When you hear the word “Jazzercise,” leotards and legwarmers might come to mind. But leotards and legwarmers are long gone—you just have to dress ready to sweat.
In 1969, Judi Sheppard Missett laid the foundation for boutique fitness with the creation of Jazzercise. This dance-based fitness program focuses on performing novel moves and connecting with music. These are great ways to continually increase brain pathways and stay healthier for longer.
“People may think that Jazzercise is cardio-dance only, but we also incorporate strength training into every class. We even have specific strength training formats now,” says Marketing Coordinator and instructor Erin Van Kirk. “We’re at the forefront of what research is showing exercise needs to be. We stay on top of not just the trends, but what the research says is important as we age.”
Jazzercise ATX is a home away from home for participants young and old, boasting 45 group classes per week. Given that it is the sole premier center for the Greater Austin area, those participants come into the Lakeline Mall area from Liberty Hill to Hutto to Lakeway. Owner Chrissy Hardin is at the helm, encouraging personalities to shine through carefully curated choreography.
“I’m a Jazzercise brat. My little brother and I grew up going to the YMCA where we would do Jazzercise after school. My mom would get there and do her class, and we would sit in the back, do our homework, and eat a snack,” says Hardin. “After I had my kids and we had just moved to Houston, I didn’t know anybody. The first thing I thought was, ‘Where’s the local Jazzercise?’ When I moved to Austin, I did the same thing and immediately had a community.”
Following her first class in Dallas alongside her sister-in-law, and later her own introduction to the Austin center, Van Kirk similarly found her community through Jazzercise. It evolved into a safe space that went beyond the physical workout.
“I have five kids and when I found out I was pregnant with my fourth, I was a bit overwhelmed. I remember going to class and there was a song that said something like, ‘You can do this, this is where you’re meant to be,’” says Van Kirk. “I told the women in my class right away that I was pregnant. Not only was it important to have their support because I don’t have my actual family living close by, but when I needed to go to appointments, I always had someone to babysit my kids.”
As moms, Hardin and Van Kirk find great value in providing a stress-free environment for parents and guardians through Jazzercise ATX. By offering free child care during class, the center emphasizes the importance of maintaining friendships and staying connected. At its core, Jazzercise is about taking care of one another.
“The year of the 50th anniversary of Jazzercise, we were hosting a big Thanksgiving Day class. Corporate had put together a set of songs through the decades, and there were 50 people in the room,” says Hardin. “We ended with ‘Last Dance’ by Donna Summer. I was looking out at the crowd and the energy brought me to tears. Seeing everyone smile and have a moment, you think about how many people’s lives you touch.”
Let your guard down when you sign up for a full-body workout at Jazzercise ATX! Learn more at jazzercise.com.
“I always tell people after my classes that they have homework. It’s to take their happy, positive, radiant energy out into the world and spread it like glitter.” -Chrissy Hardin