New York City is well known for all of the famous performers and artists that live there. But right here in Washington County there are several well known performers, making a name for themselves.

Toby Towson is one and his passion for moving and shaking is helping him to impact the community through various forms of physical fitness.  

“If you’re healthy and clean and sober and you enjoy taking care of your body, your body will take care of you,” said Towson, a professional gymnast and dancer. 

Towson says his journey started when he was a boy, but it was an unique start from other dancers and gymnasts. 

“Today it usually goes, gymnasts become divers,” explained Towson. ‘But I was the exception, and I went from springboard diving into competitive gymnastics.”

Towson then springboarded himself onto screens across the nation by joining a popular television show. 

“I was the original Barkley the Dog on…Sesame Street. I had a fortunate introduction to Jim and Jane Henson. They liked my acrobatics and my dancing and were supporting my artistic career,” recalled Towson. 

His gig as Barkley brought him face to face with one of the most popular entertainers of our time. 

“[I had] a very special moment with Michael Jackson. We got a stuck in the hallway with each other. We both started smiling and laughing and I felt like I got a spiritual message from him of joy and light,” remembered Towson.  

Today, he’s bringing that message of joy and light to Washington County. In fact, his most famous act, The Alphabet Dance, was started at South High when he was a dance teacher there. 

Towson’s next journey begins Wednesday, September 5, as he begins teaching a new class at the Fresh Academics dance studio in Hagerstown.