Dance with Alicia: Popular Fitness Class Bounces Back to JCC

By Adam Grobman

Pam Suter has been a member of the Harrisburg JCC for over twenty years.

“I’ve been with the JCC through a lot of difficulties, including the flood in 2011,” she says. She adds that in terms of difficulty, “this pandemic beats the flood, hands down.”

So when she heard that the popular Dance with Alicia fitness class would be resuming live at the JCC, she knew she would not wait long to return. Pam had continued participating in the class when it went online in March, and was excited to work out with her friends in person.

“The sense of community is wonderful,” Pam says. “While we’re all wearing masks, you can see people smile through their eyes.”

Pam was preparing for her third week back at Dance with Alicia, and had just finished her first class of the day, Body Pump, with Linda Skulsky. Both classes are held on Saturday mornings in the Mary Sachs Auditorium at the JCC.

The spacious room and required masks were comfortable enough for about a dozen devotees to return for this in-person class with Alicia Smith, who has been a fitness instructor at the JCC for five years and has a dedicated following.

“I am so excited to get back,” Alicia says. “I miss everybody so much.”

Alicia’s online class was a bedrock of continuity for the JCC Fitness Department during the shutdown. Not only did it keep members active, but also preserved the sense of community that members of the class feel with each other.

“We all log on early and chat before working out,” says Pam. “In normal times, we go out to lunch with each other and we’ve continued to do socially-distanced exercise outside. The JCC is a community.”

The online program, which is still being held in addition to the in-person class, drew participants not just from the area but Israel, Italy, UK, and Canada.

Both Pam and Alicia say that they were comfortable coming back to work out at the JCC building so soon because of the precautions and attention to detail given by the JCC staff.

“The room is huge and you’re not near anybody,” Alicia says. “You can literally walk in, take the class, walk out, and never touch anything. I really feel that we are safe.”

The live fitness classes join a host of services currently offered by the JCC Fitness Department, including the fitness center, indoor pool, racquetball court, and basketball gym. For more information on the JCC’s ongoing reopening and policies and procedures in place, visit