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Gym Class Heroes: Zumba

Written by Jenna Marvet

After having participated in various dance-inspired fitness classes, I was interested in attending a Zumba class. Zumba is truly the grandfather of dance fitness classes and has been gaining popularity since the late 1990s. When I walked into the group exercise room, I was surprised to see a diversity in age groups. Here was a community atmosphere; the students were mingling amongst themselves and with the teacher. The room was nearly full.

The music started and the teacher stood in front of the mirror-paneled walls. It was difficult to catch on and I felt too self-conscious to go full out with the moves. I had been pushed up to front and center and I could tell how silly I looked. However, I tried to ignore that and remember that the moves were just supposed to be fun: these aren’t steps I would break out at the next quad dance. Some of the other students tried to help me out, explaining different sections of the dances. The people around me were all very welcoming and friendly to me throughout the whole class.

Zumba classes tend to use a mix of music that heavily features Latin tunes. It was an interesting mix between pop, some hip-hop and Latin pop. Some of the music felt a bit too relaxed to me, but I guess it varied on the taste of the person listening and how easy the listener could fall into step with the beat and energy of the song.

The class itself was not very high-impact and catered to people of all different fitness levels and ages. Zumba is best for those looking for a fun, but not too difficult, way to work out. I found it best when I let go of my self-consciousness; I got exactly what I put into the class.

The instructor, Rowe Hoffer, told me after the class that her favorite thing about Zumba is that it is a happy workout. She was not there to make sure that her students were doing everything right, but to inspire them to feel the rhythms and enjoy themselves.

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