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Jazzercise, Inc.
IndustryPhysical fitness
FounderJudi Sheppard Missett
HeadquartersCarlsbad, California
Revenue$93 million for fiscal year 2015[1]
Number of employees
228 corporate staff[1]
DivisionsJazzercise Apparel, JM DigitalWorks
Websitewww.jazzercise.com Jazzercise YouTube channel
Jazzercise franchise, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Jazzersize Balloon

Jazzercise is a dance fitness franchise company founded by Judi Sheppard Missett in 1969 and headquartered in Carlsbad, California, United States.

Jazzercise combines dance, strength, and resistance training with popular music for a full-body workout. The company currently has over 8,300 franchisees worldwide in 32 countries.

Early history[edit]

Jazzercise Class in New Zealand, 1983

Judi Sheppard Missett created Jazzercise in Evanston, Illinois in 1969 as a student at Northwestern University. She was teaching at a dance studio and noticed her classes had high dropout rates. Realizing students were attending for physical fitness and not to become highly technically proficient in dance, Shepard Missett began to hold "just for fun" classes that began with a jazz warmup. These classes were eventually renamed "Jazzercise." Jazz dance came relatively late into Missett's life-in 1966, just after she graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in theater and dance. She signed up to study with renowned jazz choreographer Gus Giordano at his Evanston studios.

"(When) I started to study jazz dance technique . . . I thought, `This is for me!' " she says. She loved the funkiness and the pulsing energy of both the dance style and the music. Giordano invited her to dance in his company and become one of his instructors, which she did. Gus Giordano was a big influence in her life.

Growth and franchising[edit]

Sheppard Missett's family moved to Carlsbad, California, where she taught classes in local rec centers. Jazzercise quickly took off in San Diego and Sheppard Missett trained new instructors herself. Many of those first instructors were in military families, so as they moved around the country, and the world, new populations were continually introduced to the program. Initially using VHS videos, Sheppard Missett was able to train franchisees from a distance and began to sell franchise rights for Jazzercise studios across the country. In addition to the franchised classes, Sheppard Missett produced recorded Jazzercise programs for home use, starting with an LP entitled Jazzercise in 1981 which was certified gold in 1982.[2] Sheppard Missett produced a second LP in 1982 entitled More Jazzercise and released her first VHS Jazzercise workout called "Let's Jazzercise" a year later.[3][4] Today, Jazzercise Inc. still provides video at-home workouts in the form of Jazzercise On Demand, a subscription service that provides video classes via online streaming.[2]

Jazzercise in popular media[edit]

In Ron Howard's live-action movie adaptation of How the Grinch Stole Christmas, the Grinch's schedule has an hour booked for Jazzercise.[5]

In the episode of Taxi entitled "Louie Goes Too Far", Andy Kaufman (playing Vic Ferrari) suggests to Christopher Lloyd (playing Jim) that he take up Jazzercise as a way of meeting beautiful women.

On The Golden Girls, Bea Arthur (Dorothy) admits taking up Jazzercise in the episodes "The Stan Who Came to Dinner" and "The Audit".

In Troop Beverly Hills, the lead character, Phyllis Nefler, mentions that she hasn't been to Jazzercise in three weeks, after chasing one of her troop members who suddenly runs off during a troop meeting.

In the Futurama episode "Parasite Lost", the parasitic worms are seen Jazzercising Fry's muscles.[6]

The Flight of the Conchords episode "New Zealand Town" of their second television series features a song called "Fashion is Danger", which is a parody of 1980s music and style, and contains a reference to Jazzercise.

"Jazzercise Instructor" is featured as a job in The Sims 2.

In the third series of The Mighty Boosh, Howard Moon goes to Jazzercise classes.

In the Glee episode "Bad Reputation", a tape is found of Sue Sylvester Jazzercising to Olivia Newton-John's "Physical". In the following season's episode "Sexy", Holly Holliday is shown teaching a jazzercise class in which Will Schuester participates.

In the ABC hit show The Goldbergs, Beverly Goldberg is frequently portrayed referencing or stepping to Jazzercise.

On the October 9, 2012 episode of The Daily Show, Jon Stewart references Jazzercise in his opening monologue.[7]

In 2018 alone, Jazzercise has been featured in People magazine,[8] Harper's Bazaar,[9] and the Netflix series GLOW[10]

Featured in fictional Starcourt Mall in season 3 of Stranger Things, where Dustin Henderson and Steve Harrington chase a suspicious looking guy, who turns out to be a Jazzercise instructor.

Jazzercise is featured in season 10 of the anthology horror television series American Horror Story. [11]


  1. ^ a b [1] Archived January 4, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Grein, Paul. "General News: CBS Holds '82 Platinum Lead." Billboard (Archive: 1963-2000), Oct 09, 1982, 3-3, 70
  3. ^ "Retailing: New LP/Tape Releases." Billboard (Archive: 1963-2000), Nov 20, 1982, 26-26, 57.
  4. ^ "New Video Releases." Billboard (Archive: 1963-2000), Oct 15, 1983, 81-82.
  5. ^ http://www.nydailynews.com/archives/entertainment/2000/11/17/2000-11-17_jim_carrey_makes_one_mean_gr.html. Retrieved September 22, 2009. Missing or empty |title= (help)[dead link]
  6. ^ ""Futurama" Parasites Lost (TV Episode 2001)". IMDb. Retrieved 13 January 2015.
  7. ^ "Watch The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Online - Free at Hulu". Hulu. Retrieved 13 January 2015.
  8. ^ http://people.com/bodies/half-their-size-weight-loss-jazzercise/. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  9. ^ "How Women Became Obsessed with Losing Weight". 2018-02-14.
  10. ^ https://twitter.com/glownetflix?lang=en. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  11. ^ https://www.imdb.com/video/vi362790681

External links[edit]