A kick of the heels, a sensual spin, swaying in time to the music…put all
these movements together and you have the elements for dance. And
dance is not only great fun, it’s good for you.
Anything that puts a big smile on your face is good for you.
Dancing is invigorating, sexy, creative and ageless. The health benefits are amazing too. Just ask the hundreds of thousands of North American women who are partaking in Zumba, a highly popular Latin dance and exercise program that promises wonderful fitness results while the participants conquer the latest dance moves.
ZUMBA was created in the 1990’s by Colombian dancer and fitness instructor, Alberto Perez. When he arrived to teach a fitness class, he realized he’d forgotten his class music, so he played his own Latin music that he happened to have on hand and started dancing. People followed, and a hit was born. After moving to the USA a few years later, he started a company called Zumba… similar to Rumba which, in some Latin countries, means ‘a party!’
Local Zumba instructor, Roxana Horna, teaches classes at the Woman’s Place; Global Fitness and Dual Influence Latin Dance. South America’s most popular rhythms are incorporated into Zumba. Salsa, Merengue, Reggaetón and Cumbia are the main beats, but Zumba also incorporates other international types of dance like flamenco, Samba, belly dance, Soca, Quebradita, Tango and Hip Hop.
Roxana is originally from Peru, where she met her Okanagan husband while he was working there. She says “everyone can enjoy Zumba dance”. Anyone can do it, even kids. My regular students range from age 13 to close to 90 years old! It doesn’t matter what shape you are in. Go at your own pace and get comfortable… it’s a progression. Some of my students are very fit and others are not but hey all love it because it’s so much fun!” she says.
Roxana smiled and said,
"there is even room for people with two left feet."
“If you’re not coordinated it just doesn’t matter. After two or three classes, you’ll catch on. The classes are an hour long and the music is so engaging that people don’t feel like they’re exercising.”
Roxana extols the benefits of Zumba on your mental state, as well.
“It’s a whole-body workout! Zumba is good for cardio and toning, and mentally, it just makes you happy. We laugh a lot! Our classes are all about students feeling comfortable. The music runs continuously for an hour, so you should bring a full water bottle and feel free to take a break at any time.”
While most students are female, there are men attending classes as well. Roxana says they are generally very energetic and bring a different vibe to the class.
As a long-time Zumba instructor, Roxana has been able to head numerous fundraisers for local and international causes. The local benefitters include the Kelowna Woman’s Shelter, Karis, the Kelowna Food Bank and the BC Children’s Hospital. She has also hosted fundraisers for Peru after a devastating flood that took the lives of many and left thousands without a home. She helped run a similar fundraiser for Mexico.
Another great exercise plan, JAZZERCISE is the original dance fitness program, celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Sara Green Eddy operates Move & Flow dance fitness and yoga in Kelowna.
“Jazzercise was created in 1969 by Judi Sheppard Missett, a professional dancer who realized how much her dancing helped her fitness,” says Sara. “It is a classic aerobics program that has evolved over fifty years and they’re constantly updating moves and music. The choreography is also easy to follow.”
Jazzercise incorporates mostly Top 40 music. The routines change about five times each year, with updated dance steps and music. They are all reviewed and approved by experts such as physiotherapists and most classes last about an hour. There are several types of classes to choose from.
Interval classes unleash the heart pumping, fat-burning power of Hi Intensity Interval Training. The result is definition in all the right places, with circuit-based bursts of cardio and strength training. Dance Mix sculpts lean muscles and crushes calories in a high intensity workout that mixes dance-based cardio with strength training.
Pulse-pounding music and body-blasting moves bring the intensity to
transform your body, boost your mood and ignite your energy.
In Fusion classes, participants supercharge their metabolism and blast fat fast. It is a circuit-based, high intensity, interval training class that fuses dance moves with muscle work for a total body workout. Strength45 classes are confidence-inspiring sessions that result in contour and definition while you melt fat. Forty-five minutes of fat burning and muscle sculpting will transform you!
Jazzercise classes take place throughout the day, every day of the week. Class sizes average from 5 to 20 students.
“NEW TO FITNESS?
Everyone works at their own pace. We don’t face the mirrors, there is no criticism and no judgement. It’s all about having fun. We deliver the classes at multiple levels, showing low impact at the same time as high impact,” says Sara.
“Throughout all the various styles of Jazzercise, the inevitable benefits are clear - weight loss, toning, mental strength and stress relief. I’ve heard many people say it’s so much fun and it is the only exercise class they have stuck with for a long time. The thing about Jazzercise is that it is a community, everyone helps out and we do fundraiser events with a lot of support from the group. The Jazzercise community has a very welcome and friendly feel. There are lots of young Moms helping each other, too.” says Sara.
Like Zumba, the majority of class participants are women, although men are welcome and do attend. Private lessons and events are also available. There is also child minding available during many of the classes. For more information on rates and class options, contact Sara at 589 Lawrence Avenue, Kelowna or www.moveandflow.ca
Whether it’s Latin music, a flair for modern dance or simply a love of exercising to music, both Zumba and Jazzercise are perfect for the individual who is seeking a fit, healthy body and strong mind…