November 3, 2009
by Christine Gerani
Merrick resident Buddy Casimano, has been gracing stages all over the world for over 25 years. Best known as Deborah “Debbie” Gibson’s backup dancer for most of her tours he has also performed on Broadway, films and has choreographed some of music’s greatest entertainers. Buddy is also a fitness trainer who teaches classes and trains all over Long Island. You can now purchase his new fitness DVD Buddy’s Broadway Body: Abs…olutely Fierce Abs…and work out right in your own home! For more information visit BuddyCasimano.com.
I had the pleasure of visited Buddy last week after one of his fitness classes at N. Shore Fitness in East Meadow. We had the best time reminiscing about our time with Deborah (I too had the honor of touring with Deborah) the prom, yes Buddy was my prom date and the time he was kicked by Madonna. Enjoy this lively interview with Buddy Casimano and don’t forget Every Body Needs Some Buddy!
Christine – Buddy you started off as a gymnast how did you become a dancer?
Buddy – I got injured. I was training really really hard thinking Olympics one day. I was about 15 and I injured my forearm, tore all the ligaments and was told to take a year off and then come back. It was just too much to take the year at that time. I was growing so I wondered what the next best thing was. I went to my sisters dance recital and I saw her in a show and they did Thriller and I thought “I can do that”. And that was it. I loved it! I thought “sign me up!” I joined a dance class the next day.
Christine – You’ve been on Broadway, you’ve been in films, and you have choreographed great entertainers. What has been your greatest experience in your dancing career?
Buddy – There’s a couple, Radio City Music Hall was a huge one.
Christine – What did you do at Radio City Music Hall?
Buddy – Performed with Deborah Gibson…you were there. I remember coming up the staircase and the lights hit and I turned around and just that sight was the greatest thing that ever happened. That was amazing for me. Madison Square Garden was another moment. I thought to myself holy crap I’m at Madison Square Garden, I can’t get over this! Choreographically I think I had a couple of really great moments. I choreographed Debbie Gibson’s tour; The Anything is Possible. The One Step Ahead Tour, that was a big to do. We rehearsed out in LA and we had auditions all over the country for dancers, it was a big deal. That was my really my first huge job, people were going to see my choreography around the world. The other greatest moment of my career was the night I took my first bow on Broadway. It was at The Broadway Theatre… it was truly the highlight of my life thus far.
Christine – You are the Director of Dance for Deborah Gibson’s Camp Electric Youth? Tell us about Camp Electric Youth and how is Deborah doing?
Buddy – Deborah is doing very well actually. She’s working on some new stuff so be prepared for that. I’m still involved with working with her when we can we get together. If I’m not doing something we get together still…I choreograph still a little bit with her. Camp Electric Youth – I’ve been teaching kids dance now for almost 20 years. Throughout my performance career, I’ve also toured the country and all around the world teaching. So because of that she started doing this camp and she called me and said I know you teach kids, do you think you can be involved in this? I signed on to the first year and it was so great! It was so much fun and such a success and my dance classes went over so big that she asked if I could be the Director of Dance and create all the movement’s and dances. So now I’m in charge of the dance program at her camps in New York and Los Angeles. Twice a year, it’s for kids in the performing arts community that are really serious about it. The teachers are all Broadway teachers, plus film and casting agents come by. The kids get great exposure. It’s another really great way to give back.
Christine- It says on your website you were kicked in the face by Madonna…what the hell happened?
Buddy – She kicked me in the face and Sandy Duncan broke my nose. I was at Madonna’s final call back for her Truth or Dare tour. There were
20 guys left for the tour. I think she took 10. I was in the room and I had gotten flown in for the final audition because I was on tour with Debbie and missed the original audition, so they flew me in. I was new to all of it and I didn’t know the choreography so all the dancers that were there already had already learned a bunch of the stuff. So she says “Ok you.” She was always evil. I loved her even more for it but she was evil. She says “you sit down and watch”. So I sat and watched. They did “Hanky Panky” and it was before anyone knew it. The music wasn’t released yet. So she’s asked “Do you know it?” I had watched it once. I said “yes I know it”. I jumped up and I stood next to her and we danced it in the mirror and she went the wrong way on one step and kicked me! I didn’t go the wrong way she did! Then we did again and she did it again on purpose. And guess what…I got cut!
