Let’s Jazzercise!

A few weeks ago, my friend Jill invited me to join her at a women’s retreat. Instead of relaxing by a lake and basking in the wisdom of remarkable ladies, Jill asked me to put on a leotard and grapevine around as a co-emcee moonlighting as a Jazzercise instructor.

Naturally I was in.

Jill and I have been dying to introduce our Jazzercise instructors at a women’s event for YEARS. When we first thought of the idea, Jill was 43 months pregnant. Can you imagine Jill bouncing her way through a routine with a pregnant belly? HILARIOUS! Unfortunately (Jill would opt to use the word “thankfully” here), she now has the figure of a normal person. No unborn children were jostled as a result of this bit.

Our first order of business was research. Although the two of us both participated in Jazzercise in some form or fashion back in the day, (read: we watched our moms watch the Jane Fonda videos) we thought we should revisit some of the well-known catch phrases. We called our friend Country, a former exercise instructor, who immediately offered a few interjections that we should shout in our routine. These included “pulse it,” “hurt so good,” “feel the burn” and “pelvic tilt.” (“Pelvic thrusting” was too tacky back then.)

Courtney also offered the following video as inspiration:

I can not handle thew awesomeness of this video and am proud to annoucne that Jill and I committed to owning the moment just like the lady in the thong onesie.

Speaking of thongs, our next order of business was wardrobe. My favorite part of the weekend was explaining to the ladies who asked, “Where did you get those leotards? They look exactly like what I wore in dance class!”

I’m happy to say, dear reader, that the leotards are vintage. That’s right. Because Linea Ray never throws anything away, I was able to secure the leotards that I actually wore in drill team class once upon a time. I simply called my mama and asked her if she knew where she kept any of our old dance leotards? She didn’t even skip a beat.  She told me that she knew exactly where they were.  She babbled on the phone as she headed upstairs to my old room. She pulled open a drawer and asked me how many I needed?

  1. Notice: I love that she pulled open a drawer. These leotards were not in the attic. They were not tucked away in a box on top of the closet shelf. They were in a drawer. If she needed to make a quick getaway due to a house fire, these would be the items that she could quickly throw onto the bedspread before folding it like a Tootsie Roll and making a run for it.
  2. The fact that she asked me how many I needed made me smile. Of course I had choices!

Mama came through big time for us. We were able to have a costume change for each walk-on bit, thanks to the six leotards Mama kept in a safe, dry, readily available space for the last two decades. We added a few brightly colored leg warmers from my friend Natalie and some 80s-inspired earrings from friend Connie, and the look was complete. The pièce de résistance was our fake ponytails. They really pulled the outfit together. Don’t ask me why we spoke in New Jersey accents — it just felt right.

As someone who is on the doorstep of 40, I’m pretty proud of myself for squeezing into those leotards for the sake of a good laugh. I can do anything with Jill by my side and I’m incredibly thankful that I was able to perform beside her once again.

Having a killer outfit for Halloween is an added bonus.

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October 19, 2015 10:34 pm

That video absolutely cracked me up! Dancing with the Stars has definitely come a long way 🙂 Kudos to you for fitting into your old drill team leotards…mine were not so carefully stored and disintegrated long ago (probably best since I couldn’t fit into them now anyway!)

October 20, 2015 11:18 am

Not only is it a ponytail–it is a SIDE ponytail!

I didn’t do jazzercise in the 80s–instead I chose to belong to the Richard Simmons’ Anatomy Asylum, which opened nationwide in the early 80s. The instructors wore red full length unitards and not to be outdone, I found a shiny blue unitard! I even tried out to be an instructor. I would have loved to see this in person.

October 20, 2015 12:07 pm

That video was all kinds of awesome. Now you have a post a video of you and Jill!!!

October 20, 2015 1:23 pm

That video made. my. day.

You girls are owning those side ponytails 🙂

October 21, 2015 10:41 am

This reminds me of when my friend and I did a skit at church to promote a women’s retreat. We were Praise-R-cise instructors. Since it was at church we thought leotards would be inappropriate so we made hot pink t-shirts with a Praise-R-Cise logo on it. Needless to say, we were a big hit.

October 21, 2015 4:46 pm

Ok – first time commenting after a couple of years of reading your recaps, which I love, by the way.
what prompted this? THAT video. a) the song is STILL in my head b) i just sent that thing to 18 different people – I need to know im not alone in thinking that is the most hilarious thing Ive seen since “prancersizing” (google it, I beg you, if you havent seen).
Would love to have seen your Jazzercise instructors – pulse it – too funny!

December 3, 2015 6:38 am

Have you seen that very workout video set to Taylor Swifts “shake it off”? Uncanny!

April 11, 2017 6:04 pm

Pregnant for 43 months? That must be the longest pregnancy in the history of humanity.

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