From Our Editors
It's undeniable: Jazzercise is a worldwide empire, spanning more than 3,400 locations and 32,000 weekly classes across the globe. It's also hip—gone are the leotards and legwarmers of the 1980s, replaced with a high-intensity blend of cardio and strength training performed to hits by chart-toppers from Meghan Trainor to Beyonce. The class formats, which vary according to different fitness goals, are just as diverse as the program's move set, with recent additions such as HIIT-based Fusion, Core, and Strike broadening the workouts' variety and application. Instructors cultivate a noncompetitive atmosphere where all are welcome regardless of age, build, or fitness background. This sense of community keeps Jazzercise devotees coming back, but so do the results; benefits ranging from weight loss and boosted core strength to increased flexibility and stress relief. Participants can expect to burn up to 800 calories in one pulse-pounding 60-minute class.
Jazzercise's continued success can be traced to the innovation of its founder, Judi Sheppard Missett. While teaching jazz dance in the 1960s, she decided to step away from tradition by offering an experimental class that allowed her students to simply dance without the judgment of mirrors or the constraints of rigid technique. Little did she know that this “just for fun” class was the prototype for what would become the Jazzercise sensation.