Years later we went to a Vanilla Ice concert together and she apologized.
Christine – Are you kidding?
Buddy – Nope! She remembered me. I was with Deborah and Charles Kopelman, we went to the Vanilla Ice concert. She was with Carlos Leon I was with Deborah and Charles. It was like a row of Pop Music Icons and me. It was LOUD. Charles introduced Deborah to Madonna and it was their first time meeting, and then he says and this is her dancer Buddy. Madonna says “I remember Buddy” and she says “I apologize for my behavior” Deborah asks what was that about? I told her I’ll tell you later.
Christine –How did Sandy Duncan break your nose?
Buddy – We were rehearsing the show two weeks prior to her getting in. In rehearsal she had a stand in. So we had a lift at the end of the opening number it was huge. Jerry Mitchell choreographed, he’s now a big Broadway Producer/Choreographer. He had me flipping all over the place and I had to, at the end, come in and flip and we pressed Sandy into a Cheerleading lift. I was supposed to pop her up and catch her in a basket toss. I rehearsed it with her stand it so we were doing it the whole time and then when she got there she did it the first time and she came down with her elbows and BAM right in my nose! Cracked my nose in half, there was blood all over the place. I didn’t miss a beat, I didn’t miss an hour of rehearsal not a minute.
There was a Christmas Show in Chicago and they did secret Santa, and I got Sandy as my secret Santa. I went to the doctor and got my x-ray, and I framed my x-ray and I wrote on the outside ‘Dear Sandy, Thanks for the Big Break’. She has it in her house. Still to this day she tells me it’s still there on the mantle.
Christine – You now have a DVD called Buddy’s Broadway Body Absolutely Fierce Abs! What made you want to make a fitness video?
Buddy – Truthfully it was because people kept asking. It was an idea I had a while ago. I’ve been working out for forever and its part of my normal routine. After I got off Broadway I started teaching in gyms and I developed a following and before you knew it I’m all over Long Island with these gyms! If people missed my class or I couldn’t make an audition they’d say ‘Why don’t you do a DVD’. So after the 10th time I said ok I’ll do a DVD. It’s grass roots, it’s my 25 -minute abs class. You can do some of it at one point you can do some of it later. You can do half of it during the week, half of it at the end of the week however you want to break it up. It’s my arsenal of my exercises on film for you to decide how you want to do it.
Christine – How does one get a body like Buddy? What is your best advice for those looking to lose weight?
Buddy – I just say do the work! Put the work in. Whatever it is that you like to do, do it and make yourself sweat. I believe in sweating at least once a day, that’s a big thing of mine. If you don’t sweat it don’t count. Find that something that works for you. If you don’t like that class take another class or try a workout. Whatever it is move your body! As far as moving weight, the key to losing weight is there’s no key to losing weight. I really think it’s all about keeping your body fueled. You have to eat the right stuff and eat more than 3 times a day. That 3 times a day thing I don’t know why that was drilled in our head. Even to get through a day of work, every 2 or 3 hours fill yourself with something good. It’s speeds up your metabolism, the more you eat. Not shit…if your eating crappy food guess what…you’re going to feel crappy. It’s like a car, if you put great fuel in it and you take care of it and use all the right stuff that supposed to go into it, I don’t know anything about a car but I know you’re suppose to take good care of that engine. So if you take good care of your engine it’s going to treat you right.
Christine – When you’re not dancing and working out what do you like to do?
Buddy – I like to dance. When I really have the time I like to go out and dance. I want the DJ to be good so that I can dance all night. I also like to cook. Cooking relaxes me. Many people get stressed out by it. Love the preparation and love to serve it to people and see their reaction. I do a great chicken rollatini with spinach and of course low fat mozzarella cheese. I don’t fry it I bake it, and I can make a mean Red Velvet Cake and the Cupcakes are the best.
Christine – What’s next for Buddy?
Buddy – Well, now that this one is in the can, I’m hoping to get the next one done. The next series I’m hoping will be a cardio-dance series. Dance is what I do. People love that class.
Click the photo to visit Buddy’s Website!
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