Twenty-five years ago, Whitney Houston’s song, "I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)" was in the Top Ten List.
That was also the same year that Mindy LaBruno, certified personal trainer, started her career as Jazzercise instructor.
She celebrated her 25th anniversary with a special class and party earlier this month at the Hollin Hall Senior Center where she teaches most of her classes.
La Bruno initially began her Jazzercise career at Mount Vernon Square Apartments. After seven years at that location, she moved her classes to Hollin Hall Senior Center. She has been there ever since, growing her class list and currently offering 13 classes a week with a teaching staff of six instructors.
Peggy Frydenlund, Dawn Patillo, Harmony Allen, Kim LaForest, Jenny Farrar and Anne Nuttall are currently teaching classes, while Sharon Sanborn and Erin Triplett recently passed their certification and will be training as well.
She currently has 13 office managers — Susan Hosek, Catherine Taguding, Jodi Roberts, Beverly Proctor, Patricia Hayden, Pat Priest, Sharon Bingham-Wolfolk, Cindy Savage, Joyce Delaney, Brian Dorris, Ellen Ferguson, Barbara McWhirter and Cathy Martel. They coordinate the check-in, setup and management of the classes.
"After 25 years I can honestly say I love my job as much as I did when I started. I love the music, dancing, and treasure all the wonderful friendships I have made over the years," said LaBruno.
LaBruno has lived in the Northern Virginia area for 40 years, after moving here from Brooklyn, N.Y. She met her husband, Roger, during one of her Jazzercise classes at Mount Vernon Square. They have been married 22 years and live in the Vantage community in Alexandria. Labruno cares for her two-year-old grandson while her daughter works and is looking forward to another grandchild that is scheduled to arrive this summer.
LaBruno never liked to exercise, but said, "A friend of mine took me to a Jazzercise class she had been going to, and I instantly fell in love with it. Two years prior to becoming certified, I started going to classes twice a day. I finally decided that if I was attending classes as a student twice a day, I might as well be teaching the classes myself."
Jazzercise is described as "group fitness that combines dance-based cardio with strength training and stretching to sculpt, tone and lengthen muscles for maximum fat burn."
LaBruno also offers personal training sessions, which feature a Jazzercise alternative format and she offers Jazzercise Lite classes to the senior population throughout Fairfax County.
Her classes consist of men and women, ranging in age from 18 to 70. Many of the students have been with LaBruno well over 15 and 20 years.
Greg Koons, Realtor and former counselor at West Potomac, has been attending classes with his wife, Joni, for many years. He said, "Mindy has kept us as clients and friends for over 20 years because her Jazzercise class is more than about just having a great workout. It is more like joining friends several times a week. Lots of laughs and shared experiences. Mindy is very supportive of everyone and has always been very generous with UCM and other charities. She cares and there is no hiding the love that she has for all of us."
Another regular, Maureen McGuire-Kuletz , professor at George Washington University, said, "Jazzercise is more than an exercise program ... we are like a community who not only exercise but also socialize and enjoy each other's company. Everyone is supportive of each other in class regardless of your level of expertise."
Visit LaBruno’s Facebook page for current information, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jazzercise-Alexandria-Mt-Vernon-Hollin-Hall-Center/259593084055698