I wrote this earlier this summer about a wonderful, local, family-owned small business, that I can’t imagine what I would do without. Friendships made, confidence gained, and pounds lost. I learned today that they have to close the studio and they are currently looking for a new venue for their Zumba classes. I’m re-posting this to try to spread the word in case anyone knows of a place that might be able to rent out space for Zumba classes. Please share and help save Wow! Dance Fit!
I’m sure there are other groups like this one everywhere. At first glance, they may seem like just another group of women at an exercise class (Zumba!). But I happen to think this particular group of students and instructors is pretty interesting.
There’s the group of ladies who try to get to class early enough so they can stake out positions in the back corner of the room where the mirror doesn’t reach them. There are quite of few (myself included) who prefer not to see ourselves sweat while moving in the opposite direction from the rest of class so the members of this group will vary from class to class depending on who gets there first.
There’s Kim, who will choose her dancing spot depending on where the fan happens to be located. Rebecca needs extra space around her; she’s got long legs and takes big steps so you need to make sure you’re paying attention and moving in the right direction or you could get run over.
One of the students often comes to class with ankle weights and still manages to move quicker and smoother than I do. There’s the seemingly unlikely hip-hop fans who “woot woot” whenever Usher’s “Scream” gets thrown into the rotation. And when the belly dancing songs come on, most of us are happy to don our hip-shaking beads and shake our hips, emulating Shakira to the best of our abilities.
There’s a few who struggle to make sure they are following the instructor precisely. When I’m one of them, it’s hard to smile when she looks around to see if we’re having fun. Others know that it’s best to just follow the studio’s only two rules: Just keep moving and have a good time. When you don’t worry too much about whether you’re doing something right, or how you look while doing it, it is a lot more fun.
As you can imagine, the students are mostly women. There is one brave gentleman, however, who comes to class quite often and probably has more fun than anyone. His favorite class song is “Mambo No. Five” and somehow that’s just perfect for “Zumbalito” as he has been nicknamed by one of the owners.
This brings me to the instructors and owners. Each time I attend one of Christine’s classes I am in awe of this young woman. Last fall, shortly after I started taking her class, Christine had a minor stroke. Not one to let something like a pesky stroke hold her back, she began therapy as quickly as she could after being cleared to do so. We began seeing her in class early this year when she participated once in a while, just a little here and there, slowly easing into the workouts. Now, she’s back as strong as ever and you would never know she’d ever been anything but.
The studio is owned and operated by a couple who are as committed to their community as they are to the studio. They have dedicated several of their regular events to worthwhile causes such as relief efforts for victims of last fall’s deadly typhoon in The Philippines and just last month a Zumba-thon for the American Heart Association. ‘The Husband’, as he usually refers to himself on the studio’s Facebook page, often travels overseas to do mission work so he is not always present in the studio. His enthusiasm when he is there though, is contagious and he makes you feel at home when he greets you by name as soon as you walk in the door. Kyong is everything a Zumba instructor, or any exercise instructor for that matter, should be: encouraging, bounding with seemingly endless energy, doing whatever she can to make the class as fun as possible.
So these are the people I try to see as often as possible. Yes, I do have egotistical reasons for doing so: working out with them has helped me lose weight. Losing weight has improved my confidence and helped me feel better about myself and the way I look. Dancing has always made me feel good. Doing Zumba with these great people makes me feel great; exhausted, but happy. Must be all those endorphins.