Bloomington Jazzercise owner and instructor Kris Heeter leads a Jazzercise class at her 508 W. 4th St. studio. Jazzercise was founded in 1969 and blends jazz dance, cardio kickboxing, resistance training, Pilates, and yoga. Photo by Martin Boling


As a Purdue University undergraduate in the 1980s, Kris Heeter was struck by a car and left with a broken pelvis. Her injuries were severe enough that she had to learn to walk again.

“At 22, that’s frightening,” Heeter says. “I’m grateful I found Jazzercise.” She gives the classes credit for her return to wellness.

Heeter began taking Jazzercise as an Indiana University graduate student through the City of Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department. She soon sought out certification as an instructor, and in May 2021 she celebrated 24 years as a franchise owner.

Jazzercise was founded in 1969 in Chicago by dancer Judi Sheppard Missett. Today there are more than 8,500 franchises in 25 countries. The choreographed classes blend jazz dance, cardio kickboxing, resistance training, Pilates, and yoga.

Local Jazzercisers come from all sectors of the community. “We have working women, some who are retired,” she says. “And we do have a few men.”

Heeter currently has one male instructor among the 10 teachers who work alongside her at 508 W. 4th St.

“It’s been wonderful to see so many women stay with us over the years,” Heeter says. “I’m 55 and seeing them go through the aging process and stay healthy and active is a huge inspiration to me. In the same way, those of us who are teachers hope we are inspiring our younger clients.”

Over the years, Heeter has trained more than 40 instructors. “They help run the business,” she says. “Without them, there is no way I could do this. All my instructors have other jobs— they all work. But because I have such an amazing team, the business almost runs itself now.”

Which is good, because Heeter has another job, too.

When she’s not busy being a Jazzercise instructor, Kris Heeter is Kris Klueg, Ph.D., associate director of DNA Resources for the Drosophila Genomics Resource Center and associate director for the IU Bloomington Flow Cytometry Core Facility. In other words, she’s a scientist. “That’s my job,” she says. “That’s my professional life. I don’t use my degree in this context. Jazzercise is stress relief.”

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