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Not just your momma’s workout class: Jazzercise

March 1, 2018

This boutique fitness studio has withstood the test of time.


It’s no mystery: boutique fitness classes are having a real moment. It seems like in the past 10 years, studios have popped up on every block. But, what if we told you that there’s one boutique fitness class that has been around since 1969 and is hotter than ever? It’s Jazzercise.


A few years back, I heard about the Jazzercise studio in Norwood when I saw a friend of mine raving on social media about how great of a workout it is. To be completely honest, the first thing that came to mind was neon leggings, leg warmers, and scrunchies. I didn’t realize the dance fitness craze made it out of the 90’s, and given that I was super focused on strength training and running at the time, I wasn’t open minded enough to consider it.


Fast forward to today, Allie Sollisch (the same friend on social media) made her love of Jazz official by becoming a certified instructor. She convinced me and Mer to come try a class. If anything, I thought it would be hilarious to watch Mer try to do a coordinated dance routine (she has so many strengths…. this is not one of them). But it turns out, you don’t really need dance skills to kill it in Jazzercise-- just an open mind and a will to learn and follow instructions.

 We walked in to class and the room was completely packed.  This already made us feel better, knowing that there were plenty of people so all eyes wouldn’t be on us and our… skills. I asked the gal at the front desk how long she had been with Jazzercise and she responded with a laugh: “oh, at least 20 years!” Talk about dedication.


The formatted class that Allie taught that night was Flip Fusion: “Targeted, muscle-carving sets followed by shorter blasts of cardio dance kickstart metabolism to keep calories burning for hours after the workout is over.” Lucky for Mer, it was a lot more strength focused, with only a few dance routines. What I loved about it was the diversity of movement. So often in fitness, I find myself repeating one move, focusing on one or two muscle groups. However at Jazzercise, you are constantly changing movement, using your hips, throwing your arms around, and, well, dancing, that you don’t even realize that it’s a workout. As a beginner, you are more focused on learning the moves that your concentration distracts you from the work being done, and then all of a sudden, class is wrapping up and you are on mat finishing up with ab work and stretches.


Jazzercise songs and choreography change quarterly (keeping the music current and the moves fresh), and each instructor is responsible for formulating their own class structure (so there’s a strong chance you will never take the same class twice). It also explains why all the ladies around us knew the moves before they were called out-- because they had done that song’s choreography before. Also, we found that Jazzercise is a serious movement (pun intended). There is a variety of class times and formats, and most people that take Jazz are dedicated and take multiple times a week.

 Turns out that part of Jazzercise’s evolution under current President, Shanna Missett Nelson (daughter of founder & CEO Judi Sheppard Missett) was to reinvent itself by keeping with current fitness trends, but not losing their identity. This meant adding in more class formats and incorporating strength training (think: free weights, balls, and resistance bands). She also wanted to turn women away from the mirror, and simply have fun. You’ll find Jazzercise offered not only at designated studios like in Norwood, but also in school gyms, churches, and rec centers (find the nearest Jazzercise class here) 

 Their social media and website boasts impressive weight loss and fitness success journeys of women losing 50, 75, 100 pounds by incorporating Jazzercise into their daily routine. And we believe it-- Allie’s smart watch indicated that she burned over 700 calories during our one hour workout.


So, if you like to dance (or at least like to try to dance), enjoy a workout that doesn’t *feel* like you’re working out, and are looking to add some fun fitness into your routine, then we think Jazzercise might be worth a second look. The environment is super welcoming, the community is strong and diverse (ages range from teens to women in their 70s), and you’re guaranteed to torch some energy. 


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