Charity & Grassroots in Tennessee

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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.

7715 US Highway 70
Memphis,
TN
US

The Holiday Market stuffs 40,000 square feet of the Nashville Convention Center with clothing, accessories, housewares, and gourmet food for sale. With merchants such as Gilchrist & Gilchrist Vintage Living, Cathy’s Antiques, or Emily G’s on hand, visitors can quickly browse a broad selection of stores without having to roller-skate through a mall. At the Girls’ Night Out event, guests peruse curated goods such as vintage jewelry and specialty desserts while listening to music and nibbling on hors d’oeuvres. Those attending the morning-preview event can bet in silent auctions or fill fists with discounted items while noshing on light breakfast fare. Morning shoppers also enjoy complimentary valet parking and gift-wrapping of purchases or any shopping companions finding it difficult to get into the holiday spirit. Each of the market events benefits charities backed by the Junior League of Nashville, an organization that promotes projects aimed at enriching the lives of children, women, and families.

2202 Crestmoor Rd
Nashville,
TN
US

YMCA of East Tennessee holds fast to its three-fold mission: to encourage healthy living, youth development, and social responsibility. Each of their five locations brims with cardio and weight equipment, as well as digital ActivTrax kiosks, which print out customized workout plans based on each guests' information. Instructors lead group fitness classes for adults and stacks of trench-coat-clad babies disguised as adults, offering sessions that range from kickboxing to water aerobics. In addition to specialized sessions for seniors, they also lead sports programs for kids, such as swimming, basketball, and karate, as well as host a youth-based leader's club.

The folks at YMCA of East Tennessee offer memberships to military families and host programs for kids who have dropped out of school or who have been suspended. Their scholarship program helps families send their kids to the YMCA's fun, safe, character-developing programs no matter their financial circumstances.

12133 S Northshore Dr
Knoxville,
TN
US

Chattanooga DanceSport's qualified instructors can assist dancers of all skill levels, from beginning two-step stompers to professional rug rippers. Private classes allow couples to learn together and solo-swingers to pair off with an instructor in any of the available dance styles, including Rumba, Lindy Hop, East Coast Swing, and California Raisin Shuffle. The main dance floor and its mirror-lined walls set the mood for group classes, which take place from 7–8 p.m. on select weekdays. During each class, a troupe of tyro trotters covers a specific style of body movin'—upcoming sessions include Rumba, Merengue, and the classic waltz.

4295 Cromwell Rd
Chattanooga,
TN
US

The Murfreesboro Symphony Orchestra sets the mood for the holiday season with a compilation of festive favorites led by guest conductor Joseph Hermann. Douse your ear canal with musical eggnog as violins pluck their strings and glockenspiels spiel their glocks to "O Holy Night," "Sleigh Ride," selections from The Nutcracker, and other aural wintertime classics. Special guests include the Riverdale High School Singers and soloist Diane Pulte, both of whom will stuff sensory stockings with quarter notes and treble clefs throughout the mellifluous evening. From your premiere seat in the majestic First United Methodist Church, you'll enjoy an up-close view of the professional symphony musicians as they coax your body into Yuletide-tinged hums, foot stomps, and restrained reindeer impersonations.

265 W Thompson Ln
Murfreesboro,
TN
US

Fireworks, carousels, and chocolate-dipped bananas can mean only one thing: the Williamson County Fair is in town. This year it rolls in to celebrate the summer with rides, exhibits, and live entertainment from top acts from around the country. Thrill-seekers may want to start at the midway, which corrals all of the adrenaline-pumping, eye-popping attractions into one convenient location. The Enterprise dares riders to experience its 85-degree-angled high-speed twirl, and the Pirate swings them back and forth in a full-size ship that re-creates the excitement of the high seas, from mounting colossal waves to mouth-feeding a seagull. Plenty of family-friendly rides, such as a carousel and kid-approved roller coaster, ensure fun memories for visitors of all ages.

A trip to the fair wouldn?t be complete without exploring live events, exhibits, and competitions. Musical guests take to the main and blue-grass stages to keep toes tapping all day long. Further exploration of the grounds leads visitors to daily exhibits, from an agricultural-equipment display and a BMX trick team to a petting zoo and nightly fireworks. Judges critique entries in various competitions, such as bread and pie baking, the Fairest of the Fair Pageant, and the Sing Your Heart Out competition.

4215 Long Ln.
Franklin,
TN
US