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How TikTok brought new life to a 1980s fitness trend

A recent Bloomberg story investigated the enduring success of Jazzercise, Inc.

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Yvonne Serecigni, right, rehearses a dance routine with the Miami Heat Golden Oldies in Pembroke Pines, Fla., Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2007. Born out of a Jazzercise program, the Golden Oldies were the NBA’s first senior dance team.

Lynne Sladky, Associated Press

More than 50 years after its launch, Jazzercise is still thriving, in part because it’s found a way to connect with young people on Instagram and TikTok, according to a recent Bloomberg report on the dance-based workout style.

The company’s founder and CEO, Judi Sheppard Missett, told Bloomberg that Jazzercise has never shied away from opportunities to adapt.

“We always put our customer ahead of everything,” she said.

The company’s ongoing success also stems from its early adaptation of streaming technology, Bloomberg reported. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic led to a mass cancellation of in-person workout classes, Jazzercise allowed participants to watch classes and complete workouts within their own homes.

“Jazzercise On Demand went from 4,000 subscribers at the start of March 2020 to 60,000 by the end of the following month,” the article noted.

Although Jazzercise is often associated with the sweatbands and spandex leotards of the 1980s, classes today hold little in common with classes in the past. Participants can still expect to spend much of their time dancing, but they’ll be grooving to modern hits instead of older pop tunes.

“Today’s classes weave in high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and contemporary music and feature attendees in the typical gym kit of leggings, shorts, sports bras and tanks,” Bloomberg reported.

The company’s website tackles out-of-date ideas about Jazzercise head on, saying that its dance-based workouts are not just for moms.

“It’s true that we were the original dance party workout. But today the leotards — and the ’80s — are long gone and our classes are way too hot for legwarmers,” the Jazzercise website says.

The company, which was founded in 1969, now includes “8,000 franchisees teaching 32,000 classes each week worldwide,” according to Bloomberg.