– [Announcer] Welcome on
stage, Brett Fairweather! (crowd cheering) – Because aerobics is so boom! I could project. I didn’t have to worry about anyone else. I could be a star. – I think every performer
has to be a little bit of a show-off to be brilliant. (aerobics dance music) – When you’re starting out, when you’re 18 and you just wanna pump,
you know, pump iron. You’d read the Arnold
Schwarzenegger books. So I thought I’d join the local gym on the North Shore and I
started doing the weights there. And the music was going
through these aerobic classes. So I thought, yeah this looks kinda cool, ’cause I love music. So I joined in, rushed into class and it killed me. Because they were doing
a lot of repetitions and I only do ten reps of a high weight. Then they kept going and going and I realised it was a tough workout. There’s so many things that have come in. In my time when I first
started it was Jane Fonda, Judi Sheppard Missett from Jazzercise. And then Step. Step aerobics was the next big thing and then it was Tae Bo,
Billy Blanks came in and I know Phillip Mills
had a lot to do with bringing his version of
Jazzercise into New Zealand in the late 70s. Aerobics really boomed. And town halls all over
New Zealand and flocked with hundreds and hundreds
of women going to it with leg warmers. It was hugely popular. I think it was liberating for people. (aerobics dance music) There was a young lady I
met called Lisa Jurakovich. I didn’t know at the
time but she was the 1987 New Zealand aerobic champion. And when I saw her one
day do a demonstration I was blown away with what she could do. – I met Brett and I could
see he was really into it. A showman and very high energy so he definitely had the right attributes to go on and do competitive aerobics. We’re all kind of a little
bit of show-offs (laughs). But in a good way. – She was my, one of my mentors
from when I first started. She said, “You take my class. “You can take my class. “This is how you’re gonna learn.” – I remember Brett’s first title ’cause it was after mine. So I was 1987 and he was after me, 1988. There’s a few moves that,
should I say, he stole (laughs). No total move is ever original. Yeah, he was inspired by me, but I’m inspired by others. We’re all out there to give
inspiration of some sort. – Well I was so nervous
when I competed in Japan. I’d come from New Zealand. There was maybe 15 countries competing. And what I learnt was, New
Zealand’s actually very athletic. We came in with an extra athletic energy. We didn’t know it at the time, and I think that really
made the difference with my personality and
the way I choreographed. (crowd cheering) I remember being nervous, your heart rate’s going like this. And it all gets put into check when you have to hit the music ’cause you’ve worked on your routine so you’ve got to be able to keep in time to the beat of the music. So if you’re so nervous,
you’re gonna race the music or you’re gonna be behind the beat. (aerobic dance music) – I think my timing slipped up. I just had to pull out
on everything that I had. (aerobic dance music) (crowd cheering) So it was a real shock and
an incredible joy to win. And to see the New Zealand flag going up and hear our national anthem
and stand on the podium. And to think I could be a world champion, it was, it was quite unbelievable really. So when I won the 1990 World
Cup everything changed. I could walk down the street and you could pretty much guarantee that someone would say,
“It’s that aerobics guy.” (laughing) You could see their heads turn. So for about four or five
years I was touring the world as a world aerobic champion. I went to 23 different countries. And that’s how I earned my money. People were paying me to
travel to their country, paying me to do classes, sharing our love for what we do. It was fabulous, it was incredible. There was a clip that
went on the Holmes show and then they showed
me doing some aerobics and then you know, Paul
Holmes classic clip was Real Men Mow Lawns (laughs). I had to laugh at that. So you know there was
a whole heap of stories about you know, it’s not a real sport or only gay people do it. You know, that sort of thing. We were looked at as a
bit of freaks really, I suppose to a degree
from the general public. You just don’t worry
about what people say, you just get on and do it. (crowd cheering) – [Announcer] This a man
that could go to Hollywood. What a performance, Brett Fairweather. It remains to be seen
though whether the judges will be distracted by the show. – It’s changed so much you know, the aerobics from the 80s. Today I look at these routines,
and I don’t relate to them. I honestly don’t. They don’t have the musical interpretation like I was doing with my influences. All the moves are from
a gymnastic competition. – When you look at an
aerobics timetable now, or we call it group fitness to be honest, there’s just so much on it, you know. Conditioning, cardio,
boxing, pump, spin, yoga, pilates, barre, the list
goes on, it’s a mile long. – I don’t even like the fact
that they call it aerobics. To me it’s not aerobics anymore. They don’t have the soul. It’s sterile, they’ve ruined it. – It’s definitely changed, and I wouldn’t say that it’s
for the better or the worse, it’s just changed, that’s life you know. – And then, you’re only on for 20 minutes, from there you’ve got an eight minute trip through to the next school. And you need to be on there for 9:45. – Yup. – From there you’re literally 20 minutes, I’ve allowed you 10 minutes in- – I launched Jump Jam in the early 2000s. It was really just an
extension of what I was doing. Bringing in a lot of animation
and a lot of character. Fun. Jump Jam’s been in over 90% of schools. You ask anyone about, “Ooh Eeh Ooh Ah Aah Ting
Tang Walla Walla Bing Bang”, or “Picking coconuts
from the coconut tree” since 2001, how popular that is. They don’t come to you know, de-stress, or they know they have to
lose weight, or to get fit, or their doctor sent them there, they come to have fun. So it’s a party class. And me turning up, woo hoo! (laughs) It’s the best job. Are you ready for some Jump Jam! – Yeah! (aerobic dance music) – And that is probably my
most proudest achievement is that I can take my sport
and I can spread it wide across New Zealand. (children cheering) I can still see the
high and low impact mix definitely coming back. There are a few old school
instructors doing it. You’ll probably see them
advertised as retro classes. And the best one that I
know of is Lisa Jurakovich, she’s still teaching. (aerobics dance music) – I just wanted to bring
back that fun feeling that you know, exercise doesn’t have
to be always so serious, and we’re not all
training for the Olympics. So in a way, my retro class
is like the adult version of Jump Jam, you know? Just going crazy to great beats. I’ll hold 80s close to my heart. (aerobics dance music) Woo! (cheering) Walk it ’round! – Last year was my biggest year ever. At 55, I did 500 schools. And I’m in for another 500 this year. I’m gonna keep going until
my body packs up (laughs). I don’t know how long
I can keep going for. I’ll have to pace myself. I have to listen to my body. Just before it says stop! (upbeat aerobics music)

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Dennis Veasley

2 thoughts on “The world aerobics champion who created Jump Jam | Scratched: Aotearoa’s Lost Sporting Legends”

  1. Lisa is the best gym instructor ever! Her retro aerobics classes are amazing ❤️ (though barre is still my favourite)

  2. When I was in primary I didn't like Jump Jam because I was a nerd and I preferred normal class time. But it was better than other types of PE class because no one cared if you were bad at it

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