into performing on stages across the United States. My first big break as a commercial dancer came to me in 2007 when I did a music video, "Whine Up," alongside my brother Brian Herman for the artist Kat Deluna, featuring well-known Jamaican artist Elephant Man. Soon after, my dance career took me to stages worldwide, including Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, and Europe, performing alongside prominent artists such as Alicia Keys, Chris Brown, Sean Paul, Lil Wayne, Eve, and Ciara. I was also a featured artist in Reebok's "Your Move," "A Tribute to Motown" at Carnegie Hall, Good Morning America with Flo Rida, and Nick Cannon's Red Nose Danceathon on NBC.

Q: Your group fitness classes are wildly popular with a dedicated following. Can you explain the philosophy behind them and your point of view on fitness? 

A: Throughout my 20-plus years of experience teaching in the commercial dance and group fitness industries, I have traveled to some of the leading gyms, private clubs, dance studios, and academic institutions around the world. With an intense background in dance, a passion for teaching, a deep love of entertainment, and a keen ear for music, I quickly excelled as a group fitness instructor. As one of the leading dance fitness instructors at Equinox New England Region, I have grown a solid following and significantly impacted the group fitness community at my studio, Press Play Studio & Events. This success led me to handcraft one of my signature classes, Grooves -The Ultimate Dance and Fitness Experience! With a fun mixture of dance and fitness, Grooves quickly caught the eyes and hearts of this community due to its positive vibes and eclectic playlist. Focusing on genres such as hip-hop, dancehall, Latin, and R&B, Grooves utilizes a high-energy playlist, all while helping movers learn steps from the 60s to the 2000s! Dance is a universal language everyone can express, and Grooves serves as a channel to help promote diversity through music and movement while getting a full-body workout.

Q: What would you tell someone joining a class for the very first time? How do you describe your classes?

At Press Play Studio & Events, there is a class for everyone! If you want to get back into the groove, brush up on your skills, or you are working on getting ready for an audition, we have a class for you. Each class is taught by myself or by one of my trusted, experienced dance instructors. With a core value rooted in training and a passion for educating movers of all ages, Press Play Studio & Events is also one of CT’s most reliable sources for kids’ and adult dance classes. 

Q: Do you have your own wellness routine? 

A: My wellness routine consists of four main things: movement, organization, reflection, & intention. These four things keep me grounded, centered, and connected to my purpose. Each day, I dance, run, or, at the very least, take a few moments to stretch and move my body. My life can be hectic, so I have learned to develop systems I am constantly checking in with and returning to. Reflection and intention are imperative to moving through my life in a way that I can truly serve others and be sure that I am connecting with myself. I take time to check in each day to acknowledge what has gone well, what things need improvement, and what is to be grateful for and celebrated. Each day, I take time to remember my purpose and goals so that I can show up with intentionality and clarity.

Q: You’re known as the Prince of Motivation. Where did that come from and how do you motivate your clients? 

A: The Prince of Motivation [laughs]: that’s a good one! The name grew on me once I realized that a lot of what I do every day is to motivate adults and kids of all ages. Whether I MC a party, host an event, mentor an artist, teach a dance class, or lead one of my seminars at a university, the word motivation travels with me everywhere I go. I motivate my clients daily through music and movement and by helping them get more grounded with their unique talents. 

Q: What motivates you? Where do you find inspiration and get your drive from?

A: Good question, I think I get my motivation mainly from my community. I’m blessed to wake up every day with a community of people from all walks of life, colors, shapes, sizes, cultures, and denominations.. It is so beautiful to witness, and I am honored to know I play a small part in helping to bring people together. I’m motivated by many things, and my drive continues to grow with the help of my community. 

 What’s next for Press Play? 

A: I have a few things lined up in the new year, but my main focus is rebuilding something I lost in 2022, a studio space that would house my many endeavors and my community. I look forward to traveling more as an MC and host while inspiring communities around the world through my motivational seminars and dance workshops. I know I have impacted so many lives throughout my journey, so I can only imagine what the future holds for me as I continue to Press Play

For an updated class schedule and more information on events visit pressplaymotivation.com and follow @pressplaystudioandevents and @pressplaymotivation on Instagram.

I’m motivated by many things, and my drive continues to grow with the help of my community. 

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