Erica Nix is a fireball. With her mane of flaming curly red hair and infectious laugh, clad in neon green tights and a zebra-print Lycra top, she’s out to overhaul what it means to get your sweat on.
Nix is the host of a workout/performance art program called, “Workout! With Erica Nix.” To say a performance of Workout! is disarming is an understatement. Think of it as a neon blend of early '80s VHS workout videos and an air sex competition that involves simultaneous Kegel exercises, Muhla Bandha breathing, hoisting kettle bells painted to look like breasts, and wielding double-dildo barbells.
Workout! With Erica Nix is like a neon blur of early '80s VHS workout videos combined with an air sex competition that involves simultaneous Kegel exercises, hoisting kettle bells painted to look like breasts and wielding double-dildo barbells.
Nix pulls it all off with her upbeat personality and tongue-in-cheek sense of humor.
While her program has been compared to Zumba, Nix's Workout! is far more free-flowing and inventive. Think of it as a sexually themed exercise class that can feel a little perverse — that’s the fun part. If you're offended by freewheeling sexual discourse and the occasional bad word, you're actually probably better off at Zumba.
"[My workouts] play with that idea of sexuality being a part of keeping yourself fit and healthy," says Nix. "It’s silly to ignore the idea that there’s sexuality involved any time that you move your body or use your body."
Although Workout! involves provocative dance moves and lighthearted sexual overtones, Nix says it’s mostly shy introverts who tend to enjoy classes the most. "People who don’t have an outlet for performing can do it, and it’s a great place to do it in a really accepting community,” explains Nix. “For me, I’m such an introvert that regular workouts after a while tend to make me bored, so changing it to be [a performance] is a motivator for me.”
Nix started out in 2001 as a backup dancer for the Austin-based band Night Vikings but always felt self-conscious about performing in front of a crowd. As she became more comfortable, she began escalating her act, throwing donuts at people, spraying Cheez Whiz and humping the speakers on-stage. The relationship between Nix and her band soured when people started showing up to their shows not to hear the music but to see what crazy stuff Nix would do that night. After she and the band parted ways, she began leading free “dance jogging” around Lady Bird Lake for passerby trail users. People loved it.
Nix paired up with local videographer Jessica Gardner to make her first Workout! video in 2010. The videos led quickly to live, weekly interactive performances at Cheer Up Charlie’s. Now you can catch her teaching Monday night classes at Galaxy Dance Studio.
“The workout has taken on its own life, and I just want to move it wherever it goes,” says Nix.