Over the past few years a new form of exercise, Zumba, swept over the nation. Zumba is a dance fitness program that incorporates hip-hop, soca, salsa, samba, merengue and mambo. It was created by a colombian dancer and choreographer, Alberto Perez, during the 1990’s. Since then it has become one of the most popular exercise classes. Approximately 15 million people take weekly zumba classes in over 200,000 locations across 180 countries.
Ms. Pina is a social studies teacher at Andover High School. She has taught here for many years, but something a lot of people may not know about her is that although she teaches in school all day, she also teaches Zumba classes in the evening.
“I’ve always loved to dance, and I enjoy working out,” said Ms. Pina when asked about how she got involved. She did ballet her entire childhood and then after college she got involved in Malian dancing. “Zumba seemed like a really good blend of both of those.” After only one Zumba class she knew she loved it and instantly signed up to get licensed to teach.
Ms. Pina has been teaching for about six years and has already gotten her AFAA certification (national group exercise certificate to instruct). She teaches a class at 6:15 on Tuesday nights at the Lawrence YMCA, a 7:25 class on Wednesday nights at the Andover YMCA, and a 5:30 class on Thursday nights at Latitude in Andover.
Alana Ferris is a junior at Andover High School who has attended a few of Pina’s classes. “I loved it; it was so much fun. She just kept everything so upbeat and it was great to dance,” said Alana. “Basically she puts on different remixes that she made on her own and then she does a dance and we have to follow it, but it’s great.”
Pina actually finds it fun when her students come to her Zumba classes. “I enjoy seeing students in a different environment than school, and I imagine that it must be interesting- or strange- for them to see me in a different -and somewhat silly- context.”
Ms. Pina’s Zumba class combines a great deal of things that she loves and many other people feel the same way she does. Rafia Rehman, A senior at AHS has also participated in a few classes of hers. “There is a great energy in her class that I don’t find in others that I’ve been to. It makes it more fun and comfortable. At first it may feel a little embarrassing but Ms. Pina is very encouraging even if you aren’t the best dancer.”
If you are ever looking for a fun workout, Rehman insists that it is the perfect class.
By Molly Aumais