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News > Dance exercise wins over uncoordinated participant
The high-energy Zumba exercise class at the Gerrity Fitness Center attracts people in all stages of fitness for an hour of upbeat music and constant motion. Approximately 34 people, including Angela Perez-Castle, 38th Cyberspace Engineering Group, attended the March 7 class. (Air Force photo by Margo Wright)
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Dance exercise wins over uncoordinated participant

Posted 3/18/2011   Updated 3/18/2011 Email story   Print story


by Brandice J. O'Brien
Tinker Public Affairs

3/18/2011 - TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla.  -- I think I will do it again; but it's not a decision that came easily. It was more about weighing the pros and cons. I realize I'm not cut out for Zumba -- I have no rhythm; but the hour-long session was constant movement that had me sweating. So, yes, I will be back.

Held at 4 p.m. on Mondays at the Gerrity Fitness and Sports Center back gymnasium, Zumba is a dance regimen that includes international rhythms and hip-hop beats, and encourages ladies to let their inner woman run free. Granted that was not the case for me, but it was a nice concept, in theory.

Instructor Britton Young led the class of roughly 30 students with the grace of a belly dancer, sex appeal of a salsa dancer and confidence of a krumping hip-hop artist. I followed, not well, but I tried. To say I have two left feet is a compliment that's out of my league. It's comparable to saying I will be nominated for a 2012 Nobel Peace prize.

Young started with Katy Perry's "Firework" and a montage of songs including Ricky Martin's "Livin' La Vida Loca," and ended with Bruno Mars' "Just the Way You Are."

I stared at Young's feet, counting steps, noticing that I can't count higher than two without losing my place and the 16 subsequent steps. I guess that explains why I was cut -- twice -- from my high school cheerleading squad.

If the steps weren't challenging enough, she threw in arm and hip movements. Let me tell you, if any man saw me attempt the hip-tushie thrust, it would be safe to say I'll remain single for the rest of my days and in 60 years, I will be the old lady with cats. It wasn't pretty.

Young tells a different story. The 26-year-old from Weatherford who's been doing Zumba for the past year, insists anyone can do it. She said it's not about getting the right steps as much as it is about having fun.

"You can do no wrong," she said. "Zumba is structured differently than your traditional exercise program; it's not that I'm getting up there talking to you and telling you everything to do. It's very visual. I cue with my body and you follow along because you're supposed to be feeling the music."

Designed by Colombian choreographer and dancer Alberto "Beto" Perez, Zumba has been around since the 1990s and aims to tone and strengthen, and it targets various muscle groups. Oftentimes moves from salsa, meringue, mambo, belly dancing and hip-hop are incorporated into the program. It is said an individual can burn 300 to 500 calories in one hour.

"It's very important to me that everyone enjoys themselves and wants to come back. I try to keep it diverse enough so everyone is enjoying themselves, but still keeping it true to what Zumba is," she said. "You don't have to be super coordinated. Feel free to make your own moves, just keep moving. Above all, have fun."

And, with that, I will be back.

In addition to the Monday classes, Young also teaches Zumba at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays at the Youth Center.

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