Jazzing it up: Williamsburg fitness studio resurrects ’80s aerobics fad

Jazzing it up: Williamsburg fitness studio resurrects ’80s aerobics fad
Photo by Elizabeth Graham

Break out the spandex and leg warmers — Jazzercise, the aerobics craze of the 1980s, is back!

Well, it never really went away, as you can still do a modern, updated form of the dance fitness fad at some gyms today. But for one day at least, you can workout to the vintage version when Williamsburg bar and video store Videology hosts its “Suzanne Somers Workout Party!” on Feb. 1.

The throwback exercise event will be led by instructors from nearby SyncStudio, which normally offers classes in cycling and yoga.

“We’re really just about bringing people together in a fun workout environment to try and get rid of the whole stigma that working out has to be so serious,” said Karla Misjan, a yoga instructor at the studio. “We thought this would be another fun, silly way to get people together.”

Misjan was inspired to throw a Jazzercise party after viewing a YouTube clip from the mid-’80s of Jazzercise founder Judi Sheppard Misset. In the clip, a heavily-tanned, leotard-sporting Misset leads a workout set to the Bar-Kays’ “Move Your Boogie Body” and spouts enthusiastic words of encouragement, such as, “Shake it, honey!”

“I’m pretty sure that Kristen Wiig stole all of her characters from this video,” said Misjan.

After some sleuthing, Videology’s Kaitlyn Wylde was able to track down the original hour-long video — on VHS, of course — for the ironic dance party.

“It’s hard to imagine that barely 30 years ago this was cool and people took it seriously,” said Wylde. “It was this thing that was empowering women to reinvigorate their workout, but now it’s a joke.”

Indeed, don’t expect to sweat too much in your spandex at Videology.

“It’s a terrible workout,” said Misjan. “It’s a silly, stagnant way to move your body. It’s certainly entertaining though.”

Adding to the entertainment factor will be drink specials and a costume contest for the best dressed jazzerciser. At stake? A “really good” SyncStudio membership, said Misjan, and goods from American Apparel. As for what to wear, think lots of spandex, side pony tails, tube socks, big T-shirts over tights, and “total body-hugging, hideous ’80s neon lycra,” suggested Wylde.

“I’m really hoping that some people will be brave and wear a spandex thong leotard,” said Wylde. “But I’m being optimistic.”

“Suzanne Somers Workout Party!” at Videology [308 Bedford Ave. at S. First Street in Williamsburg, (718) 782–3468, www.videology.info], Feb. 1 at 5 pm. Free.