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Get up and Jazzercise!

Southlake Jazzercise owner Tani Richards shares her personal story about Jazzercise’s positive impact on mind, body, friendships and energy

Article by Sally Crocker

Photography by Jazzercise Southlake and Christina Oakley

Originally published in Southlake City Lifestyle

Tani Richards walked into her first Jazzercise class in June 2019.  She wanted to change up her exercise routine and explore aerobics. That’s when she found the Southlake Jazzercise center and decided to give it a try.

“I’ve always been an athlete. Sports was my thing – softball, a little bit of basketball, and I’ve always liked music and singing,” she says. “I wouldn’t call myself a dancer, but I did want to give Jazzercise a try.”

The music is so important to immersing yourself in Jazzercise, and Tani says that’s one of the things she most enjoys about the classes and the body-changing workouts. Now that she owns her own studio and teaches Jazzercise, she advises her classes to “feel the music, let it speak to you, because it can change your whole day.”

The story of how Tani came to own a Jazzercise franchise in Southlake is an interesting one.

The first instructor she met turned out to be a teacher and a mom from her kids’ school. Tani enjoyed her first class and decided that Jazzercise was something she wanted to get into. It wasn’t long - just a few weeks in – when Tani was surprised to find a notification on her watch with her picture. The studio’s owner had taken a video and sent her a message saying, “Hey, look at you, you need to be an instructor!”

By that time, Tani had fallen in love with Jazzercise. After some consideration, she decided it might be fun to train for instructor.

“I pushed really hard to become an instructor because they liked my style, and everyone was so encouraging,” she says. “At first I felt like there was no way I could talk to students and engage in the routines at the same time, but Adrienne Menichini, who then owned the studio, said if I trained with her every day for six weeks, she’d have me ready for the stage. So I took the chance.”

Tani passed Jazzercise training and taught her first class in November 2019. From there, Adrienne said, “You’re ready to teach, so fly butterfly, go!”

Things changed a lot during COVID, as Jazzercise instructors learned to teach online. During that time, Tani used her talents and energy to keep students motivated even though they couldn’t be together in class. She was a star instructor with standout qualities.

After the studio reopened, Adrienne was ready to move on to other things and offered Tani a chance to make the studio her own. The timing felt right, Adrienne said. Adrienne had begun working with the corporate office to deliver online, on-demand content, and she knew Tani would be the best person to lead the local studio.

As a mom of four, with children ranging in age from 4-15, Tani had an already packed schedule. Taking ownership of her own Jazzercise center seemed like a huge leap, but Adrienne knew that Tani was ready to take Jazzercise Southlake to the next level.

“I thought about it, prayed about it, talked with my husband Shane and decided to take advantage of the opportunity. I was nervous because Adrienne is such a powerhouse – but when we announced the change, everyone was so excited and supportive,” Tani says.

In a little over two years after becoming an instructor, Tani became the new owner, and it’s now almost three years under her direction. Adrienne, the previous owner that Tani considers to be her “right hand,” still teaches a few times a week along with a team of 16 instructors. And in addition to Adrienne’s support, Tani’s sisters, Jalisa and Shameka, help in running the studio and managing social media.

“We definitely have an amazing village. I couldn’t do any of this without my team and I’m very grateful for each of them. I have a very supportive family. I consider myself good with structure and time management, and I find ways to devote my time to both Jazzercise and my family. It definitely works for me,” she says.

What Tani most loves about Jazzercise is meeting different people and being able to positively impact their lives.

“It’s so great to hear their testimonies, and it confirms that we’re motivating them, pushing them beyond what they thought they were capable of, and helping them both physically and mentally,” she says.

“To provide that hour of happy is what motivates me when I step on stage. You leave all your worries at the door and just come in and dance,” she adds. “It's not always just about losing weight. It can help get people out of a funk and take the worry and stress away for that hour of class. A lot of times when you start your morning that way, it affects your whole day positively.”

Tani feels that Jazzercise makes her happier and helps her be a better mom and wife.

Southlake Jazzercise member Marci Harper agrees with that sentiment, saying, "Jazzercise has completely transformed my life, my mind and the way I manage my emotions."

And member Courtney Bedell says, “Probably the highlight is joining the Southlake studio and meeting so many fantastic ladies who have welcomed me."

The studio is located at Southlake Blvd and Davis/Randol Mill.

Southlake Jazzercise is moving to a new space in the same shopping center at the beginning of 2024.

Why not start your new year with a class and try it out?

Jazzercise is a dance party that requires no experience. You can let loose to top music hits, get your heart rate going, and before you know it, you’ve burned calories and put a smile on your face. Southlake’s premier Jazzercise studio runs 40 classes a week to accommodate any schedule.

  • Jazzercise Southlake is great for both body and mind
  • Tani (right) with Shanna Missett Nelson, President and CEO of Jazzercise, Inc.
  • Tani and sisters Jalisa Smith (left) and Shameka Thomas (middle)

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