While teaching jazz dance in the 1960s, Judi Sheppard Missett decided to step away from tradition by offering an experimental class that allowed her students to simply dance without the judgment of mirrors or the constraints of rigid technique. In these sessions, she began infusing popular dance moves with specific fitness workouts to forge a distinctive blend of cardio exercise, strength training, and dance instruction. Little did she know that this “just for fun” class was the prototype for what would become the national fitness sensation known as Jazzercise.
Today, Jazzercise takes its aerobic techniques from a variety of sources that include jazz dance, hip-hop, resistance training, Pilates, yoga, and kickboxing. The class formats, which vary according to different toning goals, are just as diverse as the program's move set. Two-time Dancing with the Stars champion Cheryl Burke is a big fan of the improvisational routines, although her advanced skills aren't needed to get the most out of classes. Instructors cultivate a noncompetitive atmosphere where all exercisers—with the exception of those marked as cursed by jazz-hand palm readers—are welcome regardless of age, build, or fitness background.
After the birth of her first child in 2001, Baby Boot Camp’s founder and certified trainer and spin and Pilates instructor Kristen Horler wanted a postnatal fitness program that didn't require her to leave her baby at the door. Her solution was to start a suit of programs just for new and expecting parents where mothers could bond with their infants while soaking up the support and camaraderie of their peers. During Strollfit sessions, certified trainers and Radio Flyers equipped with outboard motors lead ladies through innovative routines that incorporate baby-filled strollers into yoga, cardio, and strength training. For long-term fitness, coaches encourage aspiring runners to break through the tape during the 5K training program, and Kristen's own Nutrition Solutions teaches the benefits of healthy-eating habits during a four-week program designed by registered dieticians.
Stoneworks Climbing Gym's climbers while away their days on the gym's vast top-rope, lead, and bouldering walls. The walls soar to the ceiling and bear holds with multicolored tape to delineate each climbing route, which start at 5.6 and vary in difficulty. The diverse set of routes and climbing difficulties have made Stoneworks an ideal gym for climbing the past 21 years and for competitions, such as the annual Boulder Joust.
Avid climbers themselves, the route setters and staff at Stoneworks are also guides, leading teams of beginner and skilled climbers into the mountains of Oregon for outdoor climbing. They also equip members with the skills needed to scale their routes in both group and private lessons that focus on technique, sport climbing, and vertical Twister. Kids are welcome to join the junior climbing team or summer camps.
Each of the guitar coaches at American Guitar Academy are certified in the school’s signature teaching method. Developed over 25 years, this house-honed instruction technique incorporates scientific research to help fingers learn to shred frets up to eight times faster than alternative methods. During private half-hour lessons, instructors guide budding rock stars aged 4 years and up through the basics of strumming chords and seamlessly stitching together riffs. These comprehensive lessons on classical, electric, or acoustic guitars are offered once a week with a live instructor or online and guarantee that students will be playing their favorite music within six months of training. Students may begin lessons without owning a guitar, but are encouraged to gain access to one quickly for mastering scales and the ability to solo with their teeth.
Staffed entirely by DMV–certified instructors, Oregon Driver Education Center has been filling potholes in the knowledge of novice and experienced drivers since 1987. The center's masters of the open road send teens and adults on the path to earning their driver's licenses and maintaining clean driving records with comprehensive DMV drive test prep courses and defense driving classes. With an intimate understanding of the unique challenges facing Oregonian motorists, ODEC also offers an Xtreme Driver Control course that focuses on navigating vehicles through rain, ice, and throngs of rabid snowmen. Additionally, the center's specialty courses teach precautionary practices to medically at-risk drivers.
As they enter the training circle at Curves, female guests come face-to-face with the smiles of other women. And just as points on a circle share a common distance from the circle's center, workout participants share the experiences of those nearby by trading stations throughout the 30-minute training session. One minute is spent on a piece of strength-training equipment built for feminine frames and designed to work two opposing muscle groups with a single movement. Exercisers then move on to a recovery station, where they run, jog, or dance to maintain heart rates and keep platforms in place during momentary losses of gravity.