April 21, 2017
Janet Jones at Body & Soul gym in Coral Gables.
A swarm of spandex-clad, high-heeled women of all shapes and ages waits outside of an industrial building in Coral Gables. Despite appearances, these women are not in line at a nightclub—they’re looking for a coveted spot at the Vixen Workout at Body & Soul. And class doesn’t even start for another hour.
Janet Jones—a former Miami Heat dancer and backup dancer for artists like Jennifer Lopez—is the powerhouse behind this new cardio and muscle-toning movement that’s sweeping Miami. Her Vixen Workout emulates a stage performance, where women sweat beneath flattering lighting to high-octane eight-counts in full hair and makeup. The workout’s explosive success baffles even its creator. “We have 100 girls every night, and we’re doing two classes a night,” Jones says in honest surprise.
Jones is still digesting her quick rise. A year ago, a stint in corporate culture left her in a state of despair. “I felt invisible, coming from a life onstage performing in front of thousands of people,” she remembers. “Going from that to the routine of just being a real-life woman and mom, I couldn’t juggle it all.”
Being laid off forced Jones back into dance, opening a studio that she struggled to get off the ground. On the brink of closing up shop, she found inspiration during a weekend out with her girlfriends. “They’re all VPs of companies, doctors, lawyers, and everyone was dying to dance but felt like they couldn’t for fear of being judged:, Jones recalls. “It resonated with me.” The following Monday, Jones started choreographing the Vixen Workout.
Through the process of creating Vixen, which she launched in October 2012, Jones rediscovered herself, and tapped into her essence as a performer to shape routines. “Most women will never experience being onstage and feeling larger than life,” she realized. “What if we bottle that and give it to women who have always felt invisible?”
Jones’s signature workout is learned through her sultry, easy-to-master Vixen 101 sequences laid over platinum tracks from artists like Beyoncé. Afterward, members of Jones’s “Vixen army,” much like superfans awaiting their must-meet celebrity on a red carpet, crowd her to take photos with the woman whom they credit for physical and emotional transformations. “One girl lost 60 pounds through the workout,” Jones points out.
With such unprecedented momentum, Jones is eager to spread Vixen’s popularity to other markets. Just one year after debuting her program, Jones has 12 trained Vixen instructors holding classes across seven Miami locations and teaching as many as 500 girls each night—and she’s now looking toward New York, where she has five Vixen instructors and a Midtown location. “I want to expand because I see what it does to women,” she explains. “I want everyone to know they’re somebody.”
PHOTOGRAPHY BY NICK GARCIA