Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

August 2, 2013

At the Zumba zoo

A new class is geared toward older, younger, and physically limited folks.

TAHLEQUAH — The flyers for the new Zumba Gold classes invite participats to “Party Yourself into Shape,” and “Shake It at Your Own Pace.”

Those attending the first Zumba Gold class at the Cookson Tenkiller Area Community Organizarion building Wednesday smiled as they sweated and danced to upbeat tunes, led by Joyce Barnes.

With smiles of her own, Barnes blew her bangs out of her eyes, never missing a beat and offering encouraging nods, words, waves and thumbs-up to the new students.

“We just want to encourage people to get up and get moving,” Barnes said. “I tell people not to worry about the moves, they’ll get them after a while. The first class is always free, so come and have fun!”

Zumba Gold is slower-paced, with less complicated steps than Zumba basic. It’s a good beginner level for those not ready to shake, bounce, bop and wiggle – or for children and grandparents.

“The focus is more on footwork than cardio,” said Mickel Yantz, student and husband of instructor Barnes. “I like Gold because I can figure out the moves with my feet. I’ve tripped over my feet a few times.”

Yantz likes that he can spend time with his wife and support what she does.

Barnes and partner Tanya Smith have been teaching Zumba basic at TACO for four months, and were asked to offer the easier class, too.

It’s great for all ages

Nearly 20 students, ranging in age from 7 to 70-something, attended the first Gold class.

Rachel Murphy brought niece Arianna Santana, 7, with her.

“It’s our girls’ night out,” Murphy said. “Arianna thought this would help her with her cheer moves.”

Afterward, Murphy wanted to try the easier class to compare.

“I’ve been coming weekly to Zumba and I had to try this. It’s a good workout. It’s a little slower-paced, but oh, my goodness, it’s hard to keep up,” Murphy said.

Arianna Santana danced on the front row, all confidence and happy smiles, as she followed the moves demonstrated by Barnes.

Santana didn’t look like a beginner, but like someone who had done the steps many times.

“I do cheer and hip hop dances,” Santana said, “I like the shaking in Zumba.”

Several students said they didn’t want to drive into town for classes and were pleased Barnes and Smith would come to Cookson.

Donna Johnson likes the movement and the sweating and convenience of the class being offer in Cookson.

“It’s good exercise. The Gold is slower and you can catch on easier, and everybody is friendly,” she said.

It’s simpler, for people who are old or uncoordinated, said Lora Neldon.

“The regular Zumba class left me frustrated,” Neldon said.

After back surgery two years ago, Neldon has been limited on what she can do.

“I can’t do lifting, but I can do these steps,” she said.

A friend read about the class in the Tahlequah Daily Press and told her about it, said Julie Lisco.

“I kept up with it, and it’s my very first time,” Lisco said. “I live out here. It’s convenient. I’m hooked. I’m going to see if my girlfriend wants to come.”

With the success of the Zumba basic class, the students asked Barnes if there was an easier, beginner class.

“I told them I’m licensed in Zumba Gold. It’s easier for anyone who wasn’t interested or comfortable in Zumba basic,” Barnes said.

Barnes is a musician, trained as a composer, with a Master’s degree in Music. Counting the beat is important to her.

“Zumba is so much fun,” Barnes said. “There are so many styles of dancing and music from all over the world.”

After seeing an infomercial, she wanted to take a class.

Her husband’s co-worker called Barnes to go take a class, and she hasn’t stopped since.

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