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.
Dance Unlimited's graceful gurus nurture students' passion for rhythm and movement, schooling soft-shoers of all experience levels in a positive atmosphere. Taught by Dr. Nicole Rothman, the aerobic-dance hybrid Zumba class (Wednesdays, 7:15 p.m. to 8:15 p.m.) makes hearts race to the tunes and rhythms of Latin music, like a dog-sled team driven by a Mariachi band. The Ballroom/Latin class (Wednesdays, 8:15 p.m.–9:15 p.m.) alternates instruction on salsa, samba, tango, and cha-cha with swing, waltz, and other footwork favorites. Couples are welcome, but for those not living buddy-cop fantasies, a partner isn't necessary. Groupon customers are free to take all six of their lessons in a single category, or mix, match, and even take both on the same night. Bring appropriate floor-pounding footwear and call ahead to reserve your spot.
After teaching foreign languages and working as a sales rep, Alice Abrams realized that the biggest constant in her life—exercise—should be her next career move. Her 16 years of Pilates training prompted her to open Pilates of Boynton Beach, where she mans classes alongside her daughter, Elyssa Zion, and a squad of certified instructors. The curriculum shapes lean bodies with a variety of stretching and dance techniques. Mat and equipment Pilates work alongside Xtend Barre lessons to stretch muscles while improving posture, and Zumba classes incorporate festive music to fuel cardio choreography. All sessions, whether group or private, are meant to accommodate students of any skill level so long as they bring a permission slip signed by each vertebra.
Not many actors can say they've performed in a production directed by a 12-year-old, but Erin Coley has always had an instinctive sense of how to put on a show. Years later, she and her husband, J.R., founded Standing Ovation Performing Arts, assembling eight other experts in the field to encourage kids to get on the stage as early as possible. Improv comedy, puppetry, and playwriting help students express themselves while giving them the skills to deliver confident class presentations and rousing monologues on the futility of naptime.
A multi-faceted gym and innovative training facility, The Gym 111 offers all that you'd expect from a gym, including treadmills, free weights, fitness studios, and classes designed to improve everything from your golf swing to your overall quality of life. However, its features expand far beyond basic exercise, starting with its impressive staff members who each possess a bachelor’s degree and national personal-training certification. Despite their comparable credentials, trainers Errol, Bill, Ashley, Brandon, and Jay are hardly interchangeable. For instance, tennis professional Brandon leads the gym’s sport-specific and functional clinics, helping clients improve everything from their tennis serve to their overall fitness.
Since not every gym member has a sports-related goal in mind, The Gym 111 also offers personal training and a full schedule of original group fitness classes designed to improve both cardio and strength training amid a fun and supportive environment.