Pilates on Fifth workout uses a piano just like the one in the movie ‘Big’

Pilates on Fifth's Big Piano Class has up to four participants per session. Photo Credit: Pilates on Fifth

By Meredith Deliso @themerryness

A midtown studio has the key to staying fit.

Pilates on Fifth has launched a new class that uses a giant electric floor piano, just like the one in the 1988 Tom Hanks movie “Big.”

The aptly titled Big Piano Class has been available as a private session for several weeks, and it is now on the studio’s group schedule, with up to four people max per class.


Looking for a fun way to add more agility-based workouts to their offerings, identical twins and former Rockettes Katherine and Kimberly Corp recruited the artist behind the original “Big” piano, Remo Saraceni, to make one for their 17-year-old Pilates studio, located at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street.

A typical, 55-minute class will include a mix of stretching, core- and strength-building exercises like planks, and agility drills, such as running a chord up the 48-key piano or doing variations on grapevines and other lateral movements, that help tone the obliques and glutes (the sisters looked to football and soccer training videos on YouTube for inspiration).

“It’s sneak-attack cardio,” Katherine said.

Of course, melodies are also part of the class, which costs $40. The twins have adapted 25 songs for their class. They were picked for their familiarity and straightforward rhythms, and range in difficulty from level 1 (Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony) to level 4 (Mozart’s “Turkish March”). Classical music is common, as are themes (think “Jeopardy,” “Star Wars,” “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” and “Bridge on the River Kwai”). And, of course, “Chopsticks” and “Heart and Soul” — the songs played in the movie “Big” — are in the repertoire.

“The songs give gratification, as opposed to, Why am I here doing this?,” Kimberly said.

Not on their playlist? Pop songs, which tend to repeat a single key.

“Pop doesn’t lend itself for speed, agility and strength,” Katherine said.


Keys are noted along the floor, helpful for those who’ve never taken piano, and the twins are adding colored dots to the keys for another means of association. The sound of the piano can be changed, too, with options including music box and church organ (perfect for tortuous planks).

In addition to helping improve your agility balance, the class works your brain, the twins said, from memorizing the sequence of notes to processing the music.

“Just like your body gets bored, your brain gets bored,” Katherine said.