Thursday, September 13, 2007

Zumba's Here!

posted by Lani Stack
Flynn Marketing Manager, Editor

Zumba has arrived at the Flynn! I just returned from FlynnArts' first ever Zumba dance class, led by certified instructor Deb Matthews. This dynamic Latin-dance and fitness class features high-energy moves set to spicy Latin music, helping participants maximize fat burning and total body toning while learning fast-paced steps can be used out on the town.

According to Matthews, Zumba began in the mid-1990s when Colombian fitness trainer "Beto" Perez one day walked into the aerobics class he was about to lead and realized that he had forgotten his usual music. He went to his car and grabbed the tapes he loved to listen to while driving–the traditional Latin salsa and merengue music with which he had been raised. His students loved Perez's last-minute improvisation and requested a dedicated class—which soon became most popular class at his fitness facility. A fitness revolution was born.

In today's class, Matthews mixed salsa, mambo, cha-cha, and merengue steps with hip-hop and aerobics. While perhaps not all of us knew the basics of these steps, most of us recognized much of the music—including the always-popular Tequila. (I'm hoping that future classes will incorporate this song and forever break me from associating it with Pee Wee's Big Adventure.)

Whenever I begin a new dance class, I'm haunted by the memories of a French-accented scolding from my childhood ballet instructor: "Lani, my little wiggle worm, aim to keep your body straight and long." ...Can I help it that my hips move independently of the rest of my body? I've learned that I'm happiest when taking bellydancing, hula, or Latin dance instruction—not that these styles are free-form by any means, but they usually give me more latitude to wiggle and shimmy without feeling too foolish or restrained. I can already tell that Zumba will meet my expectations. I left the class feeling exhilarated and confident, if awfully sweaty.

One of the best benefits for working for the Flynn is that we're encouraged to take FlynnArts classes at discounted rates (or even for free!). To my delight, five of my fellow Flynnies joined me in the Flynn's on-site dance studio for this lunchtime class, along with five other participants. This 12-week class still has room for a few more people, so get moving on Thursdays from noon to 1—and dance alongside some of the folks who keep the Flynn running! (Early risers can join FlynnArts' morning session of Zumba, beginning tomorrow from 7:30 to 8:30 am.) The fall term began this week and we are still enrolling students in dance, theater, and music classes—contact FlynnArts now to enroll!

Latin dance enthusiasts who prefer to watch the pros in action shouldn't miss the spectacular Ballet Folklórico de México on the MainStage on Thursday, October 4 at 7:30 pm. The Latin-themed fun continues on the MainStage Thursday, October 25 at 7:30 pm, when the luminous Brazilian contralto Virgínia Rodrigues—the diva of Afro-Bahian song—wraps her beautiful voice around samba, classical sounds, and the deeply spiritual music of Bahia’s candomblé sect.

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