Dancing Rizzmic with Tanya Harrison is like having a weekend in a luxury health spa; a refreshing way to reinvigorate your body, mind and spirit. “Rizzmic is more than just a work out, it’s a way to impact people’s lives in a positive way,” she said. “It’s being happy with yourself and having fun while getting healthy with a warm and accepting group of people.”
Surprisingly, Harrison wasn’t always outgoing enough to be a Rizzmic instructor. A Seattle native, she grew up as a shy and empathetic child who wanted to take care of all the animals and children around her. “My mother was always worried about me being traumatized by pets passing away,” she said. “But I knew that I wanted to help people feel better, even as a little child.”
While attending Tahoma High School, Harrison realized that if she wanted a family, she’d have to put aside any dreams of becoming a doctor. She opted for nursing degrees instead, getting her associates and bachelors degrees in short order. She’s been working as a nurse at Harborview Hospital in Seattle for the past 11 years.
Despite her warm and caring ways, Harrison struggled with shyness throughout her childhood, and in junior high school discovered that her love of music and movement could help her come out of her shell. “I discovered drum and bugle corps and color guard in junior high school, when I was learning to play the clarinet,” she said. “ I decided to become involved with the Seattle Imperials color guard because I’d always enjoyed dancing and gymnastics as a child, and I was drawn to the synchronized movements of color guard.”
After marriage and the birth of her two children, Harrison felt the need to stay active, and starting taking dance classes at the University of Washington. Following that, she joined Fusion Dance Company on Capitol Hill, where participants danced every style from ballet to tap and jazz as well as African and Brazilian choreography. “So when I found a coupon for a Dance Fusion class taught by Cory (Crawford, co-founder of Rizzmic), I thought ‘this is right up my alley!” Harrison said. “I enjoyed Rizzmic so much that I made it part of my routine, and I started to see the health benefits right away.” Harrison notes that she’s lost 40 pounds since starting Rizzmic, and is much happier as a person. However, Harrison was uncertain she wanted to take the next step and become a Rizzmic instructor. “Cory approached me and asked me to become certified (as a Rizzmic instructor), but it was so far out of my comfort zone, I said no,” she relates. “I knew that I could dance, but when you’re in a dance company on stage, you don’t have to talk to people, they just watch you tell a story, and express emotion without talking.”
Yet Cory persisted, and after seeing how contagious the happy feelings of Rizzmic had become, Harrison relented and decided to challenge herself to become confident as an instructor. Harrison and her fellow fledgling instructors not only had to learn the many and varied dance routines, they also had to learn to “cue” participants on what moves were coming next, and to adapt movements from low to high impact, to meet the needs of all sizes and shapes of Rizzmic participants.
Harrison’s first Rizzmic class split her teaching time with her best friend Stacey Cierkowski, a fellow instructor she’d met while carpooling to one of Rizzmic’s themed dance events. “I did half and she did half, so we only had to do eight routines each,” she recalls. “Plus, since we’d been in training together, it was great to have that support and have time to built our Rizzmic arsenal.”
Nearly 3 years later, Harrison is one of many instructors teaching all over the US. She’s also AAFA certified in group fitness. “I teach Saturday mornings at 9:30 am at Thrive, but there are actually six of us teaching Rizzmic there nearly every day of the week,” she said. “It’s been wonderful watching the Rizzmic community flourish, with something I’m so invested in taking off and being successful.”
Now that the former introvert just wants to get out there and hug Rizzmic participants, Harrison tells people she’s never met to come to class and enjoy the benefits of dance exercise. “I tell everyone to get in there and do it, because once you try Rizzmic and feel all those positive vibes, you’ll never want to quit.”
We are honored to be featured on Parent Map, a website that provides editorial content to support parents' busy lives juggling careers, spouses and children! Read the article here to learn more about our backgrounds, how Rizzmic started and how we balance our lives with running a business and raising our family!
Rizzmic is an amazing new style of dance aerobics that provides people like myself with the ability to get a healthy work out while having so much fun that you don’t even notice that you’re sweating and working your muscles until the hour is up! That’s why Rizzmic is so important to my physical and mental well being. I’m a larger woman with Crohn’s Disease, which by it’s very nature is isolating, keeping me chained to the bathroom for long periods of time. As a social person, not being able to engage with other people is painful and frustrating.
Fortunately, I discovered Rizzmic, and was thrilled by the all-American music, which covers every genre from big band swing to rock and roll and contemporary hip hop to Top 40 pop music. The routines set to the music are fast-paced and easily modified to low impact for me and others who might not be able to complete certain higher impact moves.
The instructors mix the routines together in such a way that there’s something for everyone to enjoy, and I can feel their enthusiasm and joy in moving and dancing as it’s transmitted to the whole room. Everyone in class is so friendly, kind and non-judgmental that I feel comfortable enough to let loose and enjoy moving my body and laughing/chatting with my fellow Rizzmic junkies as we sing and dance to the beat. I can walk into class after a difficult night with Crohns and within 10 minutes my muscles are loosening, my body is shaking and swinging and my face is nearly split in two with a smile. There is something so freeing about being able to dance and laugh and breathe deeply with a room full of supportive, fun people of every size and shape who share your desire for health and well being! - DeAnn Rossetti
My name is Mandy Chiappini, and I'm so honored to be here on the Rizzmic blog, to share with you some feelings & experiences I've had over the past couple of years.
I've always led a fairly active lifestyle. My Mom put me in ballet at age 4, and from then on, I knew that the art of dance was in my blood. I spent my entire youth performing and competing with the dance studio I attended. As I got older, I continued dance even into college. It wasn't just the exercise that I loved, but dance, specifically, moved me in a way that nothing else could. There is something so liberating about dancing, and also so captivating.
But like many others, life got in the way and I had to quit dancing, and actually quit exercising altogether. I got married, and had my two amazing little boys -- but all of the responsibilities of being a mother consumed me. Don’t get me wrong; I love my children with every fiber of my being. Being a wife and mother are my two greatest callings in life, and I wouldn't change them for anything. But somewhere along the line, my physical and mental well being got shoved to the back of the shelf, and it got a little dusty back there, if I'm being honest. I feel like I lost a part of who I was, and who I wanted to become.
After my second son was born, I made the decision to get back into shape. I joined the gym, did the elliptical, the treadmill, and all of the other machines that the facility had to offer. And though I was trying hard to get motivated, I just couldn't quite find the drive to really push myself. It wasn't until I was introduced to Rizzmic that I became truly motivated to reclaim my body. A part of myself that had gone dormant became awakened, and I developed an enthusiasm and an eagerness to exercise I hadn't experienced in years. Rizzmic is unlike any other fitness format I've ever experienced. It's energetic, dynamic, enjoyable, fierce, addictive, and most importantly, it burns calories like crazy. But I can promise you, it's the best time I've ever had while exercising, because it doesn't feel like exercise.
Rizzmic does so much more for me than just help me get physically back into shape. It has also transformed my heart, mind and soul. This may sounds cheesy, but whenever I feel overwhelmed or stressed out with the insanity of my everyday life, I find a Rizzmic class to attend, and it's like pushing a reset button. It's proven that dance fitness is not only good for weight management, improved muscle tone, strength, and improved condition of your heart and lungs, but it also improves your mental functions, psychological well-being, and social skills. The benefits are endless, I can testify to that.
Since starting to take Rizzmic, I have lost 10+ pounds and several inches all over my body, I feel healthy, both physically and mentally. I'm happier than I've ever been, and I attribute that directly to Rizzmic.
It's because of all of those things that about a year ago, I decided to become a Rizzmic instructor. I felt that if this format could change my life for the better, it could change other people's lives as well. I wanted to be a part of that, to be able to share this amazing format with those that might be struggling with their physical health, their mental well being, or just those that just need a sense of community. As a Rizzmic instructor, I've had the privilege of witnessing people coming to class with huge smiles on their faces, work their tails off, and as a result, they’ve gotten into the best shape of their lives. I've watched long lasting bonds and friendships form between participants who might not have met otherwise.
Most importantly, I've learned so much about my abilities and myself. As I was going through the training process, I was insecure and lacked the confidence that I could actually be a good instructor and make a difference in people's lives. But this experience has shown me that you never realize how much you are capable of until you just jump in and push yourself. I am so grateful for Rizzmic, and all of the positivity that it brings into my life, and for the army of amazing people I have had the privilege to meet. My hope is that Rizzmic will do the same in your life.