It can’t be taught and it can’t be learned. Few of us have it. It comes in different forms and can be found in different places. It’s hard to explain it but it’s easy to spot.
It was out of the corner of our eye when we first saw him. And within a few minutes we couldn’t turn away. It was at the Boston Sports Club on Boylston Street on a cold, winter Saturday and he was leading a Zumba class of about 40 students.
Adam Bokunewicz has it. It’s stage presence and when you watch him teach you see it right away. His athleticism, his energy, his enthusiasm are contagious and for 60 minutes his students feel every bit of it.
Adam grew up just outside of Atlantic City, New Jersey and like every kid today he played youth sports. Some basketball and a little soccer, but neither fit. At the age of five he began taking piano lessons and a few years later started playing the trumpet. In the seventh grade he began singing. He joined the drama club and something clicked, something seemed right. His love for musical theater was born.
After graduating from high school he continued his art at the renowned Boston Conservatory. For Adam it was the opportunity to study piano and the opportunity to act. In his sophomore year he started coaching and music directing and over the next couple of years he grew as an actor, music director and a coach. He was awarded the Conservatory’s 2015 ArtsImpulse Award for Emerging Artist of the Year and received a 2015 ArtsImpulse nomination for Best Music Direction.
The energy and performance of musical theater is not unlike that of Zumba. At the age of 15, Adam attended his first Zumba class. He fell in love with the dance, the music, the performing and like soccer and basketball it was tough at first, but there was something in Zumba. Something he felt he needed. Something he wanted. Adam decided he wanted to teach and found a mentor, Tanya Beardsley, one of the Zumba’s best. She taught him well, so well that he landed his first permanent teaching position while in high school. And for the next couple of years taught in gyms throughout Southern New Jersey and Philadelphia.
Adam moved to Boston and the Conservatory in 2012 and wanted to keep teaching while he was in school. Finding a teaching position was tough but thanks to the always, miserable Boston traffic, an unknown Adam Bokunewicz ‘subbed’ for a friend who taught at Boston Sports Club on Newbury Street. Shortly after that class, BSC’s Boston Regional Group Exercise Director called, offered him several full time positions in the city and Adam’s Zumba star was born. Today he teaches at Boston Sports Clubs, Healthworks Fitness Centers for Women and Bodyscapes. He’s been featured several times in Boston Magazine and his 2015 Zumba Class was named ‘Best of Boston’!
Musical theater is amazing. It’s exhausting and overwhelming too. It’s obsession, and perfection. It’s isolation. But sport and dance keeps Adam grounded. It helps him stay connected and gives him a chance to meet terrific people, create friendships and stay fit at a high level.
Adam’s an athlete, an actor and a coach. He’s a musician and a director and an extremely talented young man. But talent alone may never be enough. It’s always comes down to dedication, persistence and sometimes, that extra little ‘thing’. Adam has shown that to us, on the stage and in the gym. That extra little ‘thing’ is stage presence and Adam Bokunewicz has it. He’s always had it.