Fitness program, Jazzercise, Inc., reaches unprecedented Golden Anniversary. By Jill Rumbley-Beam
Jazzercise was created by Judi Sheppard Missett in 1969 with a single aerobic dance class based on classical jazz dance. Interest in Jazzercise grew rapidly, especially when Sheppard Missett moved the business to fitness mecca southern California in 1971. The first instructors were trained in 1970 and the business was franchised in 1983. By 1984, Jazzercise was declared the 2nd fastest growing franchise behind Domino’s Pizza.
Today, the company boasts 8,300 franchisees in 32 countries. With more than 200,000 customers dancing and sweating to Jazzercise choreography each year, millions of lives have been touched during this company’s 50 year history.
But first, Jazzercise hit Texas in 1979. Priscilla Dunckel, was the first area manager and was hired by Jazzercise, Inc. to find instructors for Texas. Cathy Renshaw was the first to be certified in 1979. She found out about Jazzercise from her mom, who lived in Poway, California. Cathy was visiting her mom and they both attended a Jazzercise class and Cathy knew right then and there she needed to be an instructor. The closest class, at this time, was in Austin. Cathy drove down to Austin to become certified and it cost her $45 to become an instructor. Cathy now teaches in Sherman, Texas.
Kathy Broussard was certified in 1980. She was a former elementary school teacher but she had a great passion for health and fitness. Kathy heard about Jazzercise from a teacher friend and the only class was offered at Skyline Recreation Center, now Lake Highlands North Recreation Center. Kathy says it was love at first “dance” and she became certified and she went from being a shy student to an instructor. Kathy taught at many City of Dallas recreation centers and now she happily owns a Jazzercise Center in North Dallas.
Lisa Cannon teaches Jazzercise in Denison, Texas. She actually went to certify in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The certification process had changed at that time, where everyone vying to be in instructor, was given 12 routines, to learn the technique, the business, and the routines in two weeks before you actually auditioned to be an instructor. Well her two weeks were up and she was to return to Albuquerque but low and behold, she was a semi-finalist with her audition as a Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader, so she was able to complete her certification in Dallas, Texas. She now owns and teaches classes in Denison, Texas.
Jill Beam was working for the Dallas Park and Recreation Department when she discovered Jazzercise. In 1980, an instructor by the name of Sharon Roseser walked into Kidd Springs Recreation Center and said she would love to teach Jazzercise. Jill had been teaching Jackie Sorenson Aerobic Dancing for a few years and was intrigued as to what Jazzercise was all about. The City of Dallas contracted with Sharon Roseser and Jill took her first class and was smitten with the program. Jill asked, how can I teach this program? Sharon informed her about the two week process and Jill attended the first workshop in Dallas, August of 1980, but also was unable to return in two weeks because of an obligation with the City of Dallas, where she was to chaperone children to the Jesse Owens games in Los Angeles, California. Well it just so happened that there was a Jazzercise workshop going on at the same time Jill was in California and she finished her workshop in California. Jill now teaches classes at the Lake Highlands Jazzercise Center and in Forney, Texas, where she resides.
So why do these instructors continue to be passionate about Jazzercise after 39 plus years. It’s because the rewards are many. It’s a way to keep mentally and physically fit. These fabulous four also agree that it’s fun to give the gift of fitness to our students and watch them grow mentally and physically. Jazzercise seems to attract good people and all four agree that the other benefit of teaching is the amazing friendships that have formed from teaching so many years. All four agree that Jazzercise brings an overall positive energy and feeling that you just can’t buy! The coined phrase Jazzercise has used for years is that it’s all about fun, fitness, and friendship.
Jazzercise believes you can create a stronger, healthier life through fitness. The company draws on passion to motivate and inspire customers, instructors, and employees to live healthier, fitter lives. Jazzercise develops fun and effective routines and products that enhance the well-being of people of all ages. Learn more about Jazzercise at