Jazzercise is All Grown Up

jazzercise-feature

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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

instructor: Renee

cost: drop in rate is $15*[/right] [line]

jazzercise-lunge

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.

Jazzercise-stand

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.

Jazzercise-punch

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.

Jazzercise-instructors

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!

jazzercise-renee

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Would you try Jazzercise?

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* Jazzercise kindly comped my walk in fee, but all opinions are my own.

18 Comments

  1. Susan J. January 14, 2013 / 10:12 am

    Thanks for coming to our Jazzercise Club–we do have a blast and it is a great way to exercise.

  2. Dina January 14, 2013 / 10:13 am

    So glad you gave Jazzercise a try! I checked it out in June with the same preconceptions you had and then the same observations. I have become a convert, attending 3-5 times/week at the Bethesda location. I love it! … and I’ve lost 20 pounds!

    • DC Fit Crasher January 14, 2013 / 10:10 pm

      Wow Dina – what an awesome story. Keep up the great work!

  3. Deborah January 14, 2013 / 3:05 pm

    Love your article and your concept for this blog. So nice to give your readers an insider look at all the great exercise options open to them in this area. I teach Jazzercise and love, love, love your article. You hit the nail on the head –from misconceptions about this fitness class to delivering an accurate picture of just what a class is really like! Thanks!

    • DC Fit Crasher January 14, 2013 / 10:11 pm

      Thanks for reading Deborah – hope the “insider’s look” at what a Jazzercise class is really like will help with those misconceptions. I had a lot of fun!

  4. Ashley January 14, 2013 / 6:18 pm

    Jazzercise has totally changed my life. I have always hated working out, no matter what type of exercise I tried. I never thought I would be a fitness person. For some reason, I decided just to give it a try back in September. Five months later, I go five times a week and I’m down 17 lbs!

    • DC Fit Crasher January 14, 2013 / 10:13 pm

      Ashley – thank you so much for sharing your story about Jazzercise. It’s all about finding something you love, right? And then, it doesn’t feel like “working out.” Congrats on the awesome weight loss – keep up the hard work!

  5. beth@cookingbydesign.com January 14, 2013 / 11:30 pm

    Great piece! I’ve been a Jazzerbabe since the early ’90’s & became an instructor when I turned 40 – 5 years ago. It’s a pure joy for me.

    • DC Fit Crasher January 15, 2013 / 7:55 am

      Glad you enjoyed it and thanks for reading!

  6. Ken January 15, 2013 / 7:36 pm

    Hey DC Fit crasher…You forgot about the guys. I have been doing Jazzercise for 2 and 1/2 years now. It is a great workout, you got everything else right. We have at least four guys who attend regularly at the center where I attend. Check it out guys, it quite a workout.

    • DC Fit Crasher January 15, 2013 / 7:45 pm

      Great point Ken! The studio I visited has 99% female membership, but that certainly doesn’t mean “no boys allowed.” So glad to hear your input and that you enjoy the workout. Keep it up!

  7. Ken January 15, 2013 / 7:37 pm

    You forgot at the guys. I have been doing it for 2 1/2 years now, its a great workout. Try it guys, you’ll like it.

    • Ken January 15, 2013 / 7:39 pm

      *about the guys…everything else is right in the article, and I enjoyed reading it!

  8. Gail January 19, 2013 / 3:29 pm

    I love Jazzercise! I’ve been there about one year, I’m going about five times a week – it’s a grat work out and you feel so great when your done.

  9. Gail January 19, 2013 / 3:31 pm

    Your going to LOVE IT! It’s a great work out and you feel so great when your done…

  10. Meredith January 19, 2013 / 8:58 pm

    Thank you for taking the time to write this article and help set the record straight about what Jazzercise is really like. I can confidently say that Jazzercise, and my locations awesome instructors, helped save my life. I go 4 to 6 times a week and have for the past year. Down just under 100 lbs. It is a great work out and tons of fun!!

    • DC Fit Crasher January 20, 2013 / 12:20 pm

      Wow Meredith – that’s an incredible story of getting your health back on track. Way to go!

  11. Amy July 28, 2014 / 2:25 pm

    Thank you so much for writing this review, complete with video. 🙂 I was contemplating a Jazzersize Groupon, but wasn’t sure I could bring myself to work out with Grandmas when I’m not even 30 yet. This provided great unbiased info.

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