Even in the worst of times, we can count on dancing to cheer us up. Amy Lewandowski, owner and operator of Jazzercise East Brunswick and Jazzercise Clinton, uses dance to connect with others and to celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Amy discovered Jazzercise after graduating from Rutgers in the fall of 2007 and became certified as an instructor in 2009. She went on to take ownership of the East Brunswick classes in 2016, and additionally took ownership of the Clinton classes in 2018.
Jazzercise originated in 1969 as an original dance fitness program. “I truly believe in the Jazzercise philosophy that together we can live healthier, happier, and stronger lives through dance fitness. I love being part of such a strong community of women as well as a business owner (we're all franchisees).”
Jazzercise East Brunswick is one of a few class locations in Middlesex County, whereas Jazzercise Clinton is the only location in Hunterdon County. Jazzercisers come in all shapes, sizes, ages, and fitness levels. Amy has Jazzercised with people at all stages of life from children to those in their 80s! They share one common interest: dancing for their happiness and health.
During the pandemic, Jazzercise instructors had to livestream classes from home through Zoom. No obstacles would stop them from sharing their love for Jazzercise and the community they had created. They eventually transitioned to outdoor spaces, followed by moving back indoors once again. Slowly but surely, the community is getting back to normal Jazzercise ways.
"When I became the owner of Jazzercise East Brunswick, I knew I wanted to do something every October during Breast Cancer Awareness Month to raise awareness, support survivors, and fundraise.”
Each year, Amy hosts an annual Breast Cancer Awareness Celebration of Strength class at both of her locations where they dance to empowering and uplifting music while wearing pink. At the end of the event, she gives each survivor a rose and they all hug and high-five to celebrate. While donations are recommended and appreciated, the class is completely free. Amy encourages members to bring friends and family to join in on the poignant day.
"We sweat together on the dance floor, but we support each other off it just as much.”
In 2017, Amy was searching for a local organization that touches the lives of people in Middlesex County in particular. When she found Dance for the Cure, “I just knew it was the right organization with a fitting mission and compelling story”. Since 2017, her Jazzercise fundraisers have collectively donated over $2,500!
When asked why she cared so much about being a DFC donor, Amy shared how breast cancer has affected her. “My aunt (survivor) and a cousin (passed) had breast cancer. Breast cancer impacts so many women and families, including in my Jazzercise community. As an instructor and student, I took Jazzercise classes with other instructors who were survivors or undergoing treatment."
In addition to fundraising events, Amy has also been able to support the Rutgers Dance Marathon. The event is held for the Embrace Kids Foundation, which helps kids with cancer and blood disorders. As a Rutgers and DM alumna, she contributes financially as a business sponsor, but also as a participant/performer. In both their 2017 and 2019 demos, one of the instructors who joined her on stage is a breast cancer survivor herself.
“I believe in paying it forward and giving back, personally and as a business. My business exists because of the community and being engaged in charitable and service efforts is meaningful on a personal and professional level. Supporting local organizations and fundraising efforts is meaningful to customers as well.
Dance is a great way to bring light to any situation by keeping spirits high. We’re thankful to Amy for her generosity in hosting this great fundraiser each year as well as for selecting DFC as the charity of choice. Be sure to show some love to her as she has done to us!
Jazzercise East Brunswick
Kaye-Lynn Dance Studio, 591 Cranbury Rd.
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