Jazzercise: Dance Yourself Into Shape


Energetic dances and dance-based exercise programs are fast-moving and fun. Dance in all its forms is a great way to get and stay in shape and to loosen up joints and muscles. Besides, dancing is fun.

Jazzercise combines elements of dance, resistance training,Pilates, yoga, kick-boxing and more to create truly effective programs for people of every age and fitness level. Increase your muscle tone, flexibility, balance, strength, andendurance using easy to follow movements.

Jazzercise, the forerunner of dance-based aerobics programs, was conceived in 1969 by a professional dancer named Judi Sheppard Missett. Like so many dance-based programs that have come along since then, it was launched in a dance studio rather than in a gym. In 1972, she was teaching it in a YMCA gym, and it spread quickly. It was the first program to franchise its instructors, and although it is now a multimillion-dollar corporation, Missett still leads classes and choreographs a new routine every 10 weeks to keep classes varied and lively. Classes use a musical medley of jazz, pop, country, funk, and classics as a backdrop for an ever-evolving routine.

The basic format is a warm-up, 30 minutes of aerobic exercise that’s a blend of jazz dance and studio exercises, a strength segment using hand weights, and a cool-down with stretching. Jazzercise formats now include Jazzercise Plus, which is similar to the original but in a 90-minute version; Simply Jazzercise, a toned-down program for beginners; Jazzercise Lite, which is for beginners, seniors, pregnant women, and significantly overweight exercises; and even musical chairs Jazzercise, a seated exercise using light weights or resistance for people of all ages with limited mobility.

Jazzercise boasts of being the World’s largest dance-fitness program, with 19,000 classes a week offered in all 50 states and 38 countries. More than 13 millions participants have taken Jazzercise classes, in its three decades, and some 450,000 people a week do now. The trend that Jazzercise set off continues to this day with styles of music and movement to suits various tastes.

How does Jazzercise improve your fitness?

What is a typical class like?

Each Jazzercise class is approximately 60 minutes. Here’s how the class flows:

  • A warm-up segment comprised of gentle rhythmic movements and isolations for individual muscle groups
  • An aerobic segment to increase cardiovascular fitness and burn calories
  • An aerobic cool-down segment to reduce heart rate
  • A muscle-toning segment with weights to strengthen the hips, thighs, butt, abdomen, upper torso and arms
  • A final cool-down stretch segment to return the heart rate to normal

If you took dance classes as a kid (or always wanted to), look for adults-only ballet, tap, modern dance, and jazz classes offered by many dance studios. Many studios even offer beginner classes.

Some Jazzercises:

Release Down and Roll Up-The following warm-up exercise will stretch your hamstrings as well as strengthen your arms and back.

  • Begin in a standing position with feet apart and facing forward.
  • Release your torso downward, leading with your chest.
  • Bend your knees, stretching your buttocks toward the ceiling.
  • Round your arms backward, lifting your elbows.
  • Release torso upward and straighten your legs.
  • Let your head, shoulders, and arms fall into place naturally.


Flick-Kick – Use control and muscle as you kick. Squeeze your quads as you extend the leg out. Remember to breathe and smile!

  • Starting position. Bring feet together. Arms at side.
  • Body supported on L leg, knee slightly bent. Kick R foot forward. Keep leg low and point toe. L arm extends forward. R arm extends to the side.
  • Bring feet together, arms at side.
  • Repeat on L side. Body support on R leg, knee slightly bent. Kick L foot forward. Keep leg low and point toe. R arm extends forward. L arm extends to the side.
  • Return to starting position. Bring feet together. Arms at side.

Heel Hop– Keep your torso tall. Flex your heels R and L. Heels touch out directly in front of your body. Make a controlled stopping point with your arms.

  • Starting position. Bring feet together. Arms at side.
  • Body supported on L leg, R foot flexed. L arm extended overhead. R arm extended out to the diagonal.
  • Feet come together. Arms at side.
  • Repeat on L side. Body supported on R leg, L foot flexed R arm extended overhead. L arm extended out to the diagonal.
  • Return to starting position. Bring feet together. Arms at side.

Jazz Square– Take four steps making a square on the floor. Arms swing naturally. Keep your body forward at all times. Use those legs! Have fun with this one!

  • Starting position. Bring feet together. Arms at side.
  • R foot crosses over L. (counts 1-2)
  • L foot steps back. (counts 3-4)
  • R foot steps to the side. (counts 5-6)
  • L foot steps front. (counts 7-8)
  • Return to starting position. Bring feet together. Arms at side.


The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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