CLINTON — Zumba Fitness, the Columbian born musical-dance-fitness exercise established in the 1990s might be a workout, but the ladies who attend the Kirkland Art Center classes said its fun and they never felt better.
Every Tuesday and Friday morning starting at 9:15 a.m., for an hour, the Kirkland Art Center is rocking with Latin and international beats, driving the senior ladies inside to dance themselves into a low-impact, albeit strong cardiovascular-aerobic workout that leaves them feeling energized and flexible.
Ladies such as Wendy Rook, who’s been coming to these classes for the past four years and gets even more out of it than just physical exercise.
“It does a lot for me, both mentally and physically,” Rook said. “You can be feeling kind of low when you get up, and then you come here, and you leave feeling wonderful.”
KAC Zumba Fitness Instructor, Debby Trzepacz, said she’s been teaching Zumba Fitness for the past nine years. Trzepacz, who retired as a New York Mills Junior and Senior High School history teacher in 2009, was regulary going to Planet Fitness, when a friend approached her about trying Zumba Fitness.
Trzepacz said she went and was instantly hooked the first night. From then on she went five days a week for a couple months during the fall, but by January of 2010, after considering this activity as a retirement career, she received her certificate as a Zumba Fitness instructor and began teaching at the KAC.
The music is 70 percent Latin and international rhythms and 30 percent personal preference Trzepacz said.
“You can use Golden Oldies, something from the 50s, 60s, or 70s,” she said. “You can use country, or Irish, Polish, Balken, African or any kind of international beat that’s fun to dance to. The beauty of it is you can really mix it up, and truthfully, the music is just the hook. Everybody loves the music.”
Trzepacz said in addition to holding classes at the KAC she also does “seated” Zumba Fitness at adult day care facilities and nursing homes.
Right now she has about 30 students at the KAC, but they all don’t come on the same day. Some students travel down South for the winter and sometimes her students have medical issues that keep them from attending.
But those who can attend can’t say enough about how they enjoy their time in the class.
Marsha Kistner, who has been a student since July said she has such a good time in class because of the other ladies who are fun and interesting.
“I’m a big Zumba fan,” Kistner said. “I was looking for a class that not only did Zumba dancing, but also provided weight lifting, because I’m getting on in age and this (class) combines both wonderfully.”
Student Jane Grant said the class satisfies her in so many direct ways.
“It serves a couple of purposes,” Grant said. “First, physically it keeps me active. It’s low-impact, and as a senior citizen it’s not hard on my knees or joints, but yet I’m moving and preserving my flexibility. And then emotionally, it’s just a nice bunch of women, and even though we don’t see each other out of here usually, it’s a nice support group and I’m always happy to see them. Debby does a great job, she uses good music and it’s all very enjoyable.”
Trzepacz said the first class for new participants is always free. Members of the KAC can buy a membership booklet for 10 classes at the cost of $45, or $4.50 per class. The fee for non-members is $8 for drop-ins and $6 for senior drop-ins.
Trzepacz admits her classes are bigger in the winter than the summer for the obvious reason, but the classes in the winter give her participants the chance to stay limber and in good health during the colder months. It’s a safe, warm environment and it’s fun she said.
Rook seemed to agree.
“Like I said, I’ve been coming four years now and I don’t miss it (coming to class),” Rook said. “I work my schedule around it and Tuesday and Friday is Debby day.”
For more information on these classes, plus other styles of dance, concerts, entertainment and exhibitions visit the Kirkland Art Center website at kacny.org or call the Kirkland Art Center at 315-853-8871.