Different types of classes offer exercise, fun through dance

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The UFM and Union Program Council teamed up to host “Be Fit, Be Healthy,” as part of the UPC’s After Hours program on Friday. The event offered Zumba, belly dancing and kickboxing demonstrations.

Hillary L’Ecuyer, sophomore in interior design and After Hours co-chair, said the UPC puts on a different event almost every Friday in the K-State Student Union. Past events have included comedian Josh Blue and fall-related activities, such as pumpkin carving.

The first fitness class of the night was Zumba, which is a high intensity Latin dance class.

Elsa Tuburen, who has been a zumba instructor since 2007, described Zumba as “a flavor of Latin rhythms.” Tuburen said Zumba makes a person use every part of your body and is really great cardio.

Zumba was brought from Columbia to the United State in 2003 by aerobics instructor Beto Perez, when he forgot his music for a class he was going to teach and was forced to use the Latin rhythm music that he happened to have in his car.

The class featured traditional Zumba, but there are several other types including Zumba Gold, which is for active older people, Zumbatonic for children and Aqua Zumba.

Tuburen lead the class and showed the participants different Latin dance moves. The workout included fast paced music, arm and leg movements and keeping up with the Latin beats.

“I love the Latin rhythm,” said Swasati Mukherjee, a Zumba participant. “I love coming to class because of the instructor and it doesn’t feel like I’m exercising because its fun.”

LaBarbara Wigfall, associate professor of landscape architecture and regional and community planning and a participant in the Zumba class, also said that her favorite part of Zumba is the rhythm.

The next class was belly dancing, lead by Amy Werner, who has been teaching for the past four years. Werner and four of her students were dressed up from head to toe in full belly dancing attire.

Although belly dancing is generally associated with the Middle East, Werner said that “belly dancing has very elaborate and complicated roots” and no one really knows where it started.

Kathryn Harth, coordinator in the continuing education department and co-leader of the belly dancing class, said her favorite part of belly-dancing is the sisterhood.

“It doesn’t matter what body type you have, it’s about making your body beautiful and feeling beautiful,” Harth said.

Members agreed that belly dancing is a full body work out and said the specific parts that really get worked out are abs, quads, core and arms.

The women kicked off the class by giving a couple of belly dancing performances. They danced to traditional music, as well as modern music such as “Waiting for the End” by Linkin Park. The women taught the class basic belly dancing moves such as “snake arms,” “hip twist” and the “Basic Egyptian.”

After learning the basics they picked up the pace and combined all the moves and turned it into a belly dancing routine.

Abby Banks, graduate student in public health, helped teach the class and said that she began belly dancing because of K-State.

“I started belly dancing the same semester I had to take Human Body,” Banks said. “They encouraged us to take a light class so I chose belly dancing, I’ve never quit. I’ve been doing it for five years now.”

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