Totally Torch’d: Isaac Calpito

From the Great White Way to your home: Broadway dancer Isaac Calpito’s Instagram Live workout series raises heart rates—and serious funds for No Kid Hungry.
Calpito, sporting a hoodie by loungewear brand Camp Isidro.

By Jenny Landey

PURIST: When did you learn the value of keeping physically fit?

ISAAC CALPITO: Growing up in Hawaii, I always felt slightly out of place. I knew at a young age that I wanted to be in New York and dance on Broadway, so I focused all my energy on making that dream a reality. I spent hours in the studio, perfecting my craft and building targeted body awareness. I moved to NYC the morning after high school graduation, and was dancing on Broadway within a year. Physical fitness is synonymous with being a professional dancer. Working out has always been a part of my life.

You’ve appeared in hit Broadway shows such as Mamma Mia! and West Side Story. You created the Torch’d workout. And now, your daily live workouts on Instagram from the very early days of quarantine have helped keep people fit and connected. Why were you inspired to offer these classes?

Like so many people, I felt confused, anxious and helpless. But I don’t like living in a state of fear. So I thought to myself, what can I do to give back? What am I good at? I do Torch’d. So I started my free 45- to 50-minute Torch’d workout on Instagram Live and was overwhelmed with the response. We went from 100 viewers to 2,500+ viewers quickly, with people from all over the world tuning in, from Guatemala to Australia to Tokyo to LA to NYC to Paris to Italy.

You’ve raised nearly $200,000 from donations contributed by your clients and Instagram followers for the charity No Kid Hungry, which is devoted to ending childhood hunger. Why is this cause important to you, and how did you get involved with them?

How phenomenal is that? You know, my initial goal was $1,000. I didn’t think that doing my Torch’d workout would be able to get this much attention, let alone raise so much money for a cause that is so important to me. A child not knowing if they’ll have another meal is a despicable and appalling notion. So, with the viewership and engagement I have on my livestream and social media, I saw a perfect opportunity to make it more impactful and contacted No Kid Hungry to collaborate and encourage my Torch’d devotees to donate. I just felt that if these kids had a tough time before this pandemic—imagine what it is like now!

I’ve also been so fortunate that my friends Lisa Rinna and Vanessa Hudgens were kind enough to do two 45-minute lives with me and raise awareness through their platforms. Together we raised over $30,000.

In class, you often mention the circle of wellness. What does that mean?

Torch’d is more than just a workout. It’s inclusive. It’s a lifestyle. And the livestream is proof of that. We have husbands, wives, children, celebrities—Jessica Chastain and her grandmother, who is in her 80s! And one of my favorite people in the world, Marissa Lelogeais, who was born with cerebral palsy and is legally blind. She does Torch’d with us every day and is the personification of all I cherish and admire; proof that no matter what the obstacle, wellness and joy are an essential part of daily life.

Tune in to Torch’d every day at 11AM EST on Instagram live @isaacboots