Jazzercise: The Beginnings Of A Fitness Craze
Jazzercise was born after second-wave feminism was underway, and it helped to revolutionize fitness for women; its impact continues to be felt today. Prior to the 1960s, in the 1930s, there was a “figure salon” in Chicago which invited women to “soothe the nerves and tighten the curves,” but businesses like this one were owned by men and held “ladies days” which existed mainly to keep the proper distance between men and women. By the time Jazzercise was born, women’s liberation was transforming old ideas about women’s bodies and fitness. It was the right time for Judi Sheppard Missett to begin her business. Women like Jacki Sorensen developed “aerobic dancing” and Lydia Bach imported Lotte Berk’s barre workout from London, but it was Jazzercise that really caught on.