High-energy dance class gains popularity among students and community

Darian Thomas

Zumba, an aerobic fitness program inspired by Latin dance moves, is making its move across campus.

Kent State offers this high-energy dance workout at the Student Recreation and Wellness Center and also at the Student Center.

The rec center offers Zumba on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7:30 to 8:15 p.m. The classes have participants ranging in age from 18 to 65, with a majority of the class being college students. Two instructors, both with teaching backgrounds, instruct the classes, so participants can experience different styles with each instructor. Both classes get about 60 to 70 people a class said wellness coordinator Rachael Decker.

The Student Center’s class, sponsored by Kent Student Center Programming, is on Mondays from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tara Gustwiller, senior early childhood education major, teaches the class.

“This is my first experience teaching,” Gustwiller said. “The first day of class I had butterflies, but those quickly went away when I saw everyone was having fun.”

Gustwiller’s first class had approximately 60 people in it. It now averages 30 to 40 people every week.

The class is almost always predominantly girls said Kyle Johannes, sophomore human development and family studies major, who helps out with Zumba check-in. He said that he sees on average about one guy a week for the class.

“I think that if a group of guys came it would make it easier for others to come,” Johannes said. “I’m still not sure if that’s what it would take to get me out there, but it would be a start.”

With the way the class is structured and attendance isn’t really stressed, it’s easy for new people to come and try it out.

Kasai Carter, a sophomore communications major who also helps with Zumba check-in, said that she sees a lot of the same girls who have been there since the first day but a lot of new faces as well.

Gustwiller plays a wide variety of music, from Ke$ha to Pitbull, with four to five other Zumba songs incorporated into each class.

“I like to incorporate new music into the program to keep things interesting and fun,” Gustwiller said. “I will even have the class fist-pumping to the song ‘DJ Got Us Falling In Love Again’ by Usher and Pitbull.”

The class at the Student Center is open to people all ages, but almost all who attend are college students. The good thing about the class, Gustwiller said, is that participants don’t have to be coordinated to take the class. They can be as wacky and goofy as they want.

“Zumba is a high-energy, fast-paced but easy to learn class. It’s a great way to loosen up and shape up while still having a great time,” said Mikala Massimiani, freshman pre-business management major.

Gustwiller said this is something that she definitely wants to do later on in life. As far as the class goes, Gustwiller said that she would like to see more diversity in the class for the future.

You can contact Darian Thomas at [email protected].