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Arts & Entertainment

You can watch this TV hunk nightly on Netflix—or dance with him monthly in Nob Hill

A man in a tie-dye tank top and fatigues-style pants, right, appears next to a poster for "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend."
Vincent Rodriguez III teaches classes that help attendees dance like his popular character Josh Chan on the cult show “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.” | Source: Illustration by Jesse Rogala/The Standard: Photos by Hollywood to You/Star Max/GC Images/urbazon/Walter McBride via Getty Images

When Rachel Bloom’s cult TV musical rom-com Crazy Ex-Girlfriend took its final bow after four wacky, heartfelt seasons in 2019, local fans, like 30-year-old Daly City flight attendant Caitlin Howard, felt a pang of sadness.  

“I could have easily watched that show for another 10 years,” Howard said. “I still rewatch the series once every year or two, and listen to the songs often.” 

But at least Howard can still get an eyeful off of the show’s hunky leading man, Vincent “Vinnie” Rodriguez III—aka Josh Chan, the show’s much-obsessed-about ex-boyfriend—who teaches a monthly dance class in San Francisco. 

Since January, the Daly City native and actor who played the crush of Crazy Ex’s antiheroine, Rebecca Bunch, has taught pop-up dance workshops dedicated to choreography from the show at Uforia Studios in Nob Hill. Rodriguez, an alum of various San Francisco musical theater programs, calls the classes part of his “missionary” work for the local performing arts scene.  

“I’ve always taught in the Bay Area, whenever I visit my mom,” said Rodriguez, 41, who now lives in Los Angeles and whose post-Crazy Ex credits include lending the voice of Raiden to Mortal Kombat 1 and playing Henry, “a bisexual Filipino dreamboat,” in the Amazon Prime Video series With Love

A smiling man in a sports coat poses at a TV show premiere.
Rodriguez, pictured here at the "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" season 4 premiere party in 2018, teaches a monthly pop-up dance workshop in Nob Hill. | Source: Sarah Morris/Getty Images

“It’s really about giving back and reconnecting with my roots,” he said of the classes.“I want to help the artists get to do what they love and discover what there is to discover about themselves.”

At Uforia Studios, Rodriguez teaches moves he picked up while working with Emmy Award-winning choreographer Kat Burns on Crazy Ex. During a class in February, the Standard experienced an almost two-hour dance workshop in a neon pink studio, where Rodriguez, equipped with a big Britney Spears-style mic, amped up dozens of students with a fun and light dance warm-up. He broke down the steps of a hip-hop-style routine from the show with infectious enthusiasm, occasionally broke out into song and closed out things with an intimate ask-me-anything-style Q&A about the show. 

“I don’t care if you mess up the choreography,” Rodriguez said during the class. “This is not a place for critique. This is a place for fun, creativity and play.” 

He then instructed the class on how to embody four different types of Josh Chans for a segment of choreography from the song “A Boy Band Made Up of Four Joshes.” The ‘N Sync-style parody hailed from the show’s first season, in which Josh serenades Rebecca as four separate crooning boy band members. 

“Be that version of Josh that’s in your head,” Rodriguez encouraged as the students rotated through the various Joshes. They included an off-kilter, breakdancing “B-boy Josh”; a sexy “bad-boy Josh” (“the one who gets phone numbers”); “baby boy Josh,” who is modeled after Justin Bieber and might be “a little gay”; and finally, “regular Josh” who’s patterned after classic boy band heartthrob Justin Timberlake and displays a calm and confident charm, “like a big brother.”

For Rodriguez, getting students into character is more important than having them copy the moves exactly—it’s also part of his mission to make performing arts education more approachable and less intimidating.  

Vincent Rodriguez III teaches a dance workshop in San Francisco where you can learn to dance like Josh from "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend." | Source: Courtesy Josef Lagare/Uforia Studios

“My workshops are not about being perfect or competing to be the best dancer in the world,” Rodriguez said in a phone interview a few weeks after the class. “I get to create a safe space for artists, dancers of any level, to create and be able to fail, and know they’re safe to fail and discover their artistry.”

It’s an ethos that Rodriguez, who first fell in love with musical theater while watching a TV broadcast of the film Newsies at his aunt’s house in Fremont, takes with him to youth performance workshops at his old theatrical stomping grounds. In addition to holding classes at Uforia, he often makes a pit stop at Harvey Milk Center for the Arts in San Francisco, where he used to train as a member of the city’s Young People’s Teen Musical Theatre Company, and his alma mater, Westmoor High School in Daly City, where he maxed out almost all of the school’s performing arts opportunities to the point that he started auditioning for roles at other area high schools and performing arts academies so that he could be in more productions.

That led to playing everything from the prince in a Mercy High School production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella to Benny Southstreet in Guys and Dolls at Jefferson High to performing in Fiddler on the Roof at San Francisco State and dancing in The Nutcracker with Westlake School of the Performing Arts. Each of those stops led to the “full circle” moment of returning to the Bay Area to bring some of Crazy Ex’s over-the-top theatricality back to life.  

“I get to relive some of these moments that mean so much to me, but I also get to share them with the fans of the show, who are still watching the show,” Rodriguez said.

As for Crazy Ex fan Howard, she not only loved hearing Rodriguez sing and dance live, she said she felt “like we were in a Crazy Ex-Girlfriend music video together.” To let her dance inhibitions go—in front of the “real” Josh Chan, no less—was something that only a Rebecca Bunch could have imagined.

“There’s not many places in San Francisco where you can do that,” she said.

Vincent Rodriguez III teaches a Groov3 dance fitness workshop ($30) on March 23 from 12:00-3:30 p.m. at Uforia Studios in Nob Hill and the next ‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’ dance workshop ($35) at Uforia on March 24, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Follow @uforiastudios or @vrodrigueziii on Instagram for updates.