In the 1980’s, they danced barefoot in a gymnasium with no air conditioning. Their teacher was a lovely blonde who encouraged women of all ages, sizes, and ability to Jazzercise for health and fitness.

Today, that  teacher continues to foster wellbeing in the daughters and granddaughters of some of her original students.

Ginger Smith, wife of our Midlothian Police Chief, has influenced hundreds of people interested in improving self-esteem through exercise. She and nine instructors offer 28 classes each week in a brightly lit, air-conditioned studio in downtown Midlothian filled with music and friendly support.

The instructors have their own stories about how regular exercise has positively affected them.

Amy Ballard, a long-time Midlothian ISD art teacher, leads several classes a week.  

“Being in a leadership position related to exercise has also done wonders for my self-confidence,” Ballard said. “ I want my students to feel a sense of accomplishment during class.  If you can make changes in the physical realm, imagine what you could do in other areas of your life. Corporate exercise gives one the support and, in turn, the support others need, too.”

 Anna Schrodt works as a labor and delivery nurse in a Dallas hospital on weekends nights, but she devotes several hours during the week to teach jazzercise.  I read recently that you can find a deep level of companionship with others of like mind. I believe our fitness skills and motivation are sharpened when we work out with others. We are able to do things we never thought we could.

The true inspiration of the exercise studio, Ginger Smith, is just as enthused about promoting health in 2012 as she was 30 years ago.

“This is my dream come true!” Smith said. “I go to class and I think of how each person comes to class with a burden of some sort. They want inspiration; they want to forget their troubles and have fun for an hour. It’s my job to get them there and when the music starts, I look out and see all those lovely smiling faces, and I’m all good. I am fortunate to have a team of fabulous instructors who share my passion for teaching.”

Your library card may not cause unwanted pounds to disappear, but it sure can allow you to check out these new materials available at Meadows:

What’s age got to do with it?: living your healthiest and happiest life (2009)

Fit home team: the Posada family guide to health the inexpensive and simple way (2009)

It’s your body – recharge it! (DVD)

The Biggest loser workout (DVD’s)

Body at home: a simple plan to drop 10 pounds (2009)

The SparkPeople cookbook: love your food, lose the weight (2011)

The Dukan diet: 2 steps to lose weight, 2 steps to keep it off (2011)

The digest diet: the fast, effective 21-ay fat release plan (2012)

Pilates, Yoga, Bellydancing (DVD’s)

Susie Casstevens serves as the librarian for the AH Meadows Public and High School Library. Contact Susie at 972-775-3417 ext 1061 or visit the web at