It’s a rare opportunity when an event gives you the chance to both learn something and help others. Such an event is taking place Friday, Aug. 5 at the Payson Senior Center, 514 W. Main St. It’s a Zumbathon for the Rim Country Literacy Program.
Earlier this year, a Zumbathon for the American Heart Association raised more than $900 from Rim Country residents who participated and made donations.
Led by Christy Walton, a Zumba certified instructor and member of the Zumba Instructor Network, the event will be an international fiesta featuring refreshments from RCLP’s new International Cookbook, which will be on sale that evening.
Walton has led exciting cardio-dance exercise classes since 1980. Her unique style of cuing and inspiring movements have motivated thousands of women over three decades to dance in ways they never thought possible.
“I design my choreography to be dynamic, yet easy to follow for all fitness levels,” said Walton. “My experience has helped me mix the music and provide the movement cues so no matter a person’s fitness level, they will have a workout that is right for them, and is a lot of fun.”
According to Walton, the most common reason a person stops exercising, or doesn’t begin in the first place, is lack of time or boredom. Zumba addresses both of these problems by providing a total body workout in one session and making exercise fun. The music is lively and the mood is incredibly upbeat in Zumba.
Zumba is a dance fitness method based on a number of Latin dance moves, performed to Latin and world music beats, and choreographed to allow people of any fitness or dance experience level to enjoy a fantastic workout.
Walton’s initial goal when she entered college was to obtain a degree in dance. She earned a minor instead, but kept dance in her life. In addition to teaching regular dance classes and dance exercise programs, Walton has also worked as a choreographer. She has helped with student productions at Payson High School and worked with “Dancing Grannies” groups.
She took her first Zumba class at a YMCA in the Valley and fell in love with it.
“It uses the kind of music that gets into your soul and gives you an incredible release and emotional balance,” she said.
The music in Zumba is mostly a variety of Latin rhythms; including cumbia from Columbia; merengue from Haiti/Dominican Republic; salsa, which is a distillation of many Latin and Afro-Caribbean dances; flamenco; bachata, a popular guitar music from the Dominican Republic; reggaeton, a relatively new genre of dance music that has become popular in Puerto Rico over the last decade; and even belly dance.
Zumba was founded by Beto Perez in Columbia. The aerobics instructor forgot to bring his program’s music and so substituted songs from his own collection and his students loved it.
Zumba was created by Perez in the mid-1990s. He brought Zumba Fitness to the U.S. in 1999 and it has become one of the fastest-growing, dance-based fitness crazes in the country, with people of all ages falling in love with its infectious music, easy-to-follow dance moves, and body-beautifying benefits.
Doors of the Senior Center open at 4:30 p.m., Friday, Aug. 5. Walton will teach the basic Zumba steps from 5 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., with the main event from 5:45 p.m. to 7:15 p.m.
All participants and supporters are encouraged to “Wear Blue for Zumbathon 2,” said Fran Yates of the RCLP.
Tickets purchased in advance are $10 for the Zumbathon only; $12 for both the event and refreshments. Advance tickets are available from Christy Walton, RCLP volunteers and at the Senior Center and Payson Roundup office.
If room is available, there will also be tickets sold at the door — $12 for Zumbathon participation; $15 for the event and refreshments; and $5 for refreshments only.
For more information, call Christy Walton at (928) 595-0406 or RCLP at (928) 468-7257.