John Tanner

John TannerJohn Tanner calls Oakland, California his home, where he learned and developed his particular brand of high-energy funk.  John has held a lifelong interest in music and dance. Like many other aspiring artists, he held “regular” jobs, but eventually, he found a way to integrate his love for dance with earning a living, by creating his own funk and hip-hop aerobics class and strength-training program.

John Tanner is one of the pioneers of early hip-hop dance in the 70’s in Oakland. He was instrumental in developing a new style, which consists of popping, backsliding, body rolling, animation, and freezing.  All of these are popular today in the hip-hop dance world.  He is highly respected in the dance world as one of the original Boogaloo’s.


“Cardio-Funk,” John’s signature aerobic workout, offers students a means to get fit and have fun dancing to the beat.  Every step, warm-up to cool-down, is set to dance grooves, allowing students maximum opportunity to express themselves through dance. John’s “regulars” come ready to sweat, toting towels and large water bottles to every class.  Increasing cardiovascular fitness is the ultimate goal of each class, but John and his students realize that you can have a blast getting there.

Teaching dance is a passion for John, who enjoys seeing newcomers get excited when they “catch on” to the routine.  John teaches dance in a non-intimidating atmosphere, breaking down every step, and spending more time on complex combinations. He persuades newcomers to come back and keep learning, and will often offer words of encouragement when students have difficulty.  Newcomers and regulars appreciate John’s ability to motivate and energize the class.

Unlike some dance and aerobic instructors, John requires student participation and interaction; “clapping to the beat is the first and easiest step.” John varies his steps often to make sure his students are constantly stimulated.

His unique teaching style appeals to dance and fitness enthusiasts of all ages, races, backgrounds, and sizes­—men and women! You’ll often find new students and “regulars” chatting with John after class, about a particular step, about his classes, about the music, but mostly, about how much they enjoy FUNK!

Strength Training

John Tanner’s motivational style lends itself well to his strength-training program.  In his “Boot Camp”, ”Kick Boxing”, “Body sculpt” and “Survivor” classes, he pushes his students to achieve their personal fitness goals, even when they are unable to see beyond the next set of reps. His program focuses on strength-building, for better performance and appearance.  John is careful to explain that fitness is a lifelong commitment, and that fitness requires dedication and the ability to focus.

His clients have included dancers, athletes, and those who just want to be in better shape.  John has taught individuals who have been sedentary all their lives, consistent exercisers who want to see improved results, and the super-athletic who wish to develop certain aspects of their bodies and need a coach to help them get there.


Recreational Sports Facility, University of California, Berkeley
Bally’s Total Fitness, San Leandro, Fremont, Hayward
The Courthouse Athletic Club, Oakland
Alice Arts/Citicentre Dance Theater, Oakland
Sybase Corporation, Emeryville – Group Fitness Coordinator
Gold’s Gym, Emeryville and Hayward – Group Fitness Coordinator
California Athletic Club – Group Fitness Coordinator

Children and Young Adult Teaching Experience:

Nicole’s French Middle School, Oakland
Kid’s Hip Hop, Bally’s Hayward
Archway Private Elementary School, Oakland
McClymonds High School Summer Dance Program, Oakland
Berkeley High Troubled Teens Dance Program, Berkeley YMCA
True Vine Baptist Church’s Overweight Teens Dance Program, Oakland
Lorin Eden School, Hayward


John is the executive producer, creator, director and host of his own show called Garage Party.  It can be seen on channel 25, which is Berkeley Community Media, BCM, a public television station.