Leslie Howitt


Leslie Howitt

I am a native of Toronto Canada. The high school I attended offered a three-year art program which included Advertising, Art history, Life Drawing and typography.

The next step was applying for art college and was accepted to Ontario College of Art (now known as OCAD). My studies started in Commercial Art (advertising) the Independent Art program became more appealing to me.

OCAD hosted yearly trips to NYC for students to immersed in the art, music, culture and contemporary gallery scene. It was on a visit to Manhattan I was walking in the West Village and I KNEW I had to move here. I remember it so clearly. At the time, OCAD has a “campus”, a floor of a building on West 24th Street in Chelsea which provided studio spaces 24/7 for budding artists. With $500 and a duffle bag I relocated to NYC which has been home since 1984.

That was my studio work space for over 4 years until the campus closed. During this time, I participated in several group shows including the White Gallery in Tribeca and with the Rivington Group.

Prior to the OCAD space closure, another interest started to ignite – fitness. It was the dawn of the era of group fitness classes and dance aerobics. I was really very shy and had just moved into a new apartment with a new roommate. I decided to join a gym to get out of her way. Starting at the back of the class, slowly making my way up to the front row. The instructor suggested I started teaching. It took almost a year to build the nerve to be leading. I took the leap and am still facilitating movement and fitness classes.

In 2012, the discovery of a class called GROOVE that changed the concept of a group fitness experience. GROOVE is an authentic dance/movement experience designed for EVERYBODY! GROOVE classes unify participants with simple rhythm or movement to different styles of music. The GROOVEr is given permission to be completely authentic, creative and fully expressed in their movements – to dance YOUR dance! GROOVErs move through the space unlike traditional fitness classes where students stay in formation. I really believe GROOVE an amazing way to move and stay healthy. Physically, emotionally and spiritually. GROOVE creates freedom of movement and connection to others. Dancing is in the DNA of humanity.

Art and movement remain my passion and we all thrive in NYC.