First Posted: 9/13/2009
Organizers of an event planned this weekend in Mount Airy hope an exercise craze that is sweeping the nation will translate into big bucks for the local United Fund.
Mount Airys first Zumbathon is scheduled Saturday at Riverside Park from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., where the gate will open at 9:30 a.m.
Plucking down a minimum $10 donation for a Zumbathon ticket will allow participants access to a series of Zumba sessions, which have proven popular with local residents since the exercise style was first introduced here earlier this year.
Plus, theyll get to see a special guest, Nathan Blake of New York City, also known as the Zumba Master.
Whitney Summers, a local Zumba instructor who is a co-organizer of Saturdays fund-raiser, said this exercise form though relatively new on the local scene has become the most popular workout class offered at Reeves Community Center.
I think its gone over very well everywhere its been introduced because its a fun workout, Summers said of Zumba, which originated in Colombia in the 1990s. Its more of a party.
One key to the exercise is the Latin style of music used in place of traditional aerobics music. Hypnotic Latin rhythms blend with easy-to-follow moves to create a dynamic fitness program, according to a Web site dedicated to Zumba.
During the typical one-hour Zumba class, an average person will burn 500 to 1,000 calories, according to Summers, 27, who became certified as a Zumba instructor in March after earlier teaching turbo kick classes.
Also a full-time graphics designer, she leads classes at both the community center and the Andy Griffith Playhouse. Both morning and evening Zumba sessions are offered throughout the week in Mount Airy.
Normally, about 50 to 75 people will show up for each class, Summers said. Its mostly women. We usually have a few men in there, but not many. The instructor attributes this to Zumbas emphasis on dance, which seems to be more popular among the female set.
Summers further explained that the Latin tunes that accompany Zumba classes are not super-fast-paced, as someone unfamiliar with the exercise might think. Slower music is a key part of the activity as well, she said.
The local woman recently attended a Zumba convention that included 1,800 instructors, a testament to its popularity elsewhere in the country.
In addition to Summers, fellow instructor Ingram Johnson is involved with Saturdays Zumbathon at Riverside Park.
We just kind of picked a charity, Summers said of the decision to hold the event as a way to raise money for the United Fund of Surry County, which aids a number of community-service organizations. All proceeds will go to that cause.
Along with Blake, the Zumba Master who leads Zumba classes throughout the United States, five local instructors will participate in the event along with a few from out of town.
As of July, Zumba was being taught at more than 40,000 locations in 75 nations, according to the Web site.
In addition to the workout opportunity, Saturdays Zumbathon will include door prizes, refreshments and other attractions.
Advance tickets can be obtained at Reeves Community Center or by contacting Summers at (336) 429-2815 or Johnson at (336) 755-6027.
Contact Tom Joyce at [email protected] or at 719-1924.