Zumba Takes Our Towns (Maplewood and South Orange) by Storm

By mark-slade March 2, 2011

So You Think You Can Dance?

Zumba Takes Our Towns by Storm

Add a comment (0 comments )
Section Sponsored By patch <a href=’http://adserver.adtechus.com/adlink/3.0/5305.1/1648780/0/-1/ADTECH;grp=[group];alias=ox-maplewood-slot7;size=300×120;target=_blank;loc=300;key=news’ target=’_blank’> <img border=’0′ height=’120′ src=’http://adserver.adtechus.com/adserv/3.0/5305.1/1648780/0/-1/ADTECH;grp=[group];alias=ox-maplewood-slot7;size=300×120;target=_blank;loc=300;key=news’ width=’300′ /> </a>
With its fast paced moves and music that would make anyone want to shake their booty, many locals are finding that Zumba — the Latin-inspired dance fitness program — is the perfect way to get exercise and release pent up stress and frustration.
Sonali Ganti of Maplewood has been taking Zumba classes at Lifetime Fitness for the past two years. She loved the class so much she decided to become a certified Zumba teacher. “I love the fact that it’s such a great workout yet you don’t feel like you’re working out,” said Ganti. “It’s energetic and fun.”
Ganti did want to offer some advice to Zumba novices. “Some of my friends would get nervous when I invited them to a Zumba class. They would tell me ‘I have two left feet’ or ‘I can’t dance.’ I told them you don’t have to know how to dance.” The instructors model the steps, said Ganti, which are easy to follow.
Speaking of instructors, Ganti pointed out that much of your Zumba experience is based on your particular teacher. “Some teachers are more high energy than others.”
East Side Fitness on Springfield Avenue in Maplewood offers Zumba on Tuesdays at 9:30 am and 7:30 pm, Thursdays at 9:15 am and 7:30 pm and Saturdays at 9 am. Members can buy 10 sessions for $50 or Drop-in for $10 per class. Non-members can buy 10 sessions for $80 or Drop-in for $12 per class. Gena Strickland, the Zumba instructor on a recent Saturday morning, said she became a group fitness trainer and a Zumba instructor after losing 35 pounds by taking Zumba classes.  “This is more like a party than a chore,” claimed Lauren, one class member. “If you can’t follow the moves, it’s ok. There’s no judgment here.” Strickland demonstrated each routine and offered lower impact modifications.
Blue Life Karate in Maplewood offered their first Zumba class two weeks ago. “We had 12 women participate. Everyone seemed to have a great time,” said owner Durand Howard. Howard’s wife, Dion, a Certified Zumba Instructor, leads 45 minute classes on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. and Thursday at 8:15 p.m. Drop in classes are $12 each or you can purchase a 10-class card for $80.
Spa Lady on Academy Street in South Orange offers Zumba seven days a week due to its popularity. You can chose to pay $20 per class or join the studio and take the classes for free. Studio membership rates range from $19.99 to $45 per month.
A well-known Zumba teacher in the South Orange-Maplewood community, Benita, teaches at Ladies Workout Express on South Orange Avenue. Super Zumba, a more intense version, is offered on Tuesdays at 7 p.m. and Zumba is offered on Wednesdays at 9:15 a.m.
Sarah Hayden, a South Orange mom of two, is a member at Ladies Workout Express and thinks it’s worth the $20 monthly membership fee since she loves all the classes, especially Zumba. “Benita is a great teacher! It’s lots of fun,” said Hayden.