Zumba's Latin grooves find exercise fans of all ages
In her forties, Michele Perron didn't realize how stiff she had gotten until she went to her first Zumba class. The Zumba approach features dance movements to Latin rhythms, including a lot of hip action. "I liked it so much," Perron said. She ke...
In her forties, Michele Perron didn't realize how stiff she had gotten until she went to her first Zumba class.
The Zumba approach features dance movements to Latin rhythms, including a lot of hip action.
"I liked it so much," Perron said.
She kept going to that class at the Superior YMCA. And that hip action did wonders. She's not so stiff anymore. Now a certified instructor, she helped lead a Zumba class Saturday morning on the beach outside Park Point Beach House.
Zumba, which got its start in South America in the 1990s, was introduced to the Twin Ports several years ago and quickly gained an avid following. It's
offered through community education, local YMCAs, dance studios and at various other sites. It draws both the young and the not-so-young, and people who have shied away from aerobics in the past.
Liz Santodonato, 59, of Duluth, has been taking Zumba classes for about a month and is sold.
"I love it, " she said after Saturday's workout. "Older, out-of-shape people can do this, too. Everybody has different shapes and sizes. You're never too old to Zumba."
The weekly summer beach classes are free with a good-will donation for local charities encouraged. As many as 40 people have turned out for one class.
It was the brainchild of Jillian Heide, a 28-year-old Zumba instructor who teaches Zumba at the YMCA in Duluth and Superior and at Elite Dance Productions in Duluth. She recruited other local Zumba instructors to help lead the Park Point beach classes together.
"What I'm trying to do is create 'Zumba for the People,' " she said. "We're getting together and doing something fun and putting fitness in the mix and also helping the community."
Unlike traditional aerobics classes that raise heart rates to a peak and then slowly bring them down, Zumba has intervals of fast and slow rhythms throughout.
"It's basically exercise in disguise," Heide said. "It's a fun way to work out. You could do it for hours and not be tired."
Indeed, during Saturday's class, none of the 17 participants appeared tired halfway into the hour class which is typically the peak aerobic level.
"It's doesn't' feel like exercise at all," said Chivon Smrekar, 29, of Proctor, who did Zumba as she kept an eye on her 9-year-old son playing with a friend. "It's fun, and I love to dance."
Angela Valine, 22, of Duluth likes Zumba better than other aerobics she's tried.
"I like it because it gets you in shape, but it's womanly. It's good for curves and very fun," said Valine whose Zumba top said "Join the party" on the back.
And while the cool breeze was refreshing and the sounds of the waves soothing, doing Zumba barefoot on the beach is more challenging then in an indoor class. But that's good, too, they say.
"It works you in different areas," Smrekar said.
Saturday morning Zumba for the People classes continue at least through August at Park Point Beach House. Because of the tall ships visit this week, however, this Saturday's 10:30 a.m. class will instead be at 9 a.m. at Bayfront Festival Park. For more information, e-mail: email@example.com .
To learn more about Zumba and to find other class locations, visit zumba.com.