You'll Be Saying 'Yeah!' to Usher Joining Season 2 of Peloton's Dance Cardio Classes
When Peloton dropped an Instagram teaser for the second season of their Dance Cardio classes on Tuesday, fans quickly picked up on the fact that the clip was soundtracked to Usher's 2010 single, "DJ Got Us Fallin' in Love." But the global megastar and eight-time Grammy winner didn't just lend his track to the brand — he made a full-on cameo (the first of its kind by a musical artist in Peloton history, BTW) in a routine led by beloved instructors Emma Lovewell and Ally Love. Starting Thursday, Peloton's 5.9 million members can catch that class and six others — all of which that blend fitness, choreography, and music — on-demand via the Peloton app (Buy It, $13 per month, onepeloton.com).
"A few of my childhood friends were like, 'Can you imagine yourself as 14-year-old Emma — did you ever think you'd be dancing with Usher?' and I'm like, 'No! This seems so nuts!" Lovewell tells Shape. The former professional dancer (who actually performed with her colleague and current Dancing With the Stars contestant, Cody Rigsby, in their pre-Peloton days) has worked with major acts such as The Rolling Stones and Snoop Dogg. Lovewell says the collab with Usher was extra special. "This brought back the joy of just having fun and moving my body to music and dancing with Ally who's one of my best friends — getting the opportunity to dance with Usher with her was such a cool milestone for me."
Season 2 of Peloton's Dance Cardio consists of seven 20-minute classes, clocking in at 140 minutes in total, and are choreographed to 53 musical tracks. In addition to Lovewell and Love, the classes are also lead by four fierce Peloton instructors: Jess King, Callie Gullickson, Hannah Corbin, and Rigsby himself. But Lovewell and Love had the special distinction of being the two teachers to co-create a class with Usher in collaboration with his choreographer, Jamaica Craft, and Peloton's Miles Keeney. (See: The Best Peloton Instructor to Match Your Workout Style)
"Miles worked with us on the first season — he's super professional and organized and he basically memorizes everyone's dances, so while I'm struggling to memorize two dances, Miles is over there memorizing eight," says Lovewell with a laugh. "He has the experience to make these dances attainable and accessible to our members, which is super important — we want to challenge people but we also want to make sure they're having fun and staying engaged. We brought in Jamaica and she just had the best energy — she's so grounded and down to earth, and we had so much fun. We were just smiling the entire time."
Lovewell says that this season of Peloton's Dance Cardio classes is an amped-up version of the original 10-session series, which launched in March 2020. "The first season came out around the start of the pandemic which was coincidental timing — we had all this great content come out while everyone was at home and I think it was a great way for people to get out of their heads and into their bodies and just have some fun," she says. "This will be similar to last season in that it will be 20-minute sessions and you're going to see groups of instructors teaching together which is really fun and so different from our cycling and strength classes. But we've leveled up a little bit — the set is a lot fancier and feels really sleek, the camera angles are like, I feel like I'm on America's Got Talent or something! It's really fun. The lighting, costumes, hair, and makeup have really been stepped up a notch, it feels really clean and a little flashy but not too flashy. And especially the collaboration with Usher is just bringing it to a whole new level for sure." (Read more: The Best Peloton Workouts, According to Reviewers)
As for Usher himself, Lovewell says no one knew if the 42-year-old performer would make a cameo. But as soon as he walked onto the set, the singer was swept up in the energy, according to Lovewell. "Ally, Jamaica, Myles, and I were like, 'we have to make this so dope that when Usher comes into rehearsal, he's like, 'Put me in, coach!'" she says. "Ally and I threw in a couple of extra rehearsals because we wanted to make sure we were really prepared. On the day of the dress rehearsal, Usher sat down to watch us teach the whole thing and we were looking at each other like, 'don't mess this up.' Afterward, he was like, 'that was awesome!' He was so kind and so hyped and had all these ideas. We didn't know if he was gonna be down, and he showed up and was so into it. It was a very exciting process."
Usher isn't shy about the fact that he's a major Peloton fan himself (he even joined Love for an interview that aired in May 2021 during the company's annual Homecoming fan appreciation event). "Dance has the power to energize, ignite and bring people together in a fun celebration of movement and music, " said the performer said in a press release. "I'm thrilled to lend my personal style to this new season of Peloton Dance Cardio. As a Peloton member myself, I can't wait to move together as one community." (Read more: These Celebrities Love Peloton just as much as You Do)
Lovewell is still on cloud nine, reveling in this lifelong dream come true. "As a kid, I totally watched his music videos and I remember trying to teach myself how to glide, which is like moonwalking to the side," she says. "I told him! I was like, 'you know you taught me how to glide,' and I did it for him and he's like, 'yeah you got it,' I was like 'oh my god.' Ally and I both have experience working with artists, but at this capacity where it's so collaborative and such a small group of us working together to make this awesome, and then Usher comes in and is like, 'what's up, Ally and Emma!' and it's just the three of us — it's next level."
Aside from the Usher class, Lovewell and her colleagues have many more surprises in store for Peloton members. She also adds how the Dance Cardio classes have allowed her to get back to her roots. "When I'm clipped into the bike and my song comes on and I'm doing body rolls and hair flips, I always say, 'if I wasn't clipped in right now, you don't even know what I'd be doing!'" says Lovewell. "I'd be doing the running man and breakdancing next to the bike. This is like, I'm finally not clipped into the bike anymore, it's like I'm unleashed —it's Emma unleashed! I can dance to some of my favorite songs. Cody and I — the playlist for our class is super fun. It's dance icons, so we have Janet and Britney and some of our favorites. I love cycling to those songs, but oh man do I really love just dancing to them."
And for anyone who isn't a dancing pro (or even a novice), Lovewell says Peloton's classes offer a zero-pressure opportunity to let loose, try something new, and just enjoy the (proverbial, non-cycling) ride. (Related: 4 Reasons Not to Dismiss Dance Cardio)
"At the very least, you're gonna be entertained," she says. "If there's a move in there you think looks cool or feels good try it, let your hair down, turn lights off or whatever you gotta do, and just allow your body to move. It feels so good don't shame yourself if you don't get the moves right, that's why it lives on demand — you can do it as many times as you want to really learn the moves. Just have fun, don't be afraid to make fun of yourself and mess up. And don't be afraid to feel sexy too and to love your body and find out what feels good on your body — it's all an experiment, it's all a lab we get to experiment with what feels good. You don't have to be the best, you just have to show up and have fun."
To find the Dance Cardio classes on the Peloton app or a connected Peloton Bike or Treadmill, just hit the "cardio" category under "classes" and filter by "Dance Cardio." And for special behind-the-scenes content and an exclusive look at what goes into making a Peloton Dance Cardio class, visit Peloton's YouTube Channel.