Zumba instructor connects fun with exercise


Senior sports administration major Jessica Szabo instructs students in a Zumba class in the Student Recreation and Wellness Center on Wednesday evening, March 13. Photo by Jenna Watson.

Matt Orszag

Jessica Szabo, senior sports administration major and Zumba instructor, has been teaching Zumba at Kent State’s Student Recreation and Wellness Center for three years.

Typically 50 to 65 students attend her class to get a workout that incorporates music and dance.

“In high school, I worked at a gym and they offered Zumba,” Szabo said. “I started taking the class and instantly fell in love. After getting my license, I called and asked if [Kent State] needed instructors, and they had me come in two days after.”

Zumba consists of full body movements that are intended to work the whole body. Participants start the class stretching to loosen up before dancing for 45 minutes. Students move their arms, legs and the core of the body to burn calories. Classes usually dance to popular salsa, reggaeton and hip-hop music with a variety of different dance styles. Participants then cool down.

“Typically in class I burn around 750 to 850 calories, but I have burned up to 980,” Szabo said. “It’s a great workout and a lot of fun.”

Szabo said she likes the variety of dances and seeing how much fun her class is having.

“It’s always about keeping it fun,” Szabo said. “I like to switch up the classes, so I mix up my music and try to always make up new dances.”

Szabo said most attendees are Kent State students and staff. Although the classes mostly consist of women, some men have joined in.

“In Latin countries, men grow up dancing,” Szabo said. “Here, it is not as common, so many men feel uncomfortable, but once they try it a couple times they get hooked too.”

Alison Sikes, freshman exploratory major, said she enjoys going to the class.

“The class has a really good instructor,” Sikes said. “I go to get fit and get ready for spring break.”

Sara Perry, freshman medical technology major, said she has a lot of fun during Zumba.

“My friends talked about how fun the class is,” Perry said. “It’s what keeps me coming back. I can’t really think of a better way to get such a good workout.”

Szabo’s class is every Wednesday from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Rec Center. The price of the Zumba class is $5 per each class, or students can purchase an unlimited Group-X pass for $40 per semester.

Contact Matt Orszag at [email protected].