Jazzercise Image Credit: Entrepreneur
Jazzercise Image Credit: Entrepreneur

How Jazzercise Has Survived The Times

Jazzercise was once the most famous fitness brand in America. Today, that’s hardly true—but thanks to a unique franchising arrangement, it’s just as beloved as ever.

Molly Creeden

It is 9:45 a.m. on a Wednesday morning in Oceanside, Calif., and the crown jewel of the Jazzercise class schedule is hitting its stride. It’s called Dance Mixx, and it’s taught by Shanna Missett Nelson, the daughter of Jazzercise’s founder and CEO. Nelson says that Jazzercise prides itself on having “a little sprinkle of everybody in class,” and the more than 60 women who gather in this studio next to a Buffalo Wild Wings indeed represent a little bit of everybody. There’s one in the front row with hair dyed neon red, another near the windows dancing in her sandals, a lanky 18-year-old in sleek, forest green leggings, and a group of 40-somethings who call themselves the Mom Squad, who whoop and rib each other throughout the session.

“We try to come Monday through Friday,” explains Stephanie Rosenthal, one of the moms, as she cools down after class. “Saturdays are for sports, and Sundays are for church.” She first took to Jazzercise three years ago after she had a baby, but her friend Mindy Batt— another Mom Squadder—had been trying to get her to come for 20 years. “You get made fun of at first because they think it’s for old ladies,” says Batt. Rosenthal rejoins: “But I started coming, and my friends said, ‘You look amazing—what are you doing?’ ”

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