Zumba® Brings People Together
Jessica Hall is a local Zumba® fitness instructor and is this year’s Zumbathon® instructor coordinator. We asked Jessica to share with us why our Zumbathon® is so special and what Zumba® fitness means to her.
The Steps to End Domestic Violence Zumbathon® is the biggest Zumba® event in Vermont and, whether as a student or an instructor, it’s always been a “don’t miss” party. It is in its NINTH year! And it has it all, including instructors from all across the state, lights, cameras, crazy costumes, shenanigans, new routines, prizes, you name it! Not to mention that there’s no other feeling like rocking out to some INCREDIBLE music with a few hundred pals! But that’s not all this party is; first and foremost is that it benefits a good cause.
As someone who witnessed domestic violence as a child and young adult, I know the negative impact that domestic violence can have on a person. People need to understand that organizations like this change people’s lives. These services are imperative to victims of domestic violence and give them the tools that they need to survive and thrive and to move on toward a brighter future.
The opportunity to take this passion for Zumba® and use it to help raise money for Steps to End Domestic Violence means the world to me. I am beyond grateful to be a part of it.
I began my Zumba® journey nearly 8 years ago. I was a Mom of three children and worked full-time. I was 36-years-old, stressed, quickly becoming out of shape and desperately needing something just for myself. I saw a sign posted outside of a dance studio in Swanton advertising Zumba® classes. I thought “why not” and showed up the following week.
I had no idea what to expect when I showed up there by myself, with no dance background whatsoever and with no exercise since before I was pregnant with my then 9-month-old daughter. I was nervous and unsure, to say the least, and had to take some deep breathes before heading inside. What if I looked ridiculous? Would I be able to make it through a whole class? Would I know anyone? What if I was a distraction to other people there?
When I got inside I was greeted warmly by the instructors. I took a spot in the back and class began. I got winded quickly, had a hard time doing both the arm movement AND the legs and was undoubtedly the NEW person in the room. But the instructors kept right on cueing and I was able to get a good workout and feel like I had success with the movements. And the music, oh that music; that feel good, get sassy, empowering, uplifting music. It made me forget that I was working out, that I was screwing up, that I had laundry at home, stress at work and EVERY other stressor in my life. For that glorious hour it was the instructors, me and the music-that’s IT. After just one class, I was hooked. My life has changed for the better since then!
Zumba® has given me so much over the last 8 years. I’m more coordinated these days, thankfully! It’s made me more confident, it’s reshaped me physically, it’s reshaped me mentally, it’s my joy, it’s my therapy and it’s my passion. The network of people that I have met through Zumba® STILL blows my mind!
People of all ages, fitness levels, gender, race, religion, creed and color ALL fit in in a Zumba® class. Zumba® brings people together in joy and fitness in a way that I have never seen before. These classmates become part of your Zumba® family as well. We’ve celebrated birthdays, going-away, weddings, baby showers, graduations-you name it. We have laughed, cried, supported and cheered on together.
Most importantly, the impact of the Zumbathons® hosted by local instructors for charity is mind blowing. Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been raised for both national and local organizations and that’s been from just here in Vermont! Zumba® brings people together, especially when it’s for a cause. I am so honored to be part of the passionate, generous, caring, socially conscious group of Zumba® instructors that we have here in Vermont! We all do some pretty amazing things when we come together!
Register for the 9th Annual Zumbathon®
Photo courtesy of Tim Stowe Photography