If you're anything like me (and I'm going to bet you are), there's a J-lo loving-Beyonce strutting-fly girl itching to burst free from her cage and break into a choreographed routine to rival that of any MTV VMA performance. I religiously watched In Living Color just for the dance segments and have shamelessly tried to copy every move from the Step It Up movies (oh I did).
And then I heard that there was a class that could make all my fly girl dreams come true- a chance to sweat it out on the dance floor, show off some of my amateur hip-hop moves, and it would leave me feeling invigorated, empowered, and unapologetically motivated. This is all thanks to the brainchild that is Janet Jones, the brains and 'Bawse' behind the Vixen Workout.
With a loyal Vixen Army stomping behind her, Janet Jones built her Vixen empire from the ground up. A lifelong passion for dance (with some 'aha moments' along the way) has turned her dream from a local sensation to a national phenomenon- and women cannot get enough of it! With classes in Miami, New York, and LA- the army keeps growing in size and Janet is 'twerking' her way to the next BIG adventure.
I got a chance to chat with the Vixen queen herself in between her fun workouts and she's dishing on her favorite stage performances, her obsession with dance, and why a Vixen code of etiquette is of utmost importance. Read it after the jump!
FSF: Okay, you are about to make all my fly girl dreams come true. You are a Step It Up movie in the flesh. Where have you been all my life?!
JJ: lol! Thank you!
FSF: I really love your story. It's a great story of success- of losing yourself and then rediscovering what you're really passionate about. Tell me how that happened to you?
JJ: I had been a dancer my entire life. I danced, taught, choreographed, even opened a talent agency to represent other dancers and choreographers. It’s the only life I knew, but I reached a point in my life (around age 26) where I felt “silly” continuing to pursue my dreams when all of my friends had made more secure life choices, like Masters Degrees, Corporate America, Marriage, etc. I felt pressure to have my life figured out by 30, so I joined Corporate America, got married, and got pregnant. Everything you’re suppose to do, right? Well, I hated that life and it put me in a deep depression because no one talked about how hard it was to be a woman. All my friends did it so seamlessly and I felt like such a failure. I worked in finance for almost 4 years and I was laid off do to cutbacks. I had a very young baby at the time, so I was forced to quickly find whatever I could find to make an income. The only thing I knew was dance. I started teaching dance again and choroeographing again and slowly finding myself again.
FSF: At what age did you start dancing and when did you know that this what you wanted to do for the rest of your life?
JJ: I started dancing at 3. It’s almost like, I didn’t choose to do this for the rest of my life… it chose me. Whenever I was doing anything else that wasn’t dance related, it felt so wrong... so not me.
FSF: You are making so many women out there happy with your workouts. It's not just about getting fit- it's about feeling empowered and letting go. Is that what you set out to do when you started creating these Vixen Workouts?
JJ: I created the workout for me and my friends… (The same friends that made the “secure”choices) As a woman, I had experienced the flipside of life as a performer. I had experienced how a woman CAN feel, when you get the opportunity to lose yourself on stage and experience that euphoria. Being fit as a dancer was always a perk of the job.
My friends had only experienced the part of life that I hated (actually, the life they’ve lived up to this point put me in a depression) so I definitely wanted to provide them with an escape from their reality that was much more fun than a gym.
FSF: You've danced countless award shows and danced with some of the biggest stars. Which celeb and/or performance was the most surreal experience of your career?
JJ: In 2005, the Univision network had a benefit concert for SELENA in the Houston Astrodome, the same venue as her most famous performance 10 years before. I danced with various artists who performed her greatest hits. It was shot live and there were 60,000 people in attendance. The energy from her fans was just crazy. I will never forget that feeling.
FSF: The workout has a cult following of women that now extends beyond Miami- with classes in LA, New York, and I hear Texas is next in the mix. What's the energy like when you get to meet and dance with all these women who come to one of your classes?
JJ: It’s unexplainable. It’s a sisterhood. It’s a room full of women who regardless of their ethnic or social backgrounds all go through the same struggles and all need an outlet for the pressures of being a woman.
FSF: I love that you bring the club experience to your classes without having to deal with VIP lists, velvet ropes, or drunk fools spilling drinks all over you. You even have a Vixen etiquette code! Why did you implement?
JJ: Well, some women are more aggressive and outgoing than others and we have alot of women attending so I felt it was necessary to implement so that all women have a great experience.
FSF: I'm even more in awe that you've worked your butt off all while being a mom to a 5 year old. Tell me she's got your moves! Is dance in her blood?
JJ: I hope so! She has only showed her performance skills to the soundtrack of Disney’s Frozen. Otherwise, she really likes to play outside with her boy cousins.
To book a class, visit http://www.vixenworkout.com/