I don’t know about you, but I CANNOT dance. There is one place however, I feel like I could almost be Shakira. That is in Karen Gonzalez’s Zumba class at the South Franklin Community Center.
Karen’s contagious smile, fun energy, and great routines make exercise fun. Fortunately for us, Karen has been teaching Zumba at the South Franklin Community Center (SFCC) for two years!
As you dance along with Karen you feel as though she has been teaching Zumba forever. But believe it or not, Karen had never stepped into a Zumba class until 2010! And we have her mom to thank for that.
Karen says, “my Zumba Journey started in January of 2010, after moving to Utah and deciding to join a gym near my house. I've never really heard much about Zumba until that day that I came across a Zumba class. I didn't want to walk in at first especially because I didn't know anything about it and didn't want to look silly attempting the moves but my mom insisted and I walked in that room with her. BEST IDEA EVER, I fell in love with Zumba at that moment.”
Can you believe it? Even Karen was afraid of looking silly. But the best thing about Zumba is you don’t have to be a great dancer to do it! Although we know of course, Karen is a great dancer.
Karen decided to dive right in to the Zumba world, she shares with us:
“I continued to go to classes around Orem, I was going to 2 classes a day sometimes and loved every minute of it. Soon after I was a Zumbaddict! But it wasn’t until my favorite instructor Allison moved to California that the idea of becoming an instructor crossed my mind. By 2011 I was officially, a licensed Zumba Fitness Instructor. It has been an amazing journey, I’ve met people from all over the world that love this format and we share the love for dance. I've been part of several fundraisers and events around and I've taught Zumba even while in vacations in other locations with Instructors who have invited me.”
In 2012, thanks to Karen’s friend Annabella, Karen started volunteering at the South Franklin Community Center in summer of 2012. Karen says, “I gave it a shot and started teaching Zumba classes for the kids that summer. Soon after I was teaching regular Zumba classes for adults and I’ve been teaching there ever since.”
Just like people come to Zumba for Karen, Karen loves teaching because she says, “I love the people from the community center, they've been super supportive since the beginning and I’ve grown as an instructor because of them.”
I asked Karen to share her favorite current song to dance to at Zumba and she replied:
“My Zumba classes are full of Latin rhythms, Reggaeton and merengue have to be my favorite, my current favorite song to dance is one by Daddy Yankee called ‘la nueva y la ex’.” Students do have a different favorite, Karen says “a class favorite is ‘show das poderosas’ by Anitta.
We are so grateful that Karen ended up in Utah because she shares, “As many of you know, I was born in Argentina, however I’ve lived in the US for more than half of my life. I've lived in Canada and several states in the US.” Karen also works full time besides teaching her Zumba classes in the afternoon and even though there are days she says she is “super tired, by the end of the day (she) couldn't have it another way and (she is) doing what makes (her) happy!”
Karen’s has a supportive family consisting of her parents, 2 sisters and her “cute little Cockapoo” (does he dance too Karen?). Karen also has “an awesome boyfriend and friends” who support her in everything she does.
Exercise is a passion of Karen’s. She says, “I've become really interested in the fitness industry in the past few years, Zumba changed my life in a positive way and I try everyday my hardest to stay healthy for my students to help them succeed in their goals. Some of my students see me as an inspiration (which is crazy!!) but it pushes me every day to be better and be an example. But seriously who ever hasn't tried Zumba yet...WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR!? it really doesn't feel like you're working out and that's what hooked me from the first moment I walked to a class 4 years ago!”
|Yes- this is an action shot of Karen teaching. |
Proof you can look great while working out.