There’s a dance party go­ing on at Char­lotte Hall Jazzer­cise

Burn calo­ries, make friends

Maryland Independent - - Business - By CAROL SMITH csmith@somd­news.com

Cathy Farmer and Teresa Ward cel­e­brated one year of dancin’ and sweatin’ on Sept. 1 as the new own­ers of Char­lotte Hall Jazzer­cise on Po­tomac Way.

The two said their long-time con­nec­tion to the fit­ness pro­gram moved them to ac­quire the fran­chise in 2016, when its pre­vi­ous owner an­nounced plans to close.

“I was an in­struc­tor at that time, but Jazzer­cise has been a part of my life since 1990,” Farmer said. “And I couldn’t imag­ine my life with­out it.”

Ward said her Jazzer­cise roots date back to her youth and 2004, when she first took classes.

“My mom did Jazzer­cise all through my grow­ing up. That was her stress re­lief,” Ward said. “[2004] that’s when I started.”

Farmer and Ward said they teamed up and bought the busi­ness, then pooled their re­sources to make it their own.

“We chat­ted. We de­cided ‘OK, we could do this to­gether’,” Farmer said. “We could be a team and we could do this to­gether and pos­si­bly we could do some­thing re­ally great with it.”

Jazzer­cise is a dance­based, full body work­out pro­gram that first rose in pop­u­lar­ity dur­ing the 1970s.

Classes at the stu­dio are typ­i­cally struc­tured as one-hour chore­ographed ex­er­cise ses­sions that blend car­dio, strength and stretch rou­tines, all set to cur­rent top mu­sic hits.

“Jazzer­cise as a pro­gram, I think, is a fast­paced dance party,” Farmer said. “Get your heart rate up, get some sweat pour­ing.”

The stu­dio sched­ules 25 classes a week in a va­ri­ety of for­mats taught by cer­ti­fied in­struc­tors, in­clud­ing yoga and Pi­lates classes.

Ward said “Dance Mixx” is one of the more pop­u­lar classes of­fered.

“You do your car­dio. That’s 40 min­utes,” Ward said. “Then the last 20 min­utes of class, you do strength and stretch rou­tines.”

Farmer said there are also 30- and 45-minute “all strength” classes that open and close with a stretch rou­tine.

To take the “hop” out of the work­out, Farmer said a “low im­pact” ver­sion of each class is avail­able.

“Just be­cause it’s a low im­pact class, it does not mean you have to do low im­pact,” Farmer said. “You can add the hop in at any time. Or if you want to skip in­stead of march­ing, you can do that.”

The two said stu­dents of all ages are wel­come to at­tend, and that no spe­cial ex­pe­ri­ence or skill is needed. Stu­dents can also take their first class “for free” to see if the pro­gram is right for them.

“Any and all can come,” Farmer said. “You want to come in and check it out, come in and check it out.”

“You just need a good pair of shoes,” Ward said. “And, I guess, the abil­ity to kind of let go ... you can make a class as hard or as easy as you want it to be. It’s all up to you.”

To sign up for classes, Farmer said peo­ple can “walk in, they can sign up on­line, they can call us on the phone, they can con­tact Jazzer­cise, or Face­book mes­sage.”

“Right now our spe­cial is $10 to join and the rest of Oc­to­ber [2017] for free with a 12-month com­mit­ment,” Farmer said. “Nor­mally, it’s a $75 join fee and then you pay for your month.”

Farmer said a sin­gle visit will cost $15 for stu­dents who are not ready to join.

Ward said the stu­dio also pro­vides free child care ser­vices dur­ing four des­ig­nated classes of the week.

Mary Blake Cham­ber­lain of Me­chan­icsville said she’s in the stu­dio at least three days a week, tak­ing Jazzer­cise, Pi­lates and yoga classes. She said her two of her sis­ters also at­tend.

“It’s not like the old Jazzer­cise,” Cham­ber­lain said. “It in­cor­po­rates stretch­ing, aer­o­bics, weights and floor work. It uses Pi­lates and mats, and they have bands and balls. So, you get a whole work­out.”

“There’s all ages there,” Cham­ber­lain said. “No­body has to move at a cer­tain se­ries or cer­tain rhythm, you do it at your pace … I’m ad­dicted to it … I love it. The peo­ple in there, the in­struc­tors, you get some­thing dif­fer­ent from ev­ery­body. The in­struc­tors are so good and so friendly. It’s good ca­ma­raderie.”

Eighty-three year old Joan Massey of Hugh­esville said she at­tends classes five days a week to stay “flex­i­ble” and “in shape.”

“I think they’re great. They’ve done a won­der­ful job with their stu­dio,” Massey said. “You make a lot of friends there … it’s a lot of fun and it’s en­joy­able. Peo­ple should come. They go out of their way to make it fun and be­fore you know it, the hour’s up.”

Farmer and Ward said there is more to Jazzer­cise than just the ex­er­cise.

“Jazzer­cise is about long-term friend­ships re­ally,” Ward said.

“We have about 120 stu­dents on the books. And they do things to­gether out­side of Jazzer­cise,” Farmer said. “They met through Jazzer­cise. They may have been friends be­fore Jazzer­cise, then one friend would come and bring an­other friend or sis­ters.”

Go­ing for­ward, the two said they will con­tinue with their fo­cus to “get the word out” and in­crease their stu­dent base in the area.

“You just need to get in the door,” Ward said. “Try it once and you’ll be hooked. If you need a sup­port sys­tem, it’s right here.”

STAFF PHOTO BY CAROL SMITH

Teresa Ward and Cathy Farmer cel­e­brated their first year in busi­ness on Sept. 1 as the new own­ers of Char­lotte Hall Jazzer­cise on Po­tomac Way.

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