As the music played in a Miami nightclub, Janet Jones and a group professional women in their 30s were hesitant to relax and dance.
“We went out to let loose and forget life,” said Jones, a former Miami Heat dancer who was working in finance. “But we felt that we couldn’t dance because we were someone’s boss, someone’s mom or someone’s superior.”
That’s when Jones, who was laid off from her finance job, had the idea to create the Vixen Workout, an hour-long cardio class made up of a variety hip-hop dance moves, usually done in high heels.
“It’s really just an hour for women to be able to have the ultimate ‘me’ time. The moment you put heels on, you just feel sexier,” said Jones. “You come to seduce yourself and it becomes empowering.”
On any given day, hundreds of women in Miami and New York show up to work out wearing heels and with their hair and makeup done.
But the start wasn’t easy. Jones began the Vixen Workout in October 2012 with just two people: her best friend and her cousin.
By word of mouth, her classes slowly began to fill and as more women joined, she encouraged her students to take pictures of themselves and share them on Instagram using the hashtag #VixenArmy.
When the pictures began to show up on social media, people began to request classes and additional locations. Jones received so many requests to open a class in New York that she recently trained a group of instructors to teach the class in Brooklyn.
“I see the way it makes women feel and I think that’s why it has grown so fast,” Jones said. “Just because they leave my class a better version of themselves and that’s addicting.”
The class uses popular songs to teach various choreographies that mimic the performance of video vixens. And to make it easier for the students, Jones has given names to poses and moves such as: “The Milkshake,” “Ridin’ Around and Gettin’ It,” and “The Bugatti.”
“When we go out to clubs and they are playing our song from vixen we do the workout,” said Kristine Garces, a regular at the Vixen Workout in Miami. Since she began classes in February, she has lost about 20 pounds.
“I look forward to coming to workout because I come with a group of friends. It’s fun, we get to goof off,” Garces said.
Jones suggests using heels for the class and said wearing them “intensifies the workout about 35 to 40 percent.” Many of the students who don’t feel comfortable in heels also wear sneakers and sneaker wedges.
Debbie De La Fe was invited to the class by a friend and began by wearing sneakers. As she got used to the classes, she decided to wear boots and eventually settled to wearing the high heels.
“I think that it is a really good opportunity for people to be able to come and dance and let loose without any judgment from anybody, really just have a good time and be happy,” said De La Fe. “Before coming to class I try on like five billion different outfits until I find the one that I look good in, fix up my hair and put on a little makeup.”
Jones has plans to expand the Vixen Workout to Boston due to the number of requests she has received through Instagram. But her dream is to take the workout all over the U.S. and eventually worldwide.
“Its easy to get lost as a woman because we have so many roles and so many responsibilities,” Jones said. “But I’m blessed enough to use the Vixen Workout to let every women realize how important they are.”