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Dance-based Zumba craze arrives in Wooster

The Latin American dance-based workout craze called Zumba has reached the College of Wooster.† In its inaugural year, students and faculty will now have the opportunity to take Zumba classes taught by Grace Lundergan ’11.

The classes are held on Sundays in the Armington Physical Education Center, from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. for students, and from 5:15 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. for faculty.

Zumba is a type of workout that has gained popularity in the past few years.† While similar to aerobics, it uses dance moves and upbeat, usually Latin, music to motivate its followers to have fun while working out.

Lundergan began taking Zumba classes at the YMCA in her hometown of Ft. Wayne, Ind. three years ago, and felt that it would be fun to start a Zumba class at Wooster.

Last year she proposed the idea to Steve Moore, Director of Intramural Sports, and received funding to attend a one-day training session to become a certified Zumba instructor.

There she learned some of the philosophies of Zumba, including, “ditch the workout, join the party,” and how to choreograph dance workouts for large classes.

The class began two weeks ago with about 70 participants, and after borrowing louder speakers from a friend to project music throughout the gym, Lundergan is optimistic in her endeavor.

“A lot of people are really excited about the class and are glad to have more workout options here,” she said.

Several of the participants had very positive reactions to the first two classes. “I was a little hesitant about the level of the workout it would offer, but was surprised by the cardio workout that I got,” said Cassandra Zavis ’12, “If I don’t realize that I’m working out, it makes it all the better!”

Many students were eager and excited to try out the class following the popularity of Super Fit Aerobics, an aerobics class offered for the past two years to students.

“I have never tried Zumba before but I usually went to Super Fit and I always liked that so I was excited to try another exercise class,” said Emma Shriver ’11.

Lundergan hopes to continue the class throughout the year, and eventually find someone to take over teaching it for next year.† As the semester goes on and more students participate regularly, she hopes to step up the workout factor and make it more aerobic.

Although she was a gymnast for several years, Lundergan has little background in dance besides taking Zumba classes for three years.† As an English and Spanish double major, she did, however, study abroad in Ecuador last year, where she was exposed to dancing at clubs and parties.

A major difference she saw between American and Latin American culture was that men were comfortable dancing in public.† “The men were really uninhibited and could dance well,” she said.

Lundergan said that in contrast, Zumba was primarily popular with middle-aged women first, and recently has reached a new audience with younger women.† While women were the only participants in her first two classes, she hopes that it will become more popular with men as well.

Many of the earliest participants said that after trying Zumba for the first time at Wooster they will be returning to the class on a weekly basis.

“I like mixing in different types of exercise into my weekly routine, it’s nice to dance for an hour instead of running endlessly on a treadmill,” said Zavis.

“I really like the class, it is a fun way to get away from homework for an hour on Sunday afternoons,” said Shriver.† “It is fun, and full of energy, which is really what I need on a Sunday.”

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