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Jazzercise: More Than a Great Workout

Updated on June 10, 2016
Jazzercise on Location
Jazzercise on Location | Source

Jazzercise is Fitness, Fun, and Good Friends

Although I'm an avid outdoorswoman, hiking isn't the only thing I do for exercise. I'm also known to work out three or four times each week in a class called Jazzercise.

Several years ago, on my 37th birthday -- and 37 years after the Jazzercise dance fitness program was founded in 1969 -- I walked into our local studio here in Flagstaff, Arizona, and bought myself a gift: a membership to what would soon become much more than a place to work out.

I've enjoyed my experience at our local center -- one of thousands of Jazzercise studios in 32 countries -- so much, I wanted to share some of the highlights.

If nothing else, check out the videos below. I think they're quite entertaining.

Jazzercise doesn't look like this anymore.
Jazzercise doesn't look like this anymore. | Source

So, What IS Jazzercise?

A bunch of skinny-minny girls in spandex and leg-warmers?

Well, the leg warmers are a thing of the past (though you never know when they might be in vogue again, so don't throw yours away just yet), but Spandex is probably here to stay ... which would be a good thing, since I have a drawer full of it.

And it's definitely not only for girls. (Jazzercise I mean, not Spandex.) We do have our token man at our Jazzercise studio, not to mention the occasional husband or boyfriend who gets dragged ... uh, who takes a class now and then, but some studios have lots of male members.

And skinny-minnies? Yep, there are those. But I'm not one of them, and I've seen every body-type there is doin' the Latin walk and gettin' funky on the Jazzercise floor.

Basically, Jazzercise is a combination of various dance styles, aerobics, yoga, pilates, kickboxing, resistance training, even belly dancing at times, with routines designed so that people of varied fitness levels can exercise together. The instructors show you how to modify high-impact moves to be low-impact and/or light. I've even seen class participants sitting in chairs or modifying floor exercises to be done standing.

What's most important in any Jazzercise class is that you're moving.

Two left feet? No problem. As I said, moving is what's key, and, truly, no one cares if you're going left while the rest of us are going right (well, as long as you don't collide). And if you're doing heel-hops when everyone else is grapevining, ah well, it's all good as long as you're having fun.

And that's one thing I really love about Jazzercise. Fun is right up there with fitness. In our classes, the wonderful, upbeat instructors will often yell....

"Who's having fun?!"

And the class replies, "WOO-HOO!!!"

Jazzercise Music--current and classic
Jazzercise Music--current and classic | Source

The Music Of Jazzercise

A Little Of This, A Little Of That, And A Lot Of Great Tunes

Okay, so I'm a country music buff. (Ooh, that Trace Adkins. Mm-hmm. I loved when "Honky Tonk Badonkadonk" was part of the Jazzercise routine.) But no matter what kind of music makes you wanna strut your stuff, Jazzercise has it.

Let's see, there's hip-hop, funk, techno, disco, top-40, rock ... uhhhh ...classic rock, jazz, an occasional show-type tune, country of course ... oh, even opera once in a blue moon.

Most of the time, the sets are pretty heavy on the current stuff being played on radio stations, but there's usually some older tunes in the mix. You know, somethin' that makes you wanna flick your Bic and hold it up (uh-huh, you know you've done it) or do a little soft shoe perhaps.

You should be daaaaan-cin', yeah! A little BeeGees anyone?

See what's currently on the Jazzercise song list on Jazzercise.com.

Jazzercise at Home - Fun exercise videos

Okay, so it's not quite the same as being there in your local Jazzercise studio, surrounded by friends (because that's what it feels like), but if you don't happen to have one near you, don't want to drive there everyday or just want to save some money on membership, you can still have your own private Jazzercise class at home. Exercise with your family or invite some friends over for some fat-burning and muscle-toning to popular tunes.

These and other DVDs are available on Amazon....

Latin Live Jazzercise

Jazzercise: Latin Live
Jazzercise: Latin Live

Judi Sheppard Missett, founder and CEO of Jazzercise, and Cheryl Burke of "Dancing with the Stars" will lead you through this spicy version of Jazzercise, mixing familiar Jazzercise moves with salsa, cha-cha, samba and merengue.

 

Jazzercise Live

Jazzercise Live - Total Body Dance Workout
Jazzercise Live - Total Body Dance Workout

This is a super fun, one-hour total body dance workout in a live Jazzercise class, which includes bonus cardio and strength sets. You kind of feel like you're right there in the class with them.

 

Dancin' Abs

Dancin' Abs by Jazzercise
Dancin' Abs by Jazzercise

While you'll still be dancing, this fun and challenging 60-minute workout really targets your waistline at least half the time.

 
Jazzercise Dance Moves--no we don't THIS
Jazzercise Dance Moves--no we don't THIS | Source

The Jazzercise Moves

A combination of styles

Jazzercise is, at its core, made up of a bunch of basic dance and aerobics steps with some flair and creativity added to the mix. The routines are choreographed by Jazzercise founder Judi Sheppard Missett and, I assume, others at corporate headquarters, and instructors are provided with the latest routines and music every so often. (Not sure of the frequency, but they change it up quite a bit, so it never gets old.)

While you can often add your own style to the moves--well, some folks add "style" whether they're trying to or not--all the movements in Jazzercise are reviewed by a sports physiologist so you know you're getting a safe, effective workout.

If you'd like to perfect your flick-kicks, kick ball changes, and turned-out triplets before performing them for the people standing behind you in class (who truly will not care if your chasse ends with a back-ball change or a front), you can visit the Jazzercise website's "Learn the Moves" section, where they have some handy-dandy tutorials and videos.

Above photo is in the public domain

Jazzercise Instructor: "Who's burning fat?"

Class: "Who-hoo!!"

Jazzercise On The Early Show (CBS) - Julie Chen interviews Judi Sheppard Missett, Founder & CEO of Jazzercise, Inc.

You've gotta check this out. There's some funny as well as informative stuff in here. And would you believe that Judi is in her SIXTIES! I kid you not. (But that's not Judi in the still shot you're seeing here.)

Types of Jazzercise Classes - There's something for everyone at Jazzercise

The most common Jazzercise class is the 60-minute format, including a warm-up, a 30-minute aerobic section, toning and stength-building with weights, and a final stretch and cool-down. All high-impact moves can be easily modified for those who don't want to bounce and jump. And those days of Rockette-style high-kicks ... gone.

Aside from the "regular" Jazzercise class, most studios also offer some combination of the following alternatives:

  • Jazzercise Lite: a less-intense, lighter version of the regular 60-minute class
  • Jazzercise Body Sculpting: a 40 to 50-minute muscle-toning workout
  • Jazzercise Personal Touch: small-group weight-training and toning with one-on-one help
  • Jazzercise Express: a condensed, 30-minute workout--a great lunch-hour quickie
  • Jazzercise Step: Jazzercise choreography adjusted for a step-aerobic class
  • Jazzercise Circuit Training: a combination of an aerobic workout and strength training using weights, resistance tubes and exercise balls.
  • Junior Jazzercise: a class designed for kids ages 6 through 11
  • Jazzercise Team Dance: a class designed for pre-teens and teenagers

New Jazzercise DVDs - Enjoy different styles of Jazzercise at home....

Move the furniture out of the way, maybe invite a friend over, and dance your way to fitness with these fun and effective workouts.

Latin Live by Jazzercise
Latin Live by Jazzercise

This workout on DVD features Cheryl Burke, two-time champion of "Dancing with the Stars," and Jazzercise Founder & CEO, Judi Sheppard Missett. This is all the fun of a live Jazzercise class, with a Latin flair. So that means a hip swerving, booty shaking workout mixed with familiar Jazzercise moves inspired by salsa, cha-cha, jive and merengue. These hot Latin movements will tighten abs, trim waistlines, and tone legs. The Latin Live DVD includes: Latin Total Body Workout, Latin Ballroom Blast and Latin Ab Blast workout options.

 
Ballet Body by Jazzercise
Ballet Body by Jazzercise

This workout features Certified Jazzercise Instructors Emily Tyson, Emily Newlands and Ashley McConnell, combining full-body basic ballet movements with the upbeat energy of Jazzercise. Targeted sculpting and toning exercises mixed with the rhythm and flexibility of dance will help you attain that sleek dancer's physique and strengthen and lengthen your muscles for proper posture. Choose to work your entire body or focus on trouble zones with the special ab and leg burn sections. For those pressed for time, the 20-minute version provides an accelerated tune-up. No ballet experience is needed. Ballet Body by Jazzercise includes: Total Body Workout, Accelerated Workout, 10-minute Ab Burn and 10-minute Leg Burn workout options.

 
Jazzercise Special Incentives
Jazzercise Special Incentives

Jazzercise Incentives

Besides the improved fitness, that is

A few weeks after I first joined, I remember coming to class and seeing sheets of paper and big, cut-out flowers all over the wall, with a stamp block, ink pad and Sharpie pen in a little basket. As I discretely adjusted my sports bra, I wandered over to see what all the decoration was about and found titles like "Dancing Grannies" and "The Bouncing Barbaras" written on each paper. Some had stamped flowers in a few of the thirty-some-odd boxes on their sheets. Huh?

So class soon started and the fun began--I'd gotten the hang of that salsa move and actually felt like I'd grown a wee little Latin bone in my anything-but-Latin body--and I'd pretty much forgotten about what was on the wall when, as we later moved on to the first floor routine, our instructor explained the new incentive program (my term). I think it was called something like, "Dance into Spring," but it was probably a bit more creative than that.

Anyway, the deal was, we could team up with a classmate, preferably someone we didn't know yet, and write our names on one of the blank papers on the wall. Then we'd each get a stamp (a point) for each class attended in the next thirty days, with extra points given for making up a team name (I think my team of two was something lame like, "Jazzy girls," but we still got that extra stamp for it), getting up on stage with the instructor for a song, and so forth. If you'd filled in (stamped) all boxes on your paper by the end of the promotion, you'd get a present--a fancy-dancy ... what was it? I think it was a t-shirt that time. I can't remember; I have so many Jazzercise goodies now, I don't know which came from which promotion.

Anyhow, then there was the Jazzercise beach towel promotion. The tote bag. The water bottle. The thermal top. And so forth.

Teaming up with one and sometimes two other participants is a great way to meet new people, and it helps get your butt out of your comfy computer chair and off to class, knowing your teammate is counting on you so she or he can get that cool thingamabobamajiggy with the Jazzercise logo on it. (You wouldn't believe what some people will pay for that stuff on Ebay! *gasp* I didn't just say that, did I?)

Jazz It Off with Jazzercise
Jazz It Off with Jazzercise | Source

Jazz It Off

A Jazzercise special program

This year, I participated in the "Jazz It Off: Winner Lose" challenge. Why? Well, cuz I needed to shave off some extra pounds ... especially before I saw some old high school friends I reconnected with on Facebook!

Being the competitive girl that I am, the weekly drawings from points earned and the grand prizes at the end of the twelve weeks for the largest percentage of body fat lost, the most overall inches lost, and the most points earned helped me stick to the program.

On February 15th, I checked in for the initial body composition analysis, including weight (eek!), body fat percentage (*groan*), body mass index (ugh), basal metabolic rate (*shrug*), body measurements (okay, so I'm curvy) and the optional "before" photo (no thanks!). Participants were also given a Jazzercise "Know More Diet" food and exercise journal.

Each week, we weighed in, had our body fat percentage taken and checked in online for nutrition and exercise tips.

During the program, we received points for attending the weekly weigh-ins, attending Jazzercise three or more times each week, and keeping up with our journals. And, at the end of the program, there was a final assessment just like the initial one, and the grand prizes was awarded.

Oh, and we got a t-shirt too. Me likes t-shirts.

The cost for this extra program was $35.

Jazzercise Instructor: "Who's working hard?"

Class: "Woo-hoo!!"

Special Jazzercise Events

Live Taping, Jazzer-Jams, Parades and More

Jazzercise is even more than regular classes, fun incentives and special programs like Jazz It Off. There are also great special events and getaways you can choose from.

At Mountain Sky, we usually participate in one or more annual parades, including the big 4th of July celebration. Our group is always the hit of the parade as we groove our way through the streets of downtown Flagstaff, lined with thousands of cheering spectators. It's so much fun, I almost forget I'm wearing a clingy shirt, instead of the over-sized tees I usually wear to class.

And each year, there's also a taping event, where the DVDs of upcoming routines are filmed, to be disbursed to 7,300 franchisees in the U.S. and around the world. Anyone involved with Jazzercise can attend the taping and participate in a number of different specialty classes and other events. In 2009, the taping was held at a resort and spa in La Quinta, California. Several of us from Mountain Sky attended the sold-out "Jazzercise Spa Getaway" in June.

In addition to the annual tapings, a big Jazzercise convention is held roughly every four years. (I think it went five years this last time, in 2008, because the "Tres Jazz" conference was held in New Orleans, and the city needed an additional year to make repairs following Hurricane Katrina.) I've not yet attended one of these conventions myself, but I've heard from some Jazzercising friends it's a real blast. I mean, dancing and sweating with thousands of your closest pals ... what could be better?

2009 also marked Jazzercise's 40th anniversary, and the milestone was celebrated on November 7th at Jazz in the City in Chicago.

Charlotte Bobcats Jazzercise Halftime Routine - Okay, you've got to admit this looks like fun.

Jazzercise halftime performance on 1.17.09 at NBA Charlotte Bobcats game

Jazzercise Rules & Regulations

Just for fun....

Okay, so there really aren't any RULES per se, unless maybe a particular studio has some specific to their facility. Like, you know, don't flush tampons or don't leave your coat and bags around the edge of the room cuz somebody might trip on them. That kind of thing.

But here are a few hints you may want to follow so none of your Jazzer-mates looks askance at you:

First, no one owns a spot on the floor. If you have a favorite place you like to stand--in front of the fan maybe, at the front and center of the class or perhaps in the very back, darkest corner, but someone happens to be there already when you arrive or maybe moves into "your" spot when you duck out to use the potty ... well, tough noogies. Find a new spot.

And the fans. If your studio has them, but you don't like the breeze, move. Let those who do like the wind in their hair (and armpits) stand near the fans instead, rather than you turning them off. Some of us have thermostats permanently set higher than others.

And I'd say that high heels would definitely be frowned upon.

Now, woo-hooing and responding to your instructor's questions (ie. "Anyone know who's singing this one?" or "Who's squeezing their buns?") are certainly optional ... but making noise does have its benefits. For one, woo-hooing--or woo-ing, as the case may be--shouting out answers to silly questions, and singing on command actually play an important role. That is, they make you breathe. And oxygen is definitely a good thing.

Noise and talking back to the one with the microphone also energizes the whole class. And more energy definitely means more fun.

So, let's give it a try. Ready?

Your instructor asks, "Is the person in front of you squeezing their glutes?!"

WOO-HOO!!!

WOO-HOO!!!
WOO-HOO!!!

To find Jazzercise classes in your area....

Visit the Class Locator at Jazzercise.com

© 2009 Deb Kingsbury

Questions or Comments About Jazzercise? - Or Just Post a Woo-Hoo!

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    • julcal profile image

      julcal 8 years ago

      There is nothing like dancing to keep fit. I've studied ballet all my life and the day I can't dance will be a sad day. It's not a chore to exercise, in fact, I thrive on it.

      Great lens! I hope it helps people who need it to find the motivation to get out and dance!

    • Stazjia profile image

      Carol Fisher 8 years ago from Warminster, Wiltshire, UK

      I didn't know anything about jazzercise - sounds like an excellent way to lose weight. I'm not sure about he woo-hoo, though, I'm not really a woo-hoo sort of person!

    • Ramkitten2000 profile image
      Author

      Deb Kingsbury 8 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

      [in reply to Stazjia] Woo-hooing is most definitely optional. Matter of fact, it took me well over a year of Jazzercising to do my first woo-hoo. And I'm still one of the quieter woo-hooers. Actually, most people "woo!" rather than "woo-hoo," so I'm a bit odd, I guess. But there are days I get lost in la-la land, pretending I'm dancing in a show or something, and don't woo-hoo at all.

    • SusannaDuffy profile image

      Susanna Duffy 8 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      I love this stuff! Why isn't there a class near me? I go once a week to Egyptian dance but I want jazz jazz jazz. And all that jazz

    • profile image

      Vanessa07 8 years ago

      Omg funny thing is... I say WooHoo All The Time! that became sort of my catchphrase or my signature line . . . Woo Hoo!

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Fabulous lens..Thank you so much for submitting it to my WEIGHT ISSUES - WHAT'S YOUR STORY? Group, it is an honor! :) 5*'s for sure.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      I had never heard of Jazzercise, sounds like fun! Welcome to the THE Weight Loss Group!

    • aka-rms profile image

      Robin S 8 years ago from USA

      Thanks for sharing.

    • AuntieTine profile image

      AuntieTine 8 years ago

      I'm inspired by your Lens! Thanks for lensrolling my "Start with Jazzercise" and good luck!

    • MissBuffySpears profile image

      MissBuffySpears 8 years ago

      I've never heard of this before, but it sounds like fun! I've taken jazz dancing and I love to work out so this sounds like it would be a lot of fun!

    • religions7 profile image

      religions7 8 years ago

      Great lens - you've been blessed by a squidoo angel :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Just revisiting lenses in the THE Weight Loss Group to say how proud I am of the quality of lenses in the Group and that I am so glad this is one of them. You have been Blessed by an Angel!

    • Jayhopson profile image

      Jayhopson 7 years ago

      Another great lens... ramkitten....Thanks!

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      The Weight Loss Group has survived all the recent changes on Squidoo! This lens is featured at Weight Loss HQ

    • profile image

      Leanne Chesser 6 years ago

      Fantastic lens about jazzercise . . . not sure if this is the right thing for me, but thanks for the info!

    • Kiwisoutback profile image

      Kiwisoutback 6 years ago from Massachusetts

      Great information about jazzercise. I've heard of it before, but I didn't really have much of a clue on what it was. Anything that can get people moving and enjoying it is a great thing.

    • DecoratingEvents profile image

      DecoratingEvents 6 years ago

      Wow, that is a lot of information! Very well put together and interesting. Thanks for sharing!

    • profile image

      Fit_Over_40_Buzz 6 years ago

      I just found your lens. I like it a lot. Thanks for building it. Gave you a thumbs up.

    • indigoj profile image

      Indigo Janson 6 years ago from UK

      Jazzercise sounds like a fantastic way to lose weight and get in shape... and get the endorphins going too! I like the idea of an incentive system to keep you going each week.

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