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Aerobic Belly Dancing to Zumba

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Latin Dance

The energetic Hazel Tenorio has created something new in town—aerobics to a Latin beat. She combines salsa (Caribbean with African influence), cumbia (out of Colombian folk dance), merengue (from the Dominican Republic), and reggaeton (Spanish reggae) to create a rhythmic, saucy, workout experience.

“I haven’t seen any classes like it in America. But in Costa Rica there’s a class in every gym,” says Tenorio, who is originally from Costa Rica. She returns there one month every year to catch up on the latest Latin aerobics dance steps and imports them back here to enliven her class.

Her choreography is original and lively but covers all the basics of normal aerobics.
Latin dance aerobics began when St. Luke’s Center for Community Health asked Tenorio to create a class at the Blaine County Fitness Center to promote community health.

“I taught in Costa Rica for four or five years and then I moved here. I’ve been working for the hospital where I’m in charge of the Interpretation Department.” Tenorio has her master’s in translation and can conduct the exercise class in both Spanish and English if needed.

The class combines motor skills in movement coordination, flexibility, and cardiovascular strength. The moves increase motor skills by repetition and by coordinating the different parts of the choreography. Doing it continuously and fast improves cardiovascular endurance.

To the music of artists like Shakira, the participants move their hips for strengthening abs and their upper body for working the waist. “We move everything. I try to do a lot of legs, but also hip movements to work your abs and your waist. I work the muscles in the arms, back and shoulders. I design the class to work all the muscles.”

Memorizing up to 15 different Latin movements to create the choreographed routines keeps the mind challenged.

The trick, she says, is to enjoy working out. “There are few people that really love exercising and lots of people that know exercising is important because of health but think it’s kind of a pain to go to the gym. They make up excuses all the time, but going dancing is fun. Using the dance movements and music attracts more people and it’s so much more fun. The emotional part is the important first step,” adds Tenorio, “getting people to actually come out to class because they really want to.” >>>


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