Difference Between Jazzercise & Aerobic Dancing

Men and women in aerobics class

If Jazzercise and aerobic dance were put into a ring for a fight, it'd be difficult to pick a winner. Both group exercise types help improve participants' health with benefits such as increasing endurance, aiding in weight loss, developing a more efficient cardiovascular system and lowering levels of stress. But while the results may be the same, Jazzercise and aerobic dance have their differences.


Jazzercise was formed as a combination of jazz dance and fitness movements. The workout has expanded since it's beginning in 1969. It includes elements of other dance styles, such as hip-hop, and other types of fitness movements, such as kickboxing, Pilates and yoga. Aerobic dance classes use dance-based movements, such as Latin, hip-hop, funk and jazz, mixed with fitness movements, such as elevating knees, marching in place and doing football runs. Jazzercise remains true to the dance workout, whereas aerobic dance varies depending on the instructor, so your workout may include anything from sports drills to bellydancing.


When you enter an aerobic dance class, you can expect to be surprised by the choreography of the class. Every instructor is different and combines movements in a variety of patterns. You'll be challenged mentally and physically as you perform the workout. When you take a Jazzercise class, you can expect familiarity because you will do the same choreography for at least eight weeks. After two months, your instructor receives new choreography to new music that you then do for about another eight weeks. This pattern continues, so if you do not like the choreography, you don't have to wait too long for it to change.


The music is different between aerobic dancing and Jazzercise. Jazzercise instructors use certain songs to perform specific dance routines. Aerobic dance instructors may use the same song for many different movement patterns. The music for each is always uplifting with a strong, energizing beat, but your aerobic instructor will bring her personal tastes to class, compared with a Jazzercise instructor who is given specific songs to use for a set routine.

Franchise Business

Jazzercise is a franchise business. It was founded by Judi Sheppard Missett, who trains instructors that purchase into her franchise. Instructors cannot teach Jazzercise unless they have paid into the franchise. Aerobic teachers are independent instructors. Aerobic instructors can teach any place they are hired and do not have to pay back to a franchise. These instructors are usually independent contractors who work at a variety of fitness centers.