Marinucci steps up with philosophy and Jazzercize

Marinucci steps up with philosophy and Jazzercize

By Jasmine Kemp, Eagle Life Writer


Mimi Marinucci is used to thinking about the big questions: Why are we here? How do we know what we know? Is that new Pitbull and Shakira collaboration going to be the next hit song for a Jazzercise routine?

Marinucci is an associate professor with the women’s studies program at Eastern with a Ph.D. in philosophy from Temple University. She currently teaches introduction to philosophy, introduction to formal logic and LGBT studies along with teaching Jazzercise classes in Spokane.

On Mondays and Wednesdays Marinucci teaches classes at Fitness North and also has classes in central Spokane on Fridays and Saturdays. Marinucci started Jazzercise in the 1980s. During graduate school, while working on her dissertation for her Ph.D., she said she felt like she was “living like a couch potato,” feeling sedentary from being in front of her books all the time.

“If I was going to succeed, I needed to find a way to incorporate physical activity,” Marinucci said.

She noted that after going to multiple classes she felt a connection with her body and mind.

At 45 years old, Marinucci said she finds connections with her school work and her Jazzercise courses.

“They give you the tools, but allow you to do your own thing,” Marinucci said.

According to Marinucci, each Jazzercise routine is choreographed by a panel of experts who make sure different parts of the body, such as the core muscles, are worked. Music is also incorporated.

“A song from five years ago is considered an oldie,” Marinucci said.

Rebekah Largent, a former student of Marinucci’s, said her teaching was like learning a dance.

“You have steps to it,” Largent said. “She requires you to take part in the learning process. … If you don’t get into it, you’ll sink in the class.”

Marinucci said that in teaching both as a professor and as a Jazzercise instructor, “You have to be willing to look stupid.”

“Students aren’t as enthusiastic as I am,” said Marinucci. She added that the more enthusiastic an instructor is, the more it will translate over to the students.

Jessica Willis, a professor in the women’s and gender studies program at Eastern, said her ties to the community of Spokane and at Eastern help bring needed connections to campus. Willis said that working with Marinucci is fun.

“We get things done, but have fun while doing them,” Willis said. “She’s fun and invigorating.”

Heather Frady, also known as “Raven,” took LGBT studies from Marinucci at Riverpoint campus where Marinucci would arrive after her Jazzercise class.

“Our class was from 6 [p.m.] – 10 [p.m.] … on a Wednesday. And it would be 10 p.m. and she was still full of energy,” Frady said.

Marinucci’s class incorporated professionalism while still being loose enough for students to communicate noted Frady.

“She made it a safe place to be yourself,” Frady said.

Marinucci said her priority is the learning and competency skills of her students, both in her Jazzercise classes and her courses taught at Eastern.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re in class and bumbling over dance moves,” Marinucci said, “It’s more about seeing someone coming in embarrassed to several weeks later having confidence.”