There’s a dance party going on at Charlotte Hall Jazzercise
Burn calories, make friends
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. “ 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  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.”
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.