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Zumba Is and Will Always Be

Posted on January 29, 2024 by under Hobbies, Zumba.    

I’m not sure if anyone has noticed but, now that I’m less focused on pickleball (I don’t plan to play any tournaments this year – so far so good), I’ve had a bit more time for self-reflection. Today, I thought about reflecting on my Zumba journey. I’ve had many hobbies come and go over the years but Zumba is the one passion of mine that’s always been a constant.

Now that I’m back to teaching at the Y (will expound on this later), someone in class recently asked me how long I’ve been doing Zumba. Well, I’ve been teaching classes for about 12 years but I’ve been “doing” Zumba since the beginning of time. I first discovered Zumba through an infomercial (back when those were a thing) over 20 years ago. I bought the VHS tapes and started doing Zumba at home. A few years later, in-person classes became available. Much like my pickleball addiction, shortly after attending my first class, I found myself driving all over town to various gyms just to get my Zumba fix. There was a period of two years when I was a member of both Genesis Health Clubs and the YMCA and I was going to Zumba classes at independent studios and rec centers.

As with most of my hobbies, I tend to go all in so I was completely obsessed and was spending a lot of money on Zumba wear. In 2012, my friend and Zumba mentor Gina Ann encouraged me to join the Zumba Instructor Network. I didn’t necessarily want to teach classes. The biggest selling point was the 20% OFF discount on Zumba merch. I completed my training in April 2012 and joined the network but had absolutely no intention of teaching. However, in June of that year, my friend Patricia told me they needed someone to teach Zumba at Evergreen Recreation Center. I didn’t really want to teach classes but, because I was trying to learn Spanish at the time and the rec center is in a predominantly Hispanic area of town, I figured why not? That was my introduction to teaching Zumba and I haven’t looked back since. Nowadays, I get input from class participants on what songs I should add to the playlist but, at the time when I was first starting out, I didn’t really know any of that mattered so I just built my class playlist around all of my favorite songs. When I was a student, I used to take a water break or go to the restroom whenever the instructor would play a song that wasn’t really my cup of tea. Now that I was in full control of the playlist, I found it totally liberating. I thought, “This is awesome! I don’t know why I didn’t do this sooner.” I only used my favorite songs. It was great.

I was enjoying it so much that I started to add more classes. At one point, I was working for Genesis, the Y, and the city of Wichita just teaching classes all over the place. Once I was more established, I quit teaching for the city (they paid the least), and mostly just taught at the Y. My regular full-time job was also a contributing factor to giving up some of my classes. There was a period from 2015 to 2018 when I was mostly working in Topeka and Kansas city so I could only teach classes on the weekends. By 2018, that project had wrapped so then I was back to mostly working from Wichita and not having to travel anywhere for work so then I could get back into a regular routine. When VASA opened in Wichita in August 2018, I joined their team. From then until 2020, when the COVID pandemic hit, I was teaching classes for the Y, Genesis, and VASA on evenings and weekends. I peaked at 9 classes a week at various locations — a class each night on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday; two classes on Saturdays; and three classes on Sundays.

I was also so obsessed with Zumba that I attended all the conventions, went on Zumba cruises, and completed training for nearly every form of Zumba imaginable. I even got licensed to teach Strong.


When I got into pickleball in 2019, I gradually started giving up classes so I would have more time to play. I got to play pickleball quite a bit before the gyms reopened in 2020 (after the “stay at home” mandate was lifted). When the gyms reopened, I decided to only return to VASA because I wanted more free time for pickleball and they paid the most out of all the gyms. For the last few years, I had been mostly teaching Aqua Zumba because we couldn’t find anyone else available who was licensed to teach that format besides me but there were many other Zumba instructors on the roster. I enjoyed teaching Aqua so I didn’t mind but, I have to admit, when I decided I wanted to pursue opportunities to teach Zumba again it was rough. I had forgotten all the land routines so I basically had to relearn and memorize choreography again. Thankfully, it’s a lot like riding a bike and it just comes back to you naturally.

I am currently teaching one class a week. I’m teaching Zumba at West YMCA on Wednesday nights from 6:30 PM to 7:30 PM. I’ve been back for two months and I have enjoyed every minute of it. My friend Andrea Burk who was a regular at my Andover YMCA classes and also a former Zumba instructor has been coming to class and it’s been great reuniting with her. I also got a couple of my pickleball pals (Colby Fugit and Susie Ternes) to come and try class a couple of weeks ago.

With Colby and Susie With Andrea

Words simply cannot express how grateful I am to have Zumba as an outlet. I’ve had many hobbies over the years — hobbies that I’ve enjoyed for a time but no longer pursue (racquetball, crocheting, bowling, sword-fighting – just to name a few) — but there’s only one thing that has remained constant in my life over the last couple of decades and that is Zumba. Maybe years from now I can look back and add pickleball to my list of life-long hobbies. Check back in with me in 2030 but, for now, Zumba is and will always be my #1 passion.

Related Stories

  • Making My Zumba Comeback on November 13, 2023
  • Aqua Zumba at Andover YMCA on July 13, 2014
  • Year-Round Aqua Zumba on February 7, 2019
  • Zumba, Zumba and Even More Zumba on July 16, 2019
  • Group Fitness Kickoff Event at VASA on January 15, 2021

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