Asuka Boutcher says the word "kazaxe" means "house of positive vibes." It's a word she made up to describe her dance/exercise program.
Kazaxe, an amalgam of Spanish and Portuguese, is pronounced KHAS-ah-shay.
The 28-year-old women formerly taught Zumba classes -- that's a dance exercise movement which originated in Columbia. But Boutcher took requests during those classes.
"The students [told] me what they wanted." explained Asuka Boutcher. "They're like, 'Asuka do this. Asuka, make it harder. Auska do it like this.' And I kind of [changed the program] to cater to them." Kazaxe was born.
And Kazaxe has now become so popular, Boutcher and a few other instructors now lead classes as often as four times a day. Prices are low. The walk-in cost for a Kazaxe class in a rented gym in an old industrial building in Springfield is only five dollars. And the price drops if the customer buys a number of classes at once.
The high energy music played during the exercise sessions comes from all over the world. Marlissa Hudson, a Kazaxe student, says the choice of songs drives students to exercise harder: "The music compels you, so, right when you're really exhausted and you can't take another step, they put something else on, and that's like, 'Oh, that's my song!' And then you just start going again."
The music is played at a deafening volume.
Many of the students say they're getting healthier through Kazaxe classes. "I started losing weight," Virak Chhang told us. "And ultimately I lost about 60 pounds."
Asuka Boutcher has trademarked the name Kazaxe, but she is not currently eager to expand the exercise program nationally.
"This is the way I like it," said Boutcher. "I love it just here. And just keeping it our thing, and just making it solid here. That's my dream."