MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan --
Zumba dance fitness classes held at the Ironworks Gym here regularly to help everyone get into better shape.
Zumba is a dance class that allows for an endurance and stationary cardio workout which uses high energy music to create a fun environment.
Classes are held at the Ironworks Gym during the week and on Saturdays.
“We hold classes all throughout the week, our schedule is posted everywhere inside the gym, and we even have classes on Saturdays from 3 p.m.-4 p.m., so there is no reason not to Zumba,” said Barbara A. Roman, fitness coordinator.
Zumba was originally only done with Latin music, but now Zumba has been growing rapidly and has many different influences.
“Latin music is very up tempo and easy to dance to, and with the new hip hop influences it is making it very interesting,” said Milo O. Suttmiller, Zumba dancer.
As the music for Zumba changes, so does the dancing.
Zumba dances were originally Latin dance steps like the salsa and mambo, but is mixing more with hip-hop steps and other forms of dance, said Roman. “When you’re doing Zumba it doesn’t feel like a workout it just seems like you’re dancing.”
The idea of Zumba is to allow individuals to get lost in the music and follow the steps of the instructor so it never appears to be a work out until after.
“I love it. With all the dancing and passion, it makes a great exercise,” said Suttmiller.
Zumba dance is not about the technique or styles of dance, it is just about the movement.
The dance moves don’t need to be taught, you just follow along, and as long as you’re moving, then it doesn’t matter, it will still be a workout, said Sayaka Takabayashi, Zumba instructor. It’s almost like you are at a nightclub and just enjoying yourself and dancing.
Zumba classes have been sparking conversations at the gym as people pass by and stop to take a look.
“When you look in there, you’re going to see sweat dripping off all of their bodies, but you will always see a large smile across everyone’s face,” said Roman.
Zumba has been at the gym for years. But with the success of the program and the amount of people coming to the classes, it is beginning to spread.
There are different types of Zumba for kids, the elderly, with light weights and also while in water, said Roman.
However, not only has the Zumba program grown, but it is now spreading over to possibly be unit physical training.
“We have been pushing Zumba for unit PT, and we hope to be having a large unit PT for all of Headquarters & Headquarters Squadron coming soon,” said Roman.
When asked, several Marines and sailors said they would never try this type of work out by themselves but as a large group it may seem more appealing.
“I think it would contribute to unit moral as a PT session,” said Lance Cpl. Manuel D. Cadre, supply administration and operations specialist with Combat Logistics Company 36.
During the month of September, Zumba will be held at the Ironworks Gym on Mondays from 11:45 a.m. -12:30 a.m., Tuesdays from 5:30 p.m.- 6:30 p.m., and Fridays and Saturdays from 3 p.m.-4 p.m.