Dessa Wright – Jazzercise
BY JENNY GOLDSBERRY
For Dessa Wright, her mother introduced her to the allure of fitness classes. At the time, her mother was taking classes at Deseret Gym in downtown Ogden. She remembers sitting in daycare while her mother did aerobics, and she loved to watch her. Plus, she now knows almost every pop song from the ’80s from watching class after class.
Fast forward to now, Dessa has two children of her own. She had just moved with her family to Farr West. One day, she walked into the Farr West Rec Center to check out some activities for her daughter and instead found something for herself. A sign that read “free jazzercise” caught her eye, and she peeked her head into the class.
“I knew it was what I wanted to do,” she said. The next day, she started taking the class. Two or three days later, she asked her jazzercise instructor how to become an instructor herself. Six months later, she became an instructor. It was just what she needed to feel welcome in a new city. “I felt like I had instant friends,” she said. “It was nice to find a place where you belong.”
Dessa became an instructor because she loves jazzercise, not because she’s a professional dancer, and most of her clients aren’t either. Some clients haven’t danced a day in their lives. There are so many different skills that combine to make up jazzercise. It’s a mix of kickboxing, strength training, and dancing, all to the beat of today’s hit songs! Her classes are filled with men and women, from their teens to their seventies. The class works for all types of people because Dessa encourages her students to pick their own intensity. “It’s for every body type,” she said.
Now, five years later, she’s continued her profession through two moves across Weber County, a global pandemic, and her growing family. She’s gone to classes even when she’s on vacation halfway across the world. When gyms closed, she led classes via Facebook Live, and her loyal students were able to jazzercise from their living rooms.
On January 4, 2021, Dessa purchased her own franchise. Now, in her Pleasant View Fitness Studio, there are 10 instructors teaching alongside her. Together, they provide 26 classes every week, from 5:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Dessa hopes that her now 11-year-old daughter will take over her jazzercise legacy.