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Dancing Their Way to Fitness

Zumba is a fun, energetic dance workout with Latin-American roots.  Even though it’s offered at all three of our branches, for those in our community who have a language barrier, the dance instructions may as well be in gibberish.  “Most of the women don’t understand English that well, so they get intimidated and won’t try it,” said Sandra Torres, Outreach Worker for Cabarrus Health Alliance (CHA).  

As part of CHA’s Southeastern Diabetes Initiative, Torres teaches nutrition and health classes for the Latino and Hispanic community which is mainly a group of women. While promoting exercise as a healthy lifestyle, Torres discovered it was challenging finding classes in Cabarrus County which are offered in Spanish. “Dance is part of our (Latin) culture so I knew if I could find someone to teach Zumba, it would be well received.”

And for twelve weeks it was well received by the women at La Mision Church in Concord.  China Dunphy, a Zumba instructor at West Cabarrus YMCA, taught Zumba to the ladies. At first this would prove to be a challenge for Dunphy as well.  Although she originates from the Dominican Republic, she never taught a forty-five minute class in her native tongue. “I was trained in Zumba in English, so in the beginning at La Mision’, the words were coming in English and I had to hurry up and switch up to Spanish.  But eventually it came naturally to me,” says Dunphy.

zumba-web2The once-a-week class averaged twenty participants. Dunphy enjoyed sharing her fitness journey with them. “My weight has been the same for fourteen years. I wanted them to see what healthy living looks like. Dancing and moving help the body.”

Dunphy is also encouraging future generations.  As part of the Latin culture, women brought their children to participate in the class as well.

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