Jazzercise in Thong Leotards

23 09 2011

Us with the Jazzercise Instructor

It was the moment China and I have been anxiously waiting for all week: a free Jazzercize class at the Carrillo Rec Cen!  I grew up watching Judi Sheppard Misset and her crackhead Jazzercise videos, so I was ecstatic to bust out our thong leotards, leg warmers, and sweatbands. I walked into China’s house to pick her up, and said “I look ridiculous,” but she replied, “yeah, ridiculously SEXY!”  And so we were off…

Jazz hands, china!

If you haven’t been to the Carrillo Rec Cen (Anacapa and Carrillo) since it was remodeled, you should check it out.  Jazzercise took place in the main room, which is huge, and surprisingly catered a full class.  Though the class is mostly women 50+, there were a few gentlemen: a young looking man, who obviously was dragged to class by his wife; a large foreign dude, who also happened to join my intermediate ballet class with absolutely no experience, but you gotta give the guy credit for jumping in there; and a 5 foot bald man who is probably a professor of the arts (this was just a guess from his facial hair and thick glasses).  Besides husband, Thor, and Professor McGilly, the class was full of golden girls. We were the only ones dressed for the part… well, there was one other woman with a super sweet outfit, but we were worried she would think we were making fun of her if we asked for a picture.

I was surprised that Jazzercise is actually a legit workout.  I broke a bit of a sweat, mostly because we were in the front, and I wanted to make sure we showed off our sexy dance moves.  We were having a blast, and by the looks of the people around us, so was everyone else.  I’m glad Jazzercise didn’t disappear after the 80’s because it’s way too much fun, and these women are getting a great aerobic workout.  It’s extremely important for elderly women to stay active, and they should have fun doing it too.

The class climbs up to moderate intensity cardio workout rather quickly.  The teacher provides a couple 8 counts worth of choreography for each song, and you pretty much repeat that for the entirety of the song.  Even if you have two left feet, you can’t really screw it up that bad. After the aerobic portion of the class reaches its “peak” (there is a graph relating this in front of the classroom), then it transitions to light weights and stretching (mats and weights are available at the rec cen).  I wouldn’t say this is much of a muscle strengthening class as it is aerobic, except for her 4 minutes of squats–those were killer.


Though I scrambled to leave work on time, squeeze myself into spandex and tug on double leg warmers over my shoes (a look I stole from one of the many Jazzrcise videos posted on my FB wall that day–thanks to my awesome friends!) on the ride over, we ended up being a couple minutes late. Yet this time we gave a whole new meaning to the term “fashionably late.” Thong leotards make a statement. An excellent statement. A statement that says YES. We’re ready and we’re serious! After we walked in Lillie asked, “front or back?” I felt guilty about being late so we started in the back of the expansive room, watching the instructor up on stage. After a warm-up and water break though we decided we really had to show off our awesome outfits so we skipped up to the front.

Now if you’re an expert dancer like Lillie, you could probably do the moves in your sleep. But if you come from little to no dance experience like myself, get excited because you’re going to feel like a rockstar! The instructor breaks down the moves and repeats the same series for most of the song so everyone can got it and by the end I was confident and adding some of my own funky style. With hair flips and shoulder shimmies, Lillie and I were back in the 80’s. Uh-mazing. We were getting so down with our bad selves that we broke an unexpected sweat and I wished I hadn’t worn tights, bike shorts and two pairs of leg warmers! Oh what a girl does for fashion! I started with my hair down–but I soon realized, if you’re getting serious you’ll need to bring a scrunchie and tie it up!

Jazzercize+Mat work=Mazzercise

Jazz Abs

After the aerobic portion we went to the back of the class again so we could take photos. I couldn’t help but watch the husband with a shaved head and tattoo (directly in front of me) do his squats and wonder if, 1.) he was actually enjoying himself, 2.) he had lost a bet, or 3.) he was just being a good sport for his wife. Regardless, he seemed to be getting into the moves and was probably a better dancer than me–though I must say my killer style made up for any shortcomings.

After some exercises with weights we got down on the mats for ab work. Lillie went straight into the “Call On Me” glute bridge (by the way if you haven’t seen this video, check it out:

“Pssst! Lillie! We’re not doing that!”  Whoops! It was so hard to resist. I have to say that was one thing I was bummed about, we never did bridges. And if I’m going to be completely honest, I’m not a huge fan of the country songs she played. But she did get us totally amped for her other songs and I have to admit she kept my spirits us with the “attitude” kick on the country song–a new favorite move you can be sure I’ll be busting out at the clubs. This class is totally repeatable.