Dance away the winter blues with Zumba!

Put your sneakers on and get ready to dance away your winter blues with a Zumba event that will raise money for two good causes.  Local residents Kathy Bernier and Chris Angelo, a licensed Zumba instructor, have teamed up to host a Zumbathon the afternoon of January 5 in the Sawtooth Elementary School gym.
For a suggested donation of $10 per person, participants of all ages and experience levels will exercise to the grooves of Latin music as they follow the moves of Instructor Angelo as well as volunteer instructors Cassie Fortier of Thunder Bay, Rosemary Kosevich of Silver Bay, and Annie Otterblad of Two Harbors.  The money raised will be given to support the Cook County Kids Plus program and the ALS Association (fighting Lou Gehrig’s Disease).
The website calls Zumba an addictive, calorie-burning dance fitness party.  Alberto “Beto” Perez invented Zumba accidentally.
The story is on the Zumba website:  “As a fitness instructor in his native Cali, Colombia, Beto's life took an unexpected turn one fateful day in the mid-'90s when he darted off to teach an aerobics class and forgot his traditional aerobics music. He improvised using his own mix of music from tapes he had in his backpack (salsa and merengue music he grew up with). Spontaneously he created a new kind of dance-fitness, one that focused on letting the music move you (instead of counting reps over the music). Energy electrified the room; people couldn't stop smiling. His class loved it!”
Zumba is now taught in over 150 countries around the world, with variations including classes for kids, new and older exercisers, and those wanting to work on toning, do circuit training, or exercise in the water.  Zumbathons are becoming a popular way to raise money for worthy causes.
Angelo said a one-hour Zumba class—which burns 350-600 calories—is a great way to get a head-to-toe workout, and it’s easy to learn.
“It’s a lot of fun,” said Bernier.  She said people laugh a lot in Angelo’s class, and “if you can’t keep up with the steps, you can do your own thing.”
Registration for the Zumbathon starts at 12:30 on January 5 and will continue throughout the event, which will be from 1 to 4 p.m.  Participants can stay for 20 minutes or stay for the entire time.  Daycare will be provided during the first part of the event, which will include a Zumbatomic class for kids ages 4-12 and a Zumba Gold class for new or older exercisers later in the afternoon.
Door prizes will be given out throughout the afternoon, and snacks and beverages will be available.  T-shirts and caps can be purchased at the event as well.  Angelo recommended that participants wear comfortable exercise clothes and shoes and bring a water bottle and a towel.  You will sweat, she said.
When asked about their goals for the Zumbathon, Bernier said, “I’m hoping for 50 people.”
Angelo said, “I was hoping to fill the gym!”
Angelo is currently teaching Zumba classes on an ongoing basis.  A $50 punch card, available through Cook County Community Education, covers the cost of 10 classes, and the first session is free.
Co-sponsoring the Zumbathon are Grand Marais Fusion and Cook County Community Education.  For more information, contact Kathy Bernier at (218)387-9138.