Zumba is basically a fun way to get exercise without even realizing you’re exercising. It’s a primarily Latin based dance fitness class where you learn basic steps such as salsa, merengue, cumbia, and reggaeton, but it also incorporates music internationally known, including Bhangra, dancehall, soca, Bollywood, Caribbean, and African songs and dances. The goal is to have participants feel like they are taking a trip around the world to different countries dancing and having fun to the different genres of music. Once you can embody that feel, for most people, Zumba doesn’t even feel like your regular run of the mill workout class, but instead like a fun little dance party.

For most people, Zumba isn’t a workout class. It’s a time to escape from life and dance, smile, laugh, and just enjoy an hour of freedom. The workout is just an added bonus! And my biggest reminder (especially for first timers or people who are unsure if Zumba is for them) is that Zumba is for EVERYONE. All ages, genders, ethnicities, fitness levels, EVERYONE. Whether you are a dancer or can’t even clap on beat, Zumba is about having fun. I was in the back row completely lost during the first Zumba class I ever went to, and just a year later I became an instructor myself. The more you come the easier it gets! The only way you’ll really know what a Zumba class is like is if you come and experience it for yourself!

Holly Gooding has been a Zumba instructor for 5 and a half years now and have loved every second of it. The smiles I’ve been able to bring to the faces of others is honestly the best part for me. Everyone knows college can be tough, so teaching all throughout college myself at NC State, I saw a myriad of students and faculty come in drained after having a rough week, but as soon as the music would start playing and we started moving, smiles and laughter emerged from their faces because this was their happy place. Zumba was their escape. Being blessed with the opportunity to create that kind of joy for other people makes every class worth it.