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Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Zumba instructor Andrea Sward had the opportunity to teach Zumba, a popular form of aerobic and dance exercise inspired by different genres of music around the world, on Feb. 9.

Sward led Weber State students and other participants in Zumba Around the World, an event put on by the Davis Student Council. Sward appreciated the opportunity to teach more diverse choreography through the songs she chose.

“Dance is a beautiful thing from all over the world,” Sward said.

The genres of music in the choreography included Latin, Indian, pop, hip hop, and country. Some of the songs were current pop songs, while others were culturally diverse songs.

The fact that diversity was implemented into a Zumba class interested the majority of the participants. “I think everyone was able to connect with the songs. It was a lot of diversity and a lot of inclusion for everyone,” said Jackie Mendoza, a member of the Davis Student Council.

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Photo credit: Flickr

As songs began to play, participants would get excited due to their recognition of the music. Diverse songs and artists were played: for example, “Waka Waka” by Shakira, which is an African-inspired song and “Jai Ho! (You Are My Destiny),” by Pussycat Dolls, an Indian-inspired pop song. Sward wanted to make a playlist that included diverse, familiar songs that people would know, so they would have more fun.

Zumba Around the World has only been held once in the past at Weber State, according to Mendoza, and she was grateful for the opportunity to repeat the event.

Mendoza explained why she enjoyed this particular event and said, “We were just doing a whole bunch of different dances, so I think you had to be quick. I think that was probably the funnest thing, but also the hardest thing is to just go with it.”

Mendoza loved how positive energy emitted throughout the room. “We had a really great instructor that was really nice,” Mendoza said. “She encouraged us, telling us we were doing a great job.”

Sward has a personal passion for teaching Zumba classes and likes how it inspires people to stay active and exercise.

“I love the idea of helping people get exercise because the dance world is a very competitive place, and I’m not really about that,” Sward said.

Alohilani Naki-Kaonohi, a member of the Davis Student Council, was grateful she could help put the Zumba Around the World class together. She felt the event was more successful than a regular Zumba class due to the diverse age range of participants during the event.

“Part of being in the student council is that we’re able to just help explore different cultures and embrace different cultures,” said Chelsea Bybee, a member of the Diversity team for the Davis Student Council. “I think adding that different cultural music and dances gives us a different perspective on dance.”

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