It's Tuesday around 6:30 p.m. on a cool winter night, you're bored at home, your husband is off in his garage and you're thinking, what can I do? Did you have a New Year’s resolution to get in shape or live a healthier lifestyle, but you haven’t found that perfect routine yet? Do you like to dance?
If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, you might want to try Zumba. It's a Latin-inspired style of dancing that can help burn calories. In Zumba, you will be shaking your hips to many varieties of music with beats that you can’t help but to dance too, like bong-ra, African beats, salsa, reggaeton, and some belly dancing.
Instructor Darcy Fox said her Zumba classes at the Fridley Community Center follow a 70-30 formula: 70 percent of the time students do the Zumba moves to music of Fox's choosing, and 30 percent of the music is the students' choice.* Becoming their own instructor gets their heart rates up and keeps those hips moving, she said.
Zumba is done on an interval training system: students exert as much energy as they can, then counter that with bouts of low activity or rest. This type of training is good for fat loss and helps build endurance so Zumba dancers can work out for longer periods, Fox said.
Fox said for her the greatest part about Zumba is that "there aren’t any rules—no one has to be perfect about the dancing." Zumba is not geared towards any one age group or type of person; Fox said she has taught a child of 5 and a woman aged 84.
Fox said she has taught many kinds of classes but finds that Zumba "calls her name." In class, she said, "people are always smiling back at you because they're shaking their hips and having fun. ... [Zumba] allows anyone to be able to let go of any problems in their life and just dance."
Sue Johnson of the Fridley Parks and Recreation Department said Fox’s classes “are really building a following.” Cost is $36 for a once-a-week class for six weeks. It's offered Tuesday or Thursdays from 6:30–7:30 p.m., beginning this week (Jan. 11 and 13). Zumba class is held in the community center's lower level, also known as The Zone.
Fox said that the first time “you might get confused,” but if you come with a smile on your face and willingness to keep trying you will get the hang of the dancing. Wear loose comfortable clothing and comfy shoes with soles that have a light grip, she advised, and bring a lot of water to drink and a towel because you will be sweating.
Check out this YouTube video that Darcy recommended. The song is "Caipirinha," and in the video it's not only women but men too dancing.
*Editor’s Note: We have revised this story. An earlier version incorrectly stated that dance moves in class were 70 percent the instructor's choice and 30 the students' choice.