Monday, April 20, 2009

Zooming Into Zumba

“The sights and sounds of salsa and evenings spent watching relatives sway to music in New York and their native Haiti comprise Rachelle Wish's childhood memories. But nostalgia is only part of what attracted the Vancouver fitness instructor to Zumba, a Latin dance-inspired workout. Wish sees the discipline as a good way for people to get acquainted with global music and movements while getting in shape. ‘It's like you're traveling around the world and doing dances you'd see around the world,’ said Wish, 47, who teaches Zumba at Marshall Community Center, Groove Nation Dance Academy and the Columbia Tech Center 24 Hour Fitness in Vancouver. Depending on how much people move, dancers can burn up to 700 calories an hour, Wish noted. ‘It's nonstop. You're moving everything from head to toe,’ she said. Zumba classes are such a popular draw at Clark County fitness centers that Kelly Emerson hopes to open a studio devoted to the dance workout in Vancouver. ’It just really makes you feel great,’ said 38-year-old Emerson, who teaches Zumba at Firstenburg Community Center and Kanthak Karate in Vancouver, through the Evergreen Public Schools' Community Education program and at the Alameda Fitness Center in Portland. Emerson, a Vancouver resident, has taught Zumba to students ranging in age from 3 to 79. ‘It's a great dance workout that anyone can do,’ she said. Zumba's popularity extends past Clark County, throughout the state and beyond. ‘It's a craze,’ said Arzu Gosney, a 33-year-old Richland Zumba instructor. ‘They just really need to join the crowd. Come see the party.’ Hundreds of Mid-Columbia residents already have, evidenced by packed classes at gyms and city recreation centers. ‘It's the only time I enjoy sweating,’ said Melanie Maynard, 48, who recently attended one of Gosney's classes at Richland's Columbia Basin Racquet Club. ‘It's not your regular aerobics. It's really dancing.’ A recent Zumba class featured middle-aged men wearing white mid-calf socks, 4-foot-tall elementary school girls, teenage boys and trim young women who looked as if they could easily step onto an Argentinean dance floor if their workout pants and tanks were swapped with twirly skirts. ‘(Zumba) crosses culture, ages and fitness levels,’ said Gosney, who has been a certified teacher for nearly a year. ‘They feel like they are part of a group. They are dancing and they are having fun.’”

No comments: