Meredith Ozbil has been the go-to person for Jazzercise in Menlo Park since 1996

by Linda Hubbard on June 11, 2015

There’s a common refrain people utter when entering Meredith Ozbil’s Jazzercise class for the first time: “I kept driving by the sign [on Middle Avenue] and finally decided to come in!”

Meredith has been offering Jazzercise in Menlo Park since 1996, first at Encinal School, then Laurel School, followed by Menlo-Atherton High School. Thanks to a tip from a friend, she’s now at the Little House Activity Center offering late afternoon/early evening classes four days a week and Saturday mornings at the Arrillaga Recreation Center.

After studying psychological biology at Cal State East Bay (then Hayward), she found herself at a high stress job at an insurance company. Her college roommate introduced her to jazzercise — and she was hooked.

“Jazzercise was huge in the 80s because it was the only game in town,” she says about the form of exercise that’s based on jazz dance, not jazz music. “We start by warming up from head to toe, get into more action and incorporate some dumbbell workouts. The music ranges from Tony Bennet to Lady Gaga plus a little Top 40 and Latin.”

Meredith, who also lives in Menlo Park, says her clients range from teens to those in their 70s. “People who’ve lived here a long time still think of Little House as a senior center but newer residents are more likely to view it as an activity center,” she says. “I love the location as there’s plenty of parking and the room itself is perfect with its hardwood floor.

“I also like the room because there are no mirrors. You don’t have to watch yourself. We’re dancing 35 to 45 minutes and then do strength and stretching for 20 minutes. It’s a great way to get or stay fit!”

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