Crash Course: Put away the leg warmers and the unitards, ladies, because this isn’t your mamma’s Jazzercise class. While the name may spark visions of big hair and shiny spandex, today’s Jazzercise is a lot like what you find at other dance-based classes gaining traction in gyms across the city (think Zumba, Masala Bhangra, etc.). The difference? Jazzercise is the original dance-party-turned-workout, and takes its role as leader of the pack seriously. The classes blend aerobics, yoga, Pilates, strength training, and kickboxing to the tunes of Top 40 hits. Think of it as going out dancing with your girlfriends…while burning up to 600 calories and without the creepy onlooker at the bar. Click here for a full schedule of class times.[line] [left]where: 200 N Glebe Road, Lobby Level
bring: water bottle, non street shoes, towel
perks: free parking
sweat score: 5 out of 10 [/left][right]wear: what you’d wear to the gym
cost: drop in rate is $15*[/right] [line]
I admit it – when I heard that Jazzercise was still around, I was shocked. Wasn’t this the exercise phenomenon of the 80s, where ladies in unitards bopped and leg-lifted leg warmers to the tune of “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”? At least in my mind, that was totally the case. So when an email from Jazzercise of Arlington landed in my inbox, I started to break a sweat just thinking of the time warp I would have to keep up with. It would be Richard Simmons. Jane Fonda. And me.
So imagine my surprise when I stepped onto my designated purple square on the studio floor, bracing for impact, and heard Ke$ha come over the sound system. That’s right, the “I brush my teeth with a bottle of Jack” 25-year-old pop star was helping us kick things off. Mind. Blown.
That’s when it hit me. Jazzercise is all grown up and making a headline-worthy comeback. The total lack of leg warmers or leotards when I walked in should have been a dead giveaway, but the remaining dread I had about participating in a “Sweating to the Oldies” style workout was dashed within the first few minutes. The entire class was set to current pop music, including hits from Ptbull, Pink, Rhianna, Taylor Swift, and the ever ubiquitous Gangnam Style. To be honest, the entire hour felt like a night out dancing with the girls. Singing along at the top of your lungs optional.
A few things to know about Jazzercise:
- Jazzercise is the original dance aerobics class and got its start way before newcomers Zumba, Bhangra, and Dance Trance.
- Unlike other dance classes, there are no mirrors in any of the Jazzercise studios. No mirrors means no self-judgement and no need for self consciousness. Go nuts. The instructor is trained to give easy-to-follow verbal cues, so follow along with her and you’ll be just fine. It’s like a live version of the Dance Dance Revolution video game.
- According to the website, you can burn up to 600 calories in one class. I couldn’t tell you how many calories I burned, but if you want to reach that upper range, you’re going to need to come down with some serious dance fever. Go big or go home.
- Classes involve warm up, cardio dance segment, aerobic cool down, toning with weights, and a final warm down. Each and every segment is adaptable for all ability levels.
- New songs and routines are used every 10 weeks to keep things fresh. So, if you hate Ke$ha or Taylor Swift, stick it out for a few weeks and there’ll be a new crop of pop stars to dance with next time.
The Jazzercise Arlington crowd was absolutely awesome. From the first moment I walked in the door, I was greeted by friendly faces who helped me store my belongings in the row of lockers and walked me to the restroom to change. There is no changing room at the studio, but a bathroom stall always does the trick in a pinch.
One thing that blew me away was the incredible range of ages and abilities in the room. There were women in their twenties all the way into their 70s, those who had dancers bodies and those who didn’t, and each one was able to follow along and do the routines. The other thing that blew me away? The positive, fun, supportive environment that exploded from the dance floor throughout the entire class. Women were singing along, laughing, interacting with the instructor, and slapping high-fives. Kind of like this:
Renee was leading the class tonight. I could not get over her energy and passion. She was on the ball for every song, gave excellent verbal cues, and I would highly recommend her class for anyone who wants to try Jazzercise for the first time. Thanks Renee!
Would you try Jazzercise?[line]
* Jazzercise kindly comped my walk in fee, but all opinions are my own.