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’80s Jazzercise at Videology

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

for The Brooklyn Paper
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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.

Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

SwampYankee from runined Brooklyn says:
thousands of gyms in the City where people can go to exercise. When people look great, other look at them. Or, just could just make yourself look like a silly, attention starved transplant just so people will LOOK AT MEEEEEEEEEE! OH MOMMY PLEASE LOOK AT MEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!
Jan. 30, 2014, 5:17 am
bkmanhatposeur from nubruklyn says:
"She's a maniac..maniac..maniac!"
Flash dance baby!
Jan. 30, 2014, 8:18 am
SwampYankee from runined Brooklyn says:
These folks just scream "Brooklyn-Based" instead of Brooklyn born
Jan. 30, 2014, 8:56 am
Vinny from Staten Island says:
They're just dressing up like roided out 'brooklyn born' gym rat mooks circa 1995.
Jan. 30, 2014, 9:10 am
Pat I. from 70's Brooklyn says:
I bet they wear Polo shirts with popped collars, use ironic cellphones the size of a shoe box and drive DeLoreans.

What a bunch of dweebs. Go to a real gym!
Jan. 30, 2014, 11:20 am
Karla Misjan from Bushwick says:
I wish I drove a DeLorean and had a Zach Morris phone.
Jan. 30, 2014, 11:33 am
SwampYankee from ruined Brooklyn says:
good joke Interloper. Guess you stole that from the same place you stole your neighborhood.....me!
Jan. 30, 2014, 5:09 pm
Joe Black from BK says:
cuz everyone knows a gym full of real brooklynites would be a sausage party of sweaty roid-heads with basketball shorts down to their ankles trying to impress the one girl who goes there
Jan. 30, 2014, 9:52 pm
Disguised Yup from Whitepicketfencia, Wiscomichifornia says:
Nasal nasal nasal. Nasal naaaaasal nasal, nasal nasal. Nasal nasal nasal nasal nasal nasal nasal.
Jan. 31, 2014, 7:53 am
Diehipster from his mom's basement says:
whine whine whine transplants whine whine ruining Brooklyn whine whine
Jan. 31, 2014, 9:01 am
Stephanie from Oregon says:
Dear Meredith,

As a Certified Jazzercise Instructor, I know you won't be surprised that myself, and hundreds of other instructors were quite offended by the article posted in your local paper. And I ask, did you do any research on Jazzercise before you quoted Kaitlyn Wylde? Because I know she did not.

You may be surprised to know that Jazzercise has been around for 45 plus years. The most long standing, successful workout program to date. Not run by Suzanne Somers, or Jane Fonda. It is NOT a class that you will find taught in a gym alongside other classes like Yoga, Zumba, or Spinning. It is it's own entity. It's a Franchise. Class owners have their own locations all over the world. France, Germany, Mexico, Japan.........and of course the US.

Ms. Wylde was quoted as saying" It's hard to imagine barely 30 years ago Jazzercise was cool and taken seriously, empowering women to reinvigorate their workout....and now it's just a joke." To you Ms. Wylde I suggest you find a class near you and go in. Take one. There are many different options available. We offer cardio dance including strength in an hour workout. You can burn an average of 600 calories per workout!! I guarantee you will have a different attitude upon leaving.

Ashley, LeighAnn, Karla, and Matthew. Shame on you. You are in the business of motivating people. You represent your company SyncStudio and from what I read, all you stand for is exactly opposite of what I am reading in this article and what was quoted by Karla.

Karla, you say you are dedicated to aligning healthy bodies with healthy minds and you breed positivity. Yet you quote "It's a terrible workout, it's a silly stagnant way to move you're body. Certainly entertaining though." That does not breed positivity.

Ashley, you say you are open and motivating to the environment. You foster a community of active and positive people. Dedicated to spreading your love and positive thinking. Matthew, you say it's your business to make people feel as comfortable as possible. And LeighAnn, you were advised by a doctor to take control of your health due to weight. you started taking group fitness classes which was a positive transformation physically and mentally. You motivate and take charge.

I believe it's my job to be the best at what I do. I also believe It's critical to be enthusiastic and encouraging. If I have a student that wants to try another exercise program I encourage it. Plenty of my students have chosen Jazzercise because they do not want to go to a gym. Or other workouts are just not for them.

Karla, I walked into my local Jazzercise Fitness Studio 70 pounds overweight in 2008. (I had belonged to a gym for 5 before that and had never gone.) I fell in love. It was fun, the music was fantastic, the people were great. I could dance and sing. I loved the instructors. I started losing my weight. Every week. It took less than a year.... So please. Don't make a blanket statement saying it's silly and stagnant. Because, it's my opinion you have based your's on watching a youtube video from the '80's and not attended an actual class.

Your studio has been around since 2010. Judi Sheppard Missit is in her 70's and still amazing. Still teaching and still creating choreography. I feel when your SyncStudio has been around for 45 years like Judi, then maybe just maybe you'll have the right to make a joke or two. But until then, please, respectfully. Please stop.
Feb. 1, 2014, 3:06 pm
Lisa from Maryland says:
Says a lot about a gym that the only way to promote their business is to make fun of someone else's. I dare you to invite a real Jazzercise instructor into your facility for a true demonstration of what a real Jazzercise class is all about.

I'm sure your fitness classes have evolved in the last 30 some odd years. You'd best believe Jazzercise has not only evolved, but lead, the fitness industry for more than 45 years.

Sign me,

No legwarmers Lisa
Certified Jazzercise instructor and franchise owner since 1988
Feb. 1, 2014, 4:53 pm
Kristin says:
Dear Meredith,
As an 11 year Certified Jazzercise Instructor and someone who values professionalism and ethics in my job, shame on you for not showing the same in yours. I can only assume a top rule in journalism is to do your proper research, which you unfortunately, did not- as shown by your opening statement that Jazzercise is "back!". A simple 5 minute search of Jazzercise would have shown you that we are, indeed, a very successful, current corporation. Instructors are franchise owners and we have consistently been ranked among top franchises to own in studies across the country. (http://www.entrepreneur.com/franchises/jazzerciseinc/282474-0.html#)
I whole-heartedly agree with every word my fellow instructors have posted on here, and I can only hope you take the time to do your job properly next time before insulting the livelihood of so many hard-working, passionate people.
Feb. 1, 2014, 5:24 pm
Deborah from Fairfax Va says:
Poor fact checking for this article. Jazzercise is not "back," because it never went away. This highly successful franchise has been delivering safe and effective workouts around the world for decades. Jazzercise has nothing to do with Suzanne Somers or Jane Fonda. It's a home-grown, family owned and operated business with franchises in the United States and 32 countries around the world. Yes, Jazzercise dates from the 1980s, but it has evolved just like any time-tested company to meet changing tastes. I guess the person quoted in the article has not stayed current with what's being offered in the fitness industry. It's great to kick back and have fun, Videology, but why not try doing it in a professional way. Ditch the mean-spirited and uniformed jabs at a program that you've clearly never tried.
Feb. 1, 2014, 10:49 pm
NYPD from NY says:
Yeah, like SwampYankee has ever seen the inside of a gym.
Feb. 2, 2014, 11:28 am
FancyFeet from Brooklyn till i die says:
I can't believe that Jazzercise folks chose to comment on this - quite silly isn't it? Obviously these SYNC gals just want to have fun, the event was hosted in a bar on a saturday night - and COME ON that video is friggin' hilarious - even Misset would probably laugh at herself! I'm pretty sure these ladies have a sense of humor and aren't trying to make fun of anyone outright. I would know - I go to their studio and love the positive energy they foster! No judgments whatsoever and a truly pleasant environment. I think what Karla was saying about it "not being a good workout" is in comparison to the high-intensity cardio party that is a SYNC cycling class. If you are going to move that boogie-body, why not really move!
Feb. 2, 2014, 6:20 pm

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