Ashlee Grieb and her husband Fred live in the same Westport home he grew up in.
But they didn’t buy it from his parents. Another family did; the Griebs purchased it from them, when it randomly came on the market after they’d been looking all over town for 6 months.
That’s not what this story is about, however. What Ashlee has done since then is even more interesting.
Soon after relocating here from New York, she joined the Westport Weston Family YMCA. “My son was 7 months old. I didn’t know anyone. The new Y had just opened. Their childcare was great. And I really got into group fitness,” Ashlee recalls.
In 2019 she decided to get certified as a trainer. She studied, passed a test — and then COVID hit.
Ashlee spent pandemic time in her basement, choreographing a class she hoped to some day teach.
When director of health and wellness Judy Klein called, she was ready.
The first class Ashlee taught was “Dancing to the Oldies.” It was great, for a handful of people.
When she changed it to “Cardio Dance Jam” in 2021, things really rocked.
Her Monday and Thursday classes are filled with 20-something au pairs, 70-something retirees, and all ages in between. Most — but not all — are women.
Music ranges from Kesha and K-pop to Meghan Trainor, Christina Aguilera, Ed Sheeran and Rihanna.
“If you like music and dancing, this is for you,” Ashlee says. “We laugh a lot. We have so much fun.
Newcomers are welcomed in. “Not everyone feels comfortable dancing in front of others,” she acknowledges. “But it doesn’t matter. We foster a community of acceptance.
“This is a place to have fun. There are not a lot of adult dance groups. I’m glad I can provide that space.”
Ashlee’s class, after a New Year’s Eve Cardio Dance Jam.
Ashlee also leads a weekly class for Parkinson’s patients. The music is older: Elvis, the Beach Boys, Neil Diamond, Pat Benatar, disco.
The Parkinson’s class members — who named themselves “The Parkettes” — are mostly men. “They’re totally into it. They sing right along,” Ashlee says.
“It’s good for them to exercise their voices as well as their bodies. I’m glad it’s so helpful.”
One member calls it “the highlight of my week.”
In addition to leading classes, Ashlee is a self-taught video producer. After recording one to promote her class, she was asked to film others. She enjoys using her talents to show off the wide variety of classes.
Ashlee is all in at the Y. She serves on the Employee Engagement Committee, and is helping plan next fall’s Sneaker Ball.
In her spare time, she volunteers at her son’s Long Lots School library.
When librarians learned she’s a fitness dance instructor, they asked for their own session. So one day before school, Ashlee led the Long Lots staff in a special Cardio Dance Jam.
With a song blasting out, and in her heart.
(For more information on Cardio Dance Jam, and other fitness classes, click here.)
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Ashlee Grieb, in action.