Team Sorensen Bios

Jacki Sorensen, President

Jacki is the originator of Aerobic Dancing—the complete fitness program that combines the health and toning benefits of jogging with the fun of dancing. In addition to choreographing over 150 routines a year for her programs, Jacki is the President and founder of Jacki’s, Inc., headquartered in Athens, Ohio.

Jacki has a broad background in dance, including tap, ballet, modern, acrobatic, Hawaiian, and jazz. While working on her Bachelor’s degree, Jacki discovered that she had a particular talent for teaching non-dancers. She later applied this ability to Officer’s Wives Club classes and teaching all forms of dancing to dependents on various Air Force bases.

In 1969, Jacki was asked to develop a fitness television program for Air Force wives at a base in Puerto Rico where her husband Neil was stationed. Based on her own fitness, she invented the concept of combining dance with aerobic exercise for the program. She choreographed a set of vigorous dances to lively music, and Aerobic Dancing was born!
When the Sorensens moved to New Jersey, Jacki introduced the first Aerobic Dancing class at a local YMCA. Within three months, one class of 6 grew to two classes of 25 students each. The program rapidly expanded to other YMCAs, Bloomfield College, and Seton Hall University. Later, Jacki developed StrongStep, which uses a step to increase lower-body resistance. Today, Jacki’s programs are offered throughout the United States, Japan and Australia.

For six years she served as a clinician for The President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. As a fitness professional for over 40 years, Jacki has played an active role in helping others become physically fit and has lectured extensively on health and fitness to groups throughout the world.

In 1985, Jacki was awarded the first Lifetime Achievement Award by the International Dance Exercise Association (IDEA) and was inducted into the Club Industry magazine’s Hall of Fame a year later. She has been recognized by the American Heart Association, Special Olympics, and United Cerebral Palsy for her contributions to these groups.
A graduate of the University of California at Berkeley, Jacki has performed post-graduate work in exercise physiology at California State University in Sacramento and Seton Hall University in New Jersey. She also has been an elementary school teacher.

Jacki is the author of two best-selling books, Aerobic Dancing and Jacki Sorensen’s Aerobic Lifestyle Book. She has also choreographed and produced several Aerobic Dancing records and three best-selling aerobic videos.

Awards

  • Lifetime Achievement Award – International Dance Exercise Association (IDEA)
  • Diamond Pin Award – American Heart Association
  • Club Industry Hall of Fame
  • Legends of Aerobics – City Sports Magazine
  • Individual Contribution Award – Association for Fitness in Business
  • Special Olympics Contribution Award
  • Contribution Award for Women’s Fitness – President’s Council on Physical Fitness
  • Healthy American Fitness Leader – U.S. Jaycees
  • New Horizons Award – Caldwell College
  • California Women’s Leadership Award – President’s Council on Physical Fitness
  • National Fitness Hall of Fame

Janci Farwell, Vice President and Assistant Choreographer

Janci began dancing at the age of 5. She took all types of dance for 10 years, excelling in tap, modern, jazz and tumbling. Ever the avid athlete, Janci competed in gymnastics through high school until a knee injury prevented her from continuing.

She took her first Jacki Sorensen’s Aerobic Dance Class with her mom when she was in high school. She attended Pacific Union College in Napa Valley, California and then transferred to Loma Linda University. During this time she lived with her sister, Rochelle, and became a certified Aerobic Dancing Instructor at the age of 18. She helped expand Aerobic Dancing in San Bernardino County.

After graduating from Loma Linda University in 1981 with a Bachelor of Science degree she immediately went to work for Aerobic Dancing Headquarters in Northridge, California. She worked with Rochelle in the Research & Development Department and Jacki loved the fact that sisters could be so different, yet excel working side by side 24-7. They eventually became Jacki’s “right hand girls” traveling together throughout the country and to Japan, promoting Jacki’s Programs and training Instructors.

Several years ago Rochelle finished her teaching credential and decided to pursue her dream and became a full time teacher. Janci wished her well and feels very lucky and blessed to still be working with and learning from Jacki. She teaches Dance and StrongStep and plans to continue teaching for years to come. Janci is happy that Jacki values and trusts her in her role as assistant choreographer and in the development of all cues. She is inspired by and thankful for all of the Instructors and students who continue to support Jacki’s Inc. and is looking forward to exciting changes and growth!

Chris Matter, Director of Operations

Chris has taught almost every session of Jacki Sorensen’s Aerobic Dancing since 1983 and every StrongStep session since its inception. She became a support person in the Michigan district office and in 1986 was one of 13 District Managers for Aerobic Dancing Inc. In 1990 she purchased a Jacki’s franchise and also became the Corporate Liaison for the franchisees, talking with each about all facets of running their business and additionally speaking with potential franchise owners. She has also assisted franchise owners interested in hiring affiliates.

She developed all of the marketing and business tools for sale to Jacki’s Franchise owners and coordinates the training of all new Instructors. In addition Chris created the Instructor Only area on the website for furthering communications with Franchise owners. She feels that teaching classes is the “best part of everyday.”

Chris is currently an Executive Director, Advancement Operations at The Ohio University. She is responsible for the Foundation Board of Trustees, their website, organizes board meetings, and has developed efficient systems for new trustee orientation, archival record keeping and streamlined all methods of organization while creating relationships with the trustees and being available to each in every professional manner.

Her organizational skills, business knowledge and background with Jacki’s suit her well for her role with the company.

John Blanche, Director of Audio/Video Productions

John was born in Washington, DC and raised in Rockville, Maryland. He attended the University of Miami where he earned his Bachelors degree in Music and Marketing and an Associate degree in Architecture.

John immediately put his recording and engineering expertise to work in the 70’s at Criteria Recording Studios of Miami, Florida. Some of his clients included The Bee Gees, The Eagles, Crosby Stills and Nash, Andy Gibb, Firefall, Joe Williams and others. While he was there, the Criteria team received two engineering Grammys for musical productions.

In the early 80’s, John moved to Orlando and opened up John Blanche Recording Studios, a state of the art recording facility. Jacki Sorensen has worked exclusively with John, producing all of her videos, DVD’s and CD’s for over 20 years. In addition to Jacki, John’s clients include Ripley’s, Disney, Universal Studios Florida, Spoken Word of God and a plethora of local Florida acts.

With over 30 years recording and engineering experience, John offers quality recording and a great ear for mastering the finished product.

Richard O. Keelor, Ph.D., Advisor

One of America’s leading health and fitness authorities, Dr. Richard Keelor has served at all levels of the health promotion and physical fitness profession. In 1972, he was selected to serve as Director of Program Development for the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. He served this presidential agency over a ten year period under four administrations. Following his government service Dr. Keelor joined the Campbell Soup Company as President of their National Institute for Health & Fitness.
Dr. Keelor holds both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Health, Physical Education, and Recreation from California State University at Long Beach and he received his Ph.D. in Physical Education with a minor in Business Administration from the University of Southern California in 1974.

Dr. Keelor has conducted more than 200 regional and national fitness clinics and has been a keynote speaker at four White House Sports Medicine Symposiums. He has also served as consultant to the governments of Japan, Germany, Norway, Portugal and Guatemala, and has lectured at various institutional symposiums and universities throughout Europe and Scandinavia.

Internationally recognized as an authority on physical fitness and health promotion, Dr. Keelor addressed the World Health Organization’s Tenth Annual Conference for the Prevention of Chronic Disease. He has a long time interest in geriatric physiology and played a lead role in making amendments to the federal Older Americans Act, which provide for increased opportunities for the elderly to attain and maintain appropriate physical activity.

Dr. Keelor is also the primary consultant in development of Be Active North Carolina! This is the first statewide campaign to promote grassroots physical activity advocacy through all of NC’s 90 counties. The program was launched statewide in June of 2000 and now operates throughout the state and has won over 20 national awards.

Carol Woody, FitnessStuff

Carol was born and raised in Portland, Oregon and graduated from Portland State University with a major in Secondary Art Education. She married Bob Woody in 1966. They were next door neighbors to Jacki and Neil Sorensen while stationed at Mather Air Force Base in Sacramento, California in 1967. Carol and Jacki were both new school teachers and became best friends.

Carol raised a family, was an art teacher and owned several businesses before going to work for Aerobic Dancing Inc. in 1985. Once again neighbors with Jacki and Neil in Malibu, Carol was hired as a project manager for the Aerobic Dancing corporate headquarters in Northridge. She helped develop written materials, coordinated video shoots, traveled with Jacki, designed session logos and managed FitnessStuff.

In 1990 she bought FitnessStuff Inc. and moved back to Oregon. Carol is excited about being included in this team and looks forward to continue working with Jacki and all of the Instructors around the country.

From the Fitness Floor

“I can’t imagine not going to Jacki’s Dance as well as the StrongStep classes. I aim for five times a week and work my schedule around class time. Jacki’s programs deliver – added to the happy group aura, I’ve lost weight, and a dress size. I elevate my heart rate, relax in the movement and music and revel in my memory stimulation which accentuates the positive. Jacki’s programs have it all, and for the long haul.

Keep your pounding music and manic moves, the expensive gyms and personal trainers, Jacki’s dance and step classes work for all levels and ages.”

— Evelyn Preston
Los Altos, California