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Raju Mann

President & CEO
  • 10/12
  • BPC People



Title: Bounce Fit Cardio Fitness Trainer at Stuyvesant Community Center

Favorite BPC Spot: Wagner Park

Well-traveled, well-rounded, and with talent to burn, Isaac Owens was born In Landstuhl, Germany, where his mother was stationed while serving in the United States Air Force. His family then moved to Ghana, Africa, his father’s birthplace. At six years old his parents separated, and with his mom it was then to off the U.S. – South Carolina specifically – where Isaac was raised.

Isaac may have been born to dance, but he didn’t know it right away. He first felt the spark after seeing the PBS Documentary Free to Dance, chronicling the integral role that African-American choreographers and dancers have served in the development of modern dance as an American art form.

While there weren’t many outlets for dance in the Deep South, there was the Fine Arts Center of Greenville, South Carolina, where he got his admittedly late start under the tutelage of Jan Woodward. He was the only male in the program (and, at 17, a full decade behind some of the other students). But a calling is a calling, and after two years of twice-daily dance sessions he earned admission to the University of North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem, where he studied Contemporary Arts.

After two years dancing started taking its toll and Isaac decided to remove himself from the program and travel the country. That journey, in time, brought him back to his love of the arts. “I found that I needed to dance, I wanted to dance,” he says. Using the friendships he made in college, Isaac made his way to the Dallas Black Dance Theatre and started dancing anew. Not long after, a good friend convinced him to take the plunge and move to New York City to pursue his passion. Once here, he joined the Mari Meade Dance Collective (MMDC), where he has been for the past four years.

Ever humble, Isaac explains: “I feel really blessed and fortunate to have been able to get back into the dance community after taking so much time off.” It was with MMDC that Isaac has had the honor of performing at the Battery Dance Festival in 2015 and 2017, something he counts as one of his career highlights to date. “How often do you get to dance with the Statue of Liberty as backdrop?”

Dancing isn’t Isaac’s only passion. In college he discovered Pilates training and fell in love with Joseph Pilates’ physical fitness philosophies, so he became certified physical trainer through a work study program in Pilates Mat and Pilates Apparatus instruction. Isaac believes deeply in the power of strength and endurance training to change and challenge the body, mind, and soul, and loves helping others experience similar transformations for themselves.

Building on his wide range of experiences, Isaac now has his own company, Mojo Fitness, and leads Bounce Fit Cardio at BPC’s Community Center at Stuyvesant High School on Saturdays from 1:15PM -2:15 PM. He describes the session as a “fun class with great music.” Bounce Fit Cardio, a full body workout using a trampoline, lets participants burn a lot of calories with low impact, and without wearing themselves out.

In his spare time, Isaac loves gardening and cooking his own vegan food, reading, making collages, and break dancing. Through social media Isaac has also re-connected with his father after 22 years, and shared with him all the wonderful opportunities he’s enjoyed – including teaching and sharing his talent with such a wonderful community.

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