Jazzercise: Judi Sheppard Missett Judi Sheppard Missett wandered into her first dance class when she was 2, and hasn't stopped dancing since. In the late 1960s, she was teaching jazz dance in Chicago and her students—mostly young moms—complained she was acting too much like a Broadway taskmaster, when all they wanted was get in shape and have a good time. Seeing an opportunity, Judi created Jazzercise: a hybrid of aerobics and dance that ushered in a new culture of spandexed, synchronized movement and became one of the first workout programs for women with mass appeal. With the help of video technology and franchising, Jazzercise eventually spread around the world, growing into the $100 million business it is today.

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Jazzercise: Judi Sheppard Missett

Jazzercise: Judi Sheppard Missett

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Angela Hsieh for NPR
Judi Sheppard Missett is the founder of Jazzercise
Angela Hsieh for NPR

Judi Sheppard Missett wandered into her first dance class when she was 2, and hasn't stopped dancing since. In the late 1960s, she was teaching jazz dance in Chicago and her students—mostly young moms—complained she was acting too much like a Broadway taskmaster, when all they wanted was get in shape and have a good time.

Seeing an opportunity, Judi created Jazzercise: a hybrid of aerobics and dance that ushered in a new culture of spandexed, synchronized movement and became one of the first workout programs for women with mass appeal.

With the help of video technology and franchising, Jazzercise eventually spread around the world, growing into the $100 million business it is today.

Special Series

How I Built This

For all new episodes, go to the How I Built This page on Wondery.com Listen early and ad-free on Wondery+ Listen on Amazon Music