Dance for a cure at Zumbathon

Caitlin Potts

Students and faculty are invited to dance for a cure at the spring Zumbathon Friday in the Kent State University Student Center Ballroom.

Seventy-five percent of proceeds go to Augie’s Quest, an organization working to find a cure for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Graduate student and Zumba instructor Danielle Novotny is in charge of the event, and she said Zumba techniques can help with muscular issues.

“A lot of people that have ALS have approached Zumba instructors and said they want to do Zumba,” Novotny said. “They want to move just like we do, and we want to help them.”

The remaining proceeds go to the Kent State Golden Reflections Hip Hop Dance Team, which does a lot of similar dance moves to Zumba.

“Every year two charities are picked, and we have Zumbathons,” Novotny said. “A bunch of instructors get together, and we just dance in a party-like atmosphere.”

Zumba is a dance workout made up of 70 percent Latin choreography and 30 percent modern hip-hop. Instructor Alberto “Beto” Perez created it in 2001.

The four basics behind the moves are the salsa, merengue, cumbia and reggaeton, and Novotny said 125 million people participate in Zumba over the world.

“Picture 60-plus people moving in one direction at the same time,” Novotny said. “Everyone’s smiling, laughing, singing. It’s the coolest sight to see.”

Twelve to 14 local instructors will take turns leading the dance moves. Attendees will learn brand new choreography to a mix of traditional and new music.

“We want to pull you out of the normal gym atmosphere and say, ‘This is your party. Let’s have a good time,’” Novotny said.

Tickets for basket raffles will be sold for $5. Participants can win a variety of prizes, such as Cleveland Cavaliers tickets or bath and body products.

Smaller baskets will be awarded halfway through the event, while the larger prizes will be distributed near the end. Students may arrive and leave when they want, but they must be present to win.

Novotny said the Zumbathon raised about $550 for Augie’s Quest during the Zumbathon held last spring.

“As a result, scientists for the ALS Therapy Development Institute were able to screen about 100 different molecules,” Novotny said. “As an instructor, that’s a great feeling to know we could help make that happen.”

Novotony said attendees don’t need experience to have fun at the Zumbathon.

“Ninety-five percent of the time, first-timers love it,” Novotny said. “In my years of dance and fitness, I’ve yet to find another thing that has the type of effect.”

Tickets cost $10 and can be purchased in the Student Center from noon to 4 p.m. or Friday evening at the Ballroom doors.

Contact Caitlin Potts at [email protected].