The increasingly-popular dance fitness program gets area ladies moving
By Kristen Miller
COKATO, MN - Its motto is “Ditch the workout, join the party” and that’s just what the women are finding out who have joined in the new Dassel-Cokato Zumba fitness class.
The party starts each Saturday at 10 a.m. with instructor Wendy Moore of Maplewood getting the class attendance has been as many as 43 pumped up to burn calories.
Not just any fitness program, Zumba is “a Latin-inspired dance-fitness program” combined with music that energizes.
Brenda Johnson of Dassel organized the first Zumba class which took place Jan. 15. She and her husband, Todd, own the space where Zumba takes place. It formerly housed Northwest Martial Arts and is located in the strip mall along Highway 12 in Cokato.
With the space empty, Johnson contacted her friend and trained Zumba instructor, Moore, who recently moved back to Minnesota from Oklahoma City, where Moore continues to manage a dance studio.
Moore fell in love with Zumba when she was encouraged by a friend to try it and began attending classes.
“That was it. I was hooked,” Moore said, noting how Zumba is welcoming to anybody and a dance background in not necessary.
“It’s about getting people out of their homes and starting a healthy lifestyle,” Moore said.
Zumba was created basically by accident with Alberto “Beto” Perez, a fitness instructor in his native country of Colombia.
One day, Beto forgot his traditional aerobics music and therefore had to improvise with his own mixed music tapes which included salsa and merengue music.
Instead of counting reps over the music, Zumba allows the music to create the moves.
“It’s the perfect workout for me,” Moore said. “It’s like you’re out dancing with your friends,” she said, adding it’s a party-like atmosphere.
Mandi Ailie Hoernemann bought her class pass (by nine classes to get the 10 time free) and likes Zumba because its new and she wanted to do something with her daughters.
“I giggled so much and you move so much you don’t have time to look at anyone else you’re so busy watching the instructor,” Hoernemann said, adding that she loves the full body workout she gets without having to go to the gym to get in shape.
Known as the Zumba formula, the workouts range from high to low impact, with Moore doing a basic workout for the ladies in Cokato.
By using the same moves with different formulas for each dance, it’s easy for Zumba participants to catch on, Moore explained.
It’s not just a typical aerobic exercise either, Moore said. Zumba not only burns calories, but it tones key muscles by including some hip-shaking and squats in the workout.
Zumba is a great alternative to the gym because its more fun than it is work, Moore explained.
“The gym is not my thing, but this is,” she said.
Another reason Moore encourages women to try Zumba is because they will leave there feeling good about themselves.
“It changes people’s lives,” she said, adding that it builds confidence and self-esteem.
Moore gives Johnson much credit for the success of the Dassel-Cokato Zumba class. By creating a group on Facebook, which currently has 65 members, Zumba classes are increasingly popular, with 43 in attendance at the Jan. 29 class, the most it has had thus far.
Moore has also really enjoyed working with the ladies in the group.
Due to the great turnout, Moore will come out for a second Zumba class on Thursdays beginning Feb. 17 at 7 p.m Moore will also have an additional Zumba class one Friday a month with dates to be determined.
With such a large group of participants, Moore wants to take it a step further by reaching out to the community and giving back.
She is looking at the options and could include a monthly collection for a local charity.
Regular Saturday classes begin at 10 a.m. There is no contract or registration fee, only a $5 fee per visit. Zumba participants can also pay $45 up front for nine classes and receive the 10th class free. This not only sets a commitment for the participants, but it also helps the sign-in process and gets them a free class as well, Moore explained.
For more information, visit the Dassel ~ Cokato Zumba page.