Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Amanda, Our Fearless Zumba Leader

The South Franklin Community Center would not thrive without the initiative of our volunteers. One shining example is our volunteer certified Zumba instructor Amanda.

Amanda reached out to us, wanting to teach not just one, but two classes a week. From the first class, the ladies of Zumba have enjoyed Amanda’s upbeat classes and fun dances.

We asked Amanda to answer some questions so we can all get to know her better.

Can you share a bit about yourself?

“I am from La Grande Oregon, I am going to school at BYU I am a Humanities Major with an Emphasis in English and I am working on a Spanish Minor. My family is super supportive, growing up I was a ballerina among other things, and Mom always went to all of my recitals. Dad is very practically minded and does research and crop consulting for agriculture, both of my parents taught me how to work really hard, the most valuable thing I think that I have learned.
In my family there are 5 kids I am the second oldest… We are all great friends and really enjoy being around each other.  Other than hard work, understanding people is also something that is very important for me, being a humanities major has encouraged me to look at how others think, feel and create, and by striving to connect with something that is not maybe natural or inherent in yourself you can find so many more beautiful and positive things in the world.”  

How did you decide to become a Zumba Instructor?

“I have always loved dance and appreciated exercise, but I always found myself guilting myself into going running or something, I really did not enjoy it. In college my roommate talked me into going to a Zumba class with her on campus but I was convinced that I would never stick with a workout plan because it was just too painful to exercise!”

Amanda loved her first Zumba class, she says “I didn’t want to leave and it became one of the highlights of my day to have an hour to just dance as hard as I wanted to. It was a big class, sometimes upwards of 80 people and so the people in the back could not always see very well, so sometimes I would just make up or approximate what I thought the teacher was doing, and people would stand behind me to follow along because they could not see either, I didn’t know it was happening but when they told me that they enjoyed following me I was happy.”

Amanda’s Zumba instructor encouraged her to get certified to teach Zumba, and she did! But a few months later she “went home to prepare for a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to Portugal.”  While waiting to leave to Portugal, Amanda taught in her hometown, where she learned how to adapt her classes to her audience, using the  moves she knew, what her class wanted to do, and what everyone could feel successful doing while having fun. Amanda says, “It was a lot of fun, but it was very touching to me to hear their stories that by the time I left 6 months later Zumba had helped them to reach their fitness goals and to be healthier.”

How long have you been teaching at the South Franklin Community Center and what is your favorite part about teaching there?

“When I came back to BYU my same Zumba teacher recognized me and encouraged me to get re-certified… I decided to look for a place I could teach or at least volunteer, because I knew I was just starting out again and did not feel super comfortable yet.”
“I started volunteering at the South Franklin Community Center in January and I love it! My favorite thing about teaching Zumba at the SFCC is the atmosphere of friendship, it is so easy to go and be excited to teach when everyone smiles and at least waves to me as they come in. I love that it is a place where we can have fun and feel comfortable and more confident. It has helped me immensely with my own confidence teaching as I got back into dancing after being away for a few years, and recently I was able to teach a much larger class without being nervous at all.”

What is currently your favorite song to dance to at Zumba?

“Currently my favorite song to dance to is called ‘No Wiri Wiri’ because it is so fast and fun, however my other one would have to be ‘Rosa’ or ‘the chicken one’ because this is one that the Zumba ladies seem to enjoy.  I see them singing along, they may be making fun of it, but I love it when they end up laughing. Exercise can and should be fun!”

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