Reopening of Jazzercise in Hartford, West Bend, Slinger, and Dodge County | By Stefanie Kowaleski

May 31, 2020 – Washington Co., WI – Jazzercise…I know…I know…you’re thinking leg warmers and leotards and big hair.  I get it!

That’s what I thought too when I walked in the doors of Jazzercise Hartford 12 years ago.  I was looking to lose some leftover weight from pregnancy.  I needed a place that offered childcare.  And I needed a little “me” time.
With very few fitness options in Hartford at the time, Jazzercise was it!  Luckily for me, I quickly fell in love with the music and the instructors and I was hooked!  The hour flew by and I left class feeling invigorated and energized!  I loved it so much, I became an instructor just 6 months later.

Fast forward to January 2019, and I found myself as the new owner of four Jazzercise locations.

My instructor team of 22 worked hard to create a second home for our members.  We focused on building a community and a safe haven for our customers.  A place they could come, no matter their shape, size, or background.  We delighted in welcoming new members, introducing them and helping them feel at home.

They walked into Jazzercise looking to lose a jean size, (just like me 12 years ago!) but left their first class, realizing they had chased and plied into a community of women who “had them.”

Whether it be a good day, or a bad day, no matter what they were personally going through, they could count on that one hour of Jazzercise to lift their spirits and get their minds off of it all.

As the leader of this community, I had no idea what to do when we closed our classes on March 16.  We are group fitness!  What does one do if we can’t be a group??!!!  Well, just as Jazzercise has been doing for over 50 years, we pivot.  And pivot fast!

Jazzercise has held it’s baby, it’s unique choreography, close to her chest for 51 years.

We have strict rules on how the choreography can be used.  On top of that, Facebook has strict rules on music copyrights.  They came together selflessly and lifted their rules so we could provide our Jazzercise customers with LIVE Facebook classes they could do at home!

By April 1, my instructor team turned their basements, garages and decks into dance studios. Five days a week, I would move my kids from their homeschool (my kitchen table), set up my tripod and iPhone, click a few buttons, and transform my kitchen into my studio.  I would greet our members by name and have quick Facebook conversations before class.

Once I hit that music, it was just like we were together again.  We may have been separated by this virus, but for that hour, everyday, we were the same strong, fierce community of women we have always been.  For that hour, we weren’t nurses and teachers.  We weren’t career women suddenly turned stay at home moms.  We weren’t worried about a virus, or our jobs, or the economy.

For one hour everyday, we didn’t miss people, as we had each other and we were doing what we loved to do.  We had our stress relief back and we were once again unstoppable!

I taught my final class from my kitchen on Tuesday.  On Monday, June 1, we will reopen 3 of our 4 studios.

We will welcome our members back with open arms, so to speak.  We will dance on Xs to keep us 6 feet apart.

We will sanitize weights before and after class and we will wash our hands repeatedly.

We will continue to offer our Facebook LIVE classes for those who aren’t ready to come back, but mostly we will shift our focus to getting back to normal.

We will get back to our “me” time.  We will get back to being who we were before this all started.  And we will do it together.  Because if there’s one thing we learned in all of this, is that we are Stronger Together.

Jazzercise of Hartford, West Bend, Slinger, and Dodge County offers 58 classes between  four locations, 7 days a week.

Check us out at Jazzercise.com or message us today!

Stefanie Kowaleski

Owner, Jazzercise of Hartford, West Bend, Slinger, and Dodge County 

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