Zumbathon raises money for ALS, KSU Hip-Hop Group


Sue Salem, a zumba instructor from Green, Ohio, leads the first Zumbathon at Kent State University on Friday, February 22, 2013. The event raised money to benefit MDA’s Augie’s Quest to Cure ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Photo by MELANIE NESTERUK.

Abby Bradford

Kent State students and faculty “ditched the workout and joined the party” at Friday night’s Zumbathon, to raise $1,000 for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).

“I had a blast, I saw so many people smiling and I could just tell people were having a really, really good time,” said zumba instructor Danielle Novotny, who hosted the event.

Zumbathon: Dance for a Cure, took place 7 to 9 p.m. Friday in the Student Center. This was the event’s fourth year on campus and its second year raising money for the charity Augie’s Quest, an organization dedicated to raising money for ALS. Seventy-five percent of the proceeds went to ALS. The other 25 percent went to Kent State’s hip-hop group, Golden Reflections.

“A lot of people just want to go work out and have fun,” Novotny said. “I tell people it’s like going out with your girlfriends on Saturday night. That’s the same type of atmosphere we try to provide.”

Novotny, graduate student in sports and recreation management, has been teaching Zumba for more than two years. She teaches 10 to 16 classes on campus each week, including Aquazumba and Zumbasenato. This is Novotny’s fourth year hosting this event by herself, and she has been a part of 10 to 12 different Zumba events in the past year.

“It’s great exercise, and I just want to learn how to dance,” said Justina Belknap, senior nutrition and food major.

Belknap takes Novotny’s Zumba class on campus for credit. She participated in half the event and volunteered for the second half working at the raffle table. She won a Zumba raffle basket at the event.

“I love her, she is like a ball of energy and I just want to be like her,” Belknap said about Novotny.

Fourteen Zumba instructors switched instructing every two songs, each bringing their own personality and type of dance to the event. Novotny said that Zumba focuses on four basic styles of dance: Salsa, Meringue, Cumbia, and Reggaeton.

“The cool part about it is every instructor is different,” Novotny said. “We know the basics and then have the freedom to do what we want when we teach them.”

Alberto Beto Perez started Zumba in 2001. More than 12 million people in 125 countries all over the world participate in Zumba.

“I like it, it is good relaxation after a crazy school day, I like the dancing and good music,” said Shruti Jain, graduate student in cell biology. She heard about the event from her friends who take Zumba classes at the Student Recreation and Wellness Center.

Participants in the Zumbathon could come and go as they pleased during the event. Halfway through, Golden Reflections preformed a dance and multiple prize baskets were raffled off, which included a gift card basket, a movie basket and Cleveland Cavaliers tickets.

At the end of the event, participants cooled down by stretching and the rest of the baskets were raffled off. Overall, $1,000 dollars was raised, which was $600 more than last year.

Contact Abby Bradford at [email protected].