Jazzercise founder attends Dance for Life

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Receives award on U.S.S. Midway

Judi Sheppard Missett leading Jazzercise on the U.S.S. Midway in San Diego.
Photo courtesy Judi Sheppard Missett

Jazzercise founder and CEO Judi Sheppard Missett experienced two major career moments in one week in early October.

Sheppard Missett, part-time Pine Cove resident, joined 1,180 Jazzercise instructors and customers from as far away as Japan on the flight deck of the U.S.S. Midway in San Diego on Saturday, Oct. 7, for a breast-cancer fundraiser called Dance for Life.

This annual Dance for Life event, started in 2011 by Jazzercise franchisee and breast cancer survivor Susan Shofner, raises money for the Susan G. Komen Foundation whose mission is to end breast cancer.

Since its inception, Dance for Life has earned from $56,000 to $90,000 each year. The 2017 event in which Sheppard Missett participated raised more than $111,000, a record donation total for the event.

Said Sheppard Missett, “It’s amazing to think that, over the years, our San Diego Jazzercise family has raised over $425,000 in an effort to do our part to end breast cancer.” Noted Shofner, “It is a labor of dedication, action, determination and love. And the glue that brought and keeps us together is Jazzercise.”

Sheppard Missett started Jazzercise in Chicago in 1969 as a fitness/dance program. Her innovation was to turn her students away from the mirror that is so often the centering piece for dance students.

Today, Jazzercise has 3,000 locations worldwide and more than 8,000 instructors.

Completing a historic week for her and her company, Sheppard Missett was honored in Chicago with the Gus Giordano Legacy Award for her “Contributions to the World of Dance,” at a ceremony at the Mayne Stage hosted by the Giordano Foundation. Said Sheppard Missett when presented the award by Gus Giordano’s daughter Amy, “Gus was my mentor, he was my friend. He was the one who enabled me to try a little idea that became what Jazzercise is today.”

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