By Lindsay Schaefer
Dr. Jim King, dean of the College of Business, is one of the few males who attends the new Zumba classes, but that has not stopped him from learning how to shake his hips.
He admits that it’s intimidating being one of the only males; however he enjoys giving Sue Weaver, the instructor, a hard time when she refers to the group as “girls.”
Although King is surrounded by females, he is not embarrassed during the class because there is no time to be concerned if the other class participants are watching.
“I can’t worry about what other people think,” he said. “I’m not coordinated enough. I am so focused on (Weaver), the mirror and myself that I just think about doing my best and getting it over with.”
Weaver, director of Campus Recreation, said she brought zumba to the university because she is “always looking for new and innovative classes and (UMHB) really needed another cardiovascular type of class that people would like and would be interested in.”
Zumba, Spanish slang for “to move fast and have fun,” is a Latin-inspired dance workout that blends salsa, meringue, cumbia and samba moves with classical aerobic steps to tone muscles and strengthen the cardiovascular system.
Founded in Latin America by Beto Perez in the 1990s, Zumba was brought to the United States in 1999 and has grown into the most popular dance fitness class to sweep the U.S and abroad.
The class is a high energy, fast-paced, full body exercise that makes it easy to forget that it’s a real exercise.
Zumba’s catch phrase, “Ditch the party, join the workout,” is centered on the idea that exercising should be exciting and easy to do.
Weaver said, “Mainly it’s just fun, and people don’t feel like they’re working out all that much, but in reality they are burning between 500 and 1,000 calories.”
The class appeals to people who are looking for a new type of fitness regimen or to those who want to enjoy exercising with friends.
King started attending the Zumba class because he was looking for a group exercise to add to his usual workout routine, so he took a chance by attending the first class. He has stuck with it and recommends it.
“It’s a great activity for exercise, and it’s a lot of fun,” he said.
Prior dance or athleticism abilities are not required to enjoy a zumba class; however, a positive attitude and a willingness to try are the keys to successfully completing a class. If you are considering taking the Zumba class, King offers words of wisdom.
“You have to accept any lack of coordination you have in the beginning and hope to build better coordination in the end. It’s not for people who have two left feet.”
Junior music education major Ashley Calderon joined the class because of its Latin connection.
“I love to do those meringue moves and cumbia moves,” she said. “You can do it in front of total strangers, and it’s not a weird thing.”
Sophomore nursing major Vanessa Sanchez’s main focus is to get a good workout, so when she saw a class incorporating dance moves advertised in a Mayborn newsletter, she was excited about joining.
“I love dancing. I have taken another Hispanic dancing class, so I know some of the Zumba moves so I … understand it better.”
The class has been a good challenge for Sanchez.
“I sweat so much, but it’s a plus because that means I am working hard.”
Leslie Cross, a junior vocal performance major, has been attending the class regularly ever since she heard about it from a friend who saw the flier.
“It’s a really fun way to work out, and I love dancing, so it’s the best of both worlds,” she said. “You’re having fun with friends and moving your body a lot.